Inc. Magazine October 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
the future is female

You will notice something a little unusual about this month’s cover: Our featured CEO, the Wing co-founder Audrey Gelman, was photographed when she was eight months pregnant. As best we can tell, this is the first time that a visibly pregnant CEO has appeared on the cover of a mainstream business magazine. In some ways, that historic omission is not too surprising: Until recently, there were relatively few women CEOs anywhere. And those women who did make it to the top rungs of the corporate ladder had often been forced to choose between motherhood and their careers. One male tech CEO in 1992 lamented his college-graduate daughter’s options in a speech entitled “A Pregnant CEO—in Whose Lifetime?” The answer, as this cover makes abundantly clear, is “ours.” Beginning on page 70, senior…

5 min
she-e-o? she-e-no

Four years ago, Alyson Saxe ran into an old friend at Costco, who—upon learning Saxe had children—inquired whether she worked outside the home. Saxe explained that she’d founded a PR agency. “My friend said, ‘How great! You’re a mompreneur!’” recalls Saxe. “‘You get to work and have time for your kids and family!’” Saxe was surprised her friend made that distinction. The term mompreneur, she believed, bore the whiff of ambition sacrificed to work-life balance. “It’s like I’m being bucketed into this category of a person who is just trying to keep her foot in the door and earn a little money,” says Saxe, who recently raised north of $2 million for her second company, the brand-management platform IrisPR, based in Phoenix. “I work every bit as hard as male entrepreneurs. “I…

3 min
should you let employees set their own goals?

“I decided to sell my kidney.”—Lisa Q. Fetterman, co-founder and CEO of Nomiku, upon coming up $20,000 short for her first sous vide cooker prototype CLARA SHIH Co-founder and CEO of Hearsay Systems, a software company for insurance and financial services Can setting goals for employees make them feel like you don’t trust them? Without clearly defined goals, employees can feel they aren’t getting enough support, especially junior ones. It’s like telling someone who’s never played tennis, “You can go pro.” There are foundational skills; there is a right way to hold the racket. Training is not micromanaging. How do you find employees who can be trusted with more autonomy? You often have to make a bet on people who are early in their careers. They’re just as smart but have less experience. Making those bets—and…

2 min
sinking about the future

“I always tell people: Don’t snort that cocaine yet.”—Rebecca Minkoff on accepting venture capital. For more, see page 38. It’s a lot to bite off when a company embraces a value that states: “We are in business forever.” So far, though, Elkay Manufacturing, the Downers Grove, Illinois–based producer of residential sinks, high-end plumbing, and commercial kitchens as well as bottle-fill stations and water fountains, has taken some profitable steps toward realizing that ambition. Consider: Next year will be its 100th anniversary. “When they recruited me, I really wondered about that ‘in-business-forever’ line, as everyone does,” says CEO Tim Jahnke, who joined the company in 2007 after 22 years at Newell Rubbermaid. “When discussions got serious, I came to realize that it wasn’t the typical BS that companies put up on the wall.” The…

1 min
the jargonator

FLYGSKAM • noun Swedish term meaning “flight shame,” intended to stigmatize air travel. What we really need is the Swedish term to stigmatize seatreclining on short-haul flights. Source: Mother Nature Network QUANTUM WINTER • noun The current phase of quantum computing, when it doesn’t “live up to the hype”—and presumably why I still don’t have a jetpack. Source: Business Insider SLACKENFREUDE • noun “The joy in knowing that as a Slack group grows, the likelihood of a new member searching their name and finding they’ve been slagged in earlier conversations reaches 99.9 percent.” *Immediately logs on to Inc. Slack* Source: The New York Times FACTBOMB • noun A barrage of factual claims thrown by politicians to overwhelm rational debate. In business lingo: earnings calls! Source: Full Fact GETTY; COURTESY COMPANY; ILLUSTRATIONS: MICHAEL PARKIN (4)…

4 min
washington, d.c.

STARTUP NEIGHBORHOODS ▸ Georgetown U grads don’t stray far from campus to start companies, creating a hub among the Georgetown 1 neighborhood’s colorful row houses and high-end boutiques. Fast-casual salad company Sweetgreen 2 launched close to Georgetown Cupcake, and the nonprofit Halcyon House 3 (headquartered in a haunted mansion) helps earlystage entrepreneurs with social missions. ▸ If salad and cupcakes don’t cut it, head to NoMa 4 (North of Massachusetts Avenue). This hotbed of eatery innovation hosts culinary accelerator Union Kitchen, watering holes like Red Bear Brewing Co., 5 and Union Market, 6 a 40-plus-vendor hall packed with food stalls and funky shops. ▸ Home to grocery app Basket and stock media startup Storyblocks, Arlington, Virginia, 7 boasts low tax rates and Amazon’s coming HQ2 to stoke a warm entrepreneurial scene, says Jeff…