Inc. At 20 Years!
Look back at the people and trends that shaped our world, 1979-1999


  • David Birch study shows small companies create four times as many jobs as large companies do
  • Babson and USC are among the first colleges to offer undergraduate degrees in entrepreneurship
  • Home Depot popularizes the warehouse do-it-yourself concept in three stores in Atlanta
  • Federal government bails out Chrysler
  • Self-employment is 25% higher than in 1972
  • American Stock Exchange grows by 63% in one year


  • Apple Computer goes public
  • First White House conference on small business is held
  • Changes in ERISA regulations allow pension funds to make venture-capital investments
  • Nike goes public
  • Ted Turner launches CNN
  • Japan surpasses the United States as the world's largest automaker


  • Companies offer 401(k) plans in place of traditional pensions
  • IBM introduces its first PC
  • President Reagan cuts the capital-gains tax from 28% to 20%
  • Tracy Kidder publishes The Soul of a New Machine


  • Ralph Stayer puts decision making in the hands of his Johnsonville Foods' employees
  • John Naisbitt publishes Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives
  • Harvard establishes the first chair of entrepreneurship studies
  • Tom Peters and Bob Waterman publish In Search of Excellence
  • First 30-minute infomercial airs
  • Ronald Reagan issues the first annual president's report on small business
  • Compaq Computer is founded
  • S&Ls are deregulated


  • Leveraged buyouts increase
  • Jack Stack adopts open-book management at Springfield Remanufacturing
  • In Milan, Howard Schultz is struck by the Italians' love of coffee bars. Could they work in Seattle?
  • Lotus 1-2-3 debuts
  • Thermo Electron begins the spin-off trend
  • Harley-Davidson introduces Harley Owners' Groups and takes customer relationships to new heights
  • Manufacturers in droves adopt just-in-time strategies


  • Boston Beer Co. touches off the national microbrewery craze
  • Michael Dell begins selling computers out of his dorm room
  • Nearly 80 banks fail
  • Intuit releases Quicken
  • AT&T bids farewell to its Bell operating companies
  • Apple launches the Macintosh
  • Iacocca: An Autobiography is published, beginning the trend of CEO-as-celebrity books
  • Sixty percent of CEOs report working 60 hours a week
  • George Gilder publishes The Spirit of Enterprise


  • Low-cost People Express becomes the fifth-largest U.S. airline
  • After a power struggle, Apple's board replaces Steve Jobs with John Sculley
  • The Body Shop adopts its first in-store social cause: "Save the Whale"
  • The United States becomes a debtor nation
  • Peter Drucker publishes Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Gateway 2000 is founded
  • America Online is launched