Magazine aspires to be business handbook 'Fast Company' seeks a younger audience

November 05, 1995

NEW YORK -- A magazine hoping to become the "handbook of the business revolution" for the next generation of corporate leaders goes on sale this week from the publishers of U.S. News & World Report.

Fast Company magazine and its backers say it will more closely resemble magazines like Fortune that address business management issues than it will the newsy Business Week or the personal finance titles.

But Fast Company is designed to appeal to a younger audience -- late 20s through late 40s -- than is typically addressed in other business magazines.

"People in their 30s and 40s are coming into power and are shaking up big companies with a fundamentally new way of doing business," William C. Taylor, a co-founding editor of the magazine, said in a recent interview.

But he said while others occasionally note the shift with a special section on a topic like information technology or an annual ranking of fastest-growing businesses, "there is no one living in it all the time."

The magazine has been in development for two years. Mr. Taylor, 36, and Alan M. Webber, 47, Fast Company's other founding editor, had the idea. They had worked together in top editorial posts at the Harvard Business Review.

They raised some money and tested the idea by asking selected readers by mail if they would like to subscribe to such a publication. They prepared a 108-page prototype and printed 30,000 copies to show to potential readers.

They showed their research findings to Mortimer B. Zuckerman and Fred Drasner, who publish U.S. News & World Report and the Atlantic Monthly.

The veteran publishers decided to back the new magazine with an undisclosed amount of money and support from U.S. News. Mr. Zuckerman is chairman of Fast Company and Mr. Drasner is president and chief executive.

U.S. News is helping Fast Company sell advertising and get access to prime newsstand space as well as advising on circulation strategy, Mr. Taylor said. U.S. News publisher Thomas R. Evans also is publisher of Fast Company.

Mr. Webber and Mr. Taylor are running the editorial operations from Boston, where they have an eight-member staff.

Mr. Taylor said the magazine will regularly cover issues like democracy in the workplace and how the lines are disappearing between work and home life.

In addition, the magazine intends to provide practical advice and feature little-known executives who might be role models for those looking to do business differently.

The first issue, for example, has a guide to finding a career counselor and a profile of Intel's David Marsing, who survived a heart attack but changed his work habits and is successfully managing the world's biggest semiconductor factory.

A pioneer of the concept of corporate re-engineering discusses in another piece why the concept of starting from scratch failed.

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