Inc. Magazine September 2017

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
massive technology boom

INC. BRANDED CONTENT / ENTERPRISE FLORIDA The technology miracle that is modern-day Florida has deep roots in the aerospace and outer space industries of the 1960s. The gaming, software, augmented reality, and virtual reality companies that dot the Florida landscape owe everything to the likes of NASA and Lockheed Martin. Though we’re not flying to the moon (or beyond) any time soon, Florida’s space and defense economy remains as strong as ever. From Cape Canaveral’s Space Coast to Orlando’s National Cyber Range, the federal government contracts with Florida companies to keep the country safe from outer space to cyberspace, an effort amounting to approximately $80 billion in annual spending and accounting for nearly 10 percent of the state’s economy. These industries, in turn, have spawned a broad range of new technology companies. Florida…

1 min

4 New Ways to Look for Ideas If you really want better ideas, don’t gather your team around a whiteboard, writes columnist Annabel Acton. Try one of these exercises instead 1 — GIVE A POP QUIZ ABOUT YOUR COMPANY’S CORE VALUES Ask questions like “Why is our primary customer defined this way?” and “Why does our product come packaged like this?” 2 TAKE A FIELD TRIP Send your team to a place they don’t normally go— an amusement park or a discount store—and have them get souvenirs to drum up inspiration. 3 — STUDY A COMPETITOR Ask your team to list changes they think a competitor would make if it were suddenly in charge of your business. 4 — GO ON A HASHTAG HUNT Have all your employees (not just the marketing team) see what customers are saying…

2 min
500 dreams come true. are you listening, washington?

THE AMERICAN DREAM HAS BEEN taking its lumps lately. Researchers tell us that the gap between rich and poor, by some measures, is three times wider than it was just 30 years ago. Worse, only half of today’s Americans in their 30s earn more than their parents did at the same age, compared with more than 90 percent of that group a generation or two ago. Pessimism reigns: We now know that if you call the United States a “hellhole,” so many voters will agree that you can become president. You could let that depress you. But I suggest you first read this issue of Inc. Consider our cover subject, Armir Harris, an Albanian refugee who taught himself English and programming, and whose company, Shofur, has grown almost 10,500 percent in three…

7 min
policy instability has hit an historic peak, challenging any growth-minded founder...

Jan Willem van der Werff is reeling from his queasy ride on the "solar coaster. That’s the insider nickname for the solar energy industry, which—while surging—remains vulnerable to the whims of policy and trade. Van der Werff is CEO of Ecolibrium Solar (No. 443 on the 2017 Inc. 500), a $27.2 million maker of hardware that connects sunlight-absorbing panels to roofs. In 2015, companies like his, which had packed their production schedules to take advantage of an expiring tax credit, found their timelines completely upended when Congress unexpectedly extended that credit by five years. Then came President Trump’s swerve from renewables toward coal. Another worry is the new admini stration’s attitude about the kinds of previously unsuccessful trade cases filed by domestic panel producers against low-cost foreign competitors. Tariffs could make solar…

10 min
no. 1 the skillz to conquer inside this year's fastestgrowing company

ANDREW PARADISE and CASEY CHAFKIN Skillz Three-year growth50,058.9% 2016 revenue$54.2 million “This is about building out the future of digital competition.” YOU WON’T WORK at Skillz unless you commit to something that could get you fired almost anyplace else: playing lots of video games on your phone. At your desk or after hours, Skillz doesn’t care, as long as you play at least 35 times per week. Play 50 times and you’re entered into a raffle to choose the menu for Friday’s catered office lunch. Play 500 times week after week, like Don Kim, a recent Harvard grad on the Skillz developer partnership team, and a co-worker will gush, “Oh, my god. He’s a beast!” Andrew Paradise, Skillz’s twitchy, 35-year-old CEO, never struggles to hit his quota. He was weaned on MUDs (multiuser dungeons, a…

1 min

FANCY FOOTWORK Gnomes. Flamingos. Eight balls. This isn’t a raucous night in Vegas—it’s your sock drawer, if you happen to be a member of sock subscription service Foot Cardigan. “We didn’t have a ton of money to compete with the big boys in the sock industry, and the subscription model had a relatively low barrier to entry,” says co-founder and CEO Bryan DeLuca, a sock freak and former ad guy. For roughly $12 a month, subscribers to the Dallas-based startup can receive a variety of its cheeky footwear—from colorful Houdinis (no-show ankle socks) to Borings (solid up top, funky in your shoes) to Whipper Snappers (kids’ socks). “When you cross your legs and your pant leg pops up,” says DeLuca, “they say, ‘Hey—I’m here for a good time.’ ” Foot Cardigan →Inc.…