Inc. Magazine June 2019

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures LLC, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders.

United States
Mansueto Ventures LLC
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min
better than breakfast

Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” according to a famous quote attributed to Peter Drucker. There is a lot of room to quibble there, starting with whether Drucker ever said this. Strategy, obviously, is vitally important and frequently misunderstood. Too often when leaders talk about strategy, they are really discussing procedures or vision or something else. (Richard Rumelt’s book Good Strategy/Bad Strategy, which I’m currently reading, makes this point brilliantly.) And yet, in at least two ways, the wisdom of Drucker’s observation stands up—which is why you’ll see it turn up elsewhere in this issue. For starters, a culture is going to be there whether you plan it or not. Many companies treat workplace culture as something that just happens. That omission isn’t necessarily fatal, but it often means wasted energy and disengaged employees. Second,…

4 min
don’t break up big tech

This spring, Amazon did something very un-Amazonish. Across many popular product categories, from batteries to baby food, the retail behemoth quietly discontinued aggressive promotions for its private-label brands, which compete with—and in truth are often near-clones of—independent merchants’ products. It was an uncharacteristic retreat for a company that generally loves nothing more than using every weapon in its substantial arsenal to annihilate its rivals. Call it the Elizabeth Warren effect. Amid growing public wariness of the biggest tech companies and their outsize role in our economy and public life, the Democratic presidential candidate is far from the only politician in her party demanding stiffer regulation. Even President Trump has blasted Amazon as a “no-tax monopoly,” and his Federal Trade Commission is spinning up a tech task force “to ensure consumers benefit from…

2 min
like doritos, but buggier

You never forget your first insect. Laura D’Asaro was studying abroad in Tanzania when she ate hers—a caterpillar, the flavor of which she likens to lobster. Meanwhile, her Harvard classmate Rose Wang was munching on scorpions in Beijing. D’Asaro and Wang bonded over their newfound love of “amuse-bugs.” An idea began buzzing around their heads, so the two bought all the mealworms and crickets available at the local Petco, fried them up for a feast, and invited their friends. (Crickets, D’Asaro contends, taste like shrimp.) They learned that what D’Asaro calls “ooey-gooey” bugs and insects with legs reliably freaked people out. They took both out of the equation when, in 2013, they launched Chirps—which sells protein-rich chips and protein powder made from ground-up crickets—with classmate Meryl Breidbart. A successful Kickstarter launched them,…

1 min
heroes and villains

In business disgrace, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is attaining a second celebrity: Her con-artist saga has vaulted from best-selling book to HBO documentary, and, soon, Hulu miniseries and Jennifer Lawrence movie. The needle on the hustle dial for entrepreneurs has long twitched between “legit business owner” and “total fraud.” But, today, Hollywood is landing heavily on the latter. Holmes’s rise as the Dark Steve Jobs (another terrible person, as his daughter’s memoir makes clear) followed Fyre Festival documentaries recounting the sheer audacity of fraudulent “entrepreneur” Billy McFarland. “One of the greatest modern scams,” The New York Times declaimed, “is the entrepreneurial fetish itself.” It’s a bleak time for entrepreneurs in pop culture, which once glorified the likes of Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life. This century we get…

4 min

STARTUP NEIGHBORHOODS Midtown is “one of the most welcoming areas to the startup community,” says Ted Serbinski, managing director of Techstars Detroit. At its heart sits Green Garage, 1 a 1920s auto showroom-turned-coworking space that houses 50 businesses, including FoodLab Detroit and solar design firm Strawberry Solar. When Gwen Jimmere was ready to graduate beauty brand Naturalicious from her basement, she went to Corktown, 2 Detroit’s oldest neighborhood. “It’s where a lot of entrepreneurs congregate,” she says, noting local incubator Ponyride and the glut of great restaurants. “Brooklyn Street Local is a tiny spot with lots of vegan options, perfect for a let-it-all-hang-out meeting with founder friends.” Dubbed Madison Block, the city’s tech corridor takes its name from the Madison Building that anchors it. You can hardly grab lunch without tripping over one…

3 min
freelancer or full-timer: which worker is ideal?

LIBBY BROCKHOFF Co-founder and creative director of Odysseus Arms, a San Francisco–based ad agency How can employers know that freelancers have the expertise their company needs? Freelancers are really good at providing answers, but I rely on my core team to create questions and to solve problems on a much bigger scale. I totally disagree that all the best people are freelancers. If you look at their portfolios, they’re majorly outdated. How do you get freelancers on board with your vision? It takes way too much time to train all of these people. Freelancers tend to stretch themselves thin. They don’t have the level of commitment, and they don’t have skin in the game, to put in the same kind of effort as full-timers. How do you ensure that freelancers are treated the same as fulltimers? I…