Inc. has always understood that art and commerce aren't the natural enemies they are often made out to be. Company building, in fact, is something of an art in and of itself. Successful business owners harness and shape resources in a way that expresses their own unique spirit and personal world view. They recognize that formulas can be deadly and that constant innovation and creativity are necessary just to keep up, let alone lead the pack. But there are, of course, times when art and commerce do conflict. The tension between the two is a major theme of this month's profile of Shepard Fairey, "The Buzz Guru" (page 102) by contributing editor Rob Walker. Fairey is a corporate design consultant who made his name as a street artist. My guess is many Inc. readers will identify with Fairey when he says he sometimes feels "like a double agent" between the two worlds. I certainly do.


A regular contributor to Inc., Alison Stein Wellner has also written about sales and marketing for Fast Company, Crain's New York Business, Business Week, and Working Mother. This month, Wellner reveals how salespeople often put the competition down to get ahead ("Trash Talkin'," page 37)--not unlike the politicians now running for office. She is a 2002 National Press Foundation Fellow and a 2001 New York Times Professional Fellow and has written five books on demographics and marketing, most recently Best of Health: The Demographics of Healthcare Consumers.

David Friedman, a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, a nonprofit public policy institute based in Washington, D.C., contributed research to this month's feature "Top 25 Cities for Doing Business in America" (page 93). His expertise in law, political science, and economic development has informed his writing for The Washington Post and Forbes. He is a contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times.

Rob Walker's stories on brands and marketing have appeared in Inc., Outside, Slate, and The New York Times Magazine. His March feature, "The Buzz Guru" (page 102), explores the complex character of street artist turned CEO Shepard Fairey. Before meeting, Walker saw Fairey's iconic "Andre the Giant Has a Posse" stickers in neighborhoods from Greenwich Village to Hollywood, and most recently "in a movie theater bathroom after seeing 21 Grams."

When he's not at Pepperdine University, where he is a Senior Fellow at the Davenport Institute for Public Policy, or consulting for a variety of economic development organizations, private companies, or cities, writer Joel Kotkin ("Top 25 Cities for Doing Business in America," page 93) is on the road, traveling to places like Fargo, N.D., and Victoria, British Columbia. Kotkin is currently working on a book, to be published by Random House, about the history of cities.

Photographer Josh Kessler, who began his career working with Annie Leibovitz, has contributed to Forbes, Fast Company, and Rolling Stone. He frequently photographs artists for record companies, including Arista and Warner Brothers. At six foot three, Kessler often towers over celebrity subjects; Marcelo Claure, on the cover of Inc. this month, was an exception. Kessler was struck by his stature, youth, and the fact that he has "conquered the South American telecom market."