Every enterprise needs a Bo Burlingham. He's the person who remembers why the company was started in the first place, and he's the guy with an eye trained on the horizon. People like Bo are always saying, "We should be thinking about this" and "We should be going after that."
Fortunately for Inc., we not only have a Bo Burlingham, we have the Bo Burlingham. Bo came to Inc. in 1983, when the magazine was in its fourth year. He stayed on when Inc. moved to New York City from Boston, and he sat tight when the magazine was bought by Mansueto Ventures. Bo has written scores of feature stories (including the September 2005 cover story about the recent sale of the magazine), has attended 22 of the 24 Inc. 500 conferences, and now appears on the Inc. masthead under the title editor-at-large. That means he's gotten so valuable that he can spend time at his house in Sancerre, France, and hang out with his grandchildren in California and Massachusetts pretty much whenever he wants to. What a life!
A few years back, while writing stories and flying here and there, Bo began to notice a change in American entrepreneurism. The Microsoft model, based on fast revenue growth and geographic expansion, was no longer the path of choice among many innovative, ambitious company owners. Entrepreneurs such as Danny Meyer, of Union Square Café fame, Jay Goltz of Chicago's Goltz Group, and Gary Erikson, the man behind the Clif Bar, were choosing, in Bo's words, "to be great instead of big." He labeled these companies "Small Giants" and proceeded to do what writers do: He wrote a book about them. Small Giants has just been published by Portfolio.
This month's cover feature, adapted from Bo's book, focuses on one of these Small Giants. Jay Goltz is a self-described former "entrepreneuraholic," a man many readers will recognize as a reflection of themselves--for good and bad. Bo tells Goltz's story in the Bo Burlingham signature style: with wit, drama, and insight.