Liz Welch has gotten glimpses into myriad entrepreneurial lives by shadowing CEOs for The Way I Work. For this issue, she learned what's inside Automattic founder Matt Mullenweg's refrigerator (The Way I Work: Matt Mullenweg). "I love those moments," she says. "He's an architect of the open-source movement, but he's also a 25-year-old who loves barbecue and Girl Scout cookies." Welch also writes for Glamour and Real Simple.
Looking for fresh product ideas? Check with the folks in your shipping department. That's how the pet-products company West Paw Design got the idea for an eco-friendly dog bed, Nadine Heintz reports here. "So many businesses claim to be interested in getting feedback from their employees, but West Paw isn't just paying lip service," Heintz says. A former Inc. editor, she teaches journalism at New York University.
Mark Williams and Sara Hirakawa have been married six years, and for the past five they have worked closely together, taking portraits of celebrities such as Jennifer Hudson, Sarah Silverman, and Chris Brown. Williams usually works behind the camera, while Hirakawa directs the shoots. "In life and in photography, we fill each other's voids," she says. For this issue, they photographed Paul Graham and alumni of his seed venture fund, Y Combinator, in a staging of their final meal together as mentor and advisees ("The Soul of a New Start-up Machine"). Williams and Hirakawa have also shot for Fast Company, Marie Claire, and Men's Vogue.
Bill Donahue writes this month about Dave Dahl, a former drug dealer who kicked his crystal-meth habit and replaced it with a passion for baking bread ("You Do It for Family"). "He brings an utterly intense energy to the business," says Donahue. "I've run into him two or three times since reporting the story, and every time he's forced a loaf of bread upon me." Donahue is happy to accept the gift, as Dave's Killer Bread is the only brand he eats. He has also written for Sports Illustrated and The Washington Post Magazine.
In some ways, Millennium Music is like hundreds of other record stores that have closed amid the rise of digital music. But the company is reinventing itself online, senior reporter Ryan McCarthy writes in this month's Case Study. "They'll have to work hard if they want to keep a bit of the old record-store spirit in their new business," McCarthy says. He also wrote the special report on valuations.