Reader Mail: September 2011
Our story about doing business in Argentina ["A Constant Feeling of Crisis," June] garnered a mixed reaction from readers on Hacker News and Inc.com, many of whom are U.S. expats running businesses in South America. "As a businessman from New York City who is well familiar with matters on Latin America and the global economy, I wholeheartedly applaud your insightful article," wrote Toby de Lys, president of BogotaBrilliance.com in Bogota, Colombia. "The Argentine economy has been mismanaged and grossly overestimated for decades, and I am amazed how many foreign investors continue to invest in such an unreliable economic environment." David Glen, owner and president of Candyland SRL in Buenos Aires, agreed. "I am a native New Yorker who has lived in Buenos Aires for almost five years," he wrote. "My retail shop was closed down by municipal inspectors right before Christmas for no reason. I have also been robbed at gunpoint, and the city did nothing to protect me, my store, or my clients."
Some readers, including Ginger Gentile, director of San Telmo Productions in Buenos Aires, defended Argentina. "I'm a bit shocked by the negative view of Argentina in this article," Gentile wrote. "I moved here from New York and went on to open a boutique film and TV production company. While there is inflation and a horrible tax code, business here is booming."
A Matter of Size
Many readers disagreed with Jason Fried's stance against start-up founders exaggerating their company's size [Get Real, June]. "The problem with being perceived as a smaller company is that clients often use that as a factor when determining whether you are worthy of what you are charging," wrote Rob Lewis, president of U.S. Equipment Sales in Trinity, Florida. "In a perfect world, clients look only at capabilities and success. In this far-from-perfect world, it's more about perception." Peter Ireland, CEO of TycoonPlaybook.com in Seattle, expressed a similar sentiment. "I could tell you a number of stories where a bit of smoke and mirrors actually helped a tiny start-up win its first customer, but then I'd have to kill you," Ireland wrote. "If the only thing holding back clients is fear about your size, then you're justified in applying smoke and mirrors." But Carole Holden, CEO of Gelmtree Advertising in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida, agreed with Fried. "I make no secret of being a one-woman show," she wrote. "I get to be a bit of a client snob, and clients love the concierge-level approach."
Kevin Gersh, president of Gersh Academy in Huntington, New York, expressed gratitude for a trip he won at last year's Inc. 500 conference. "I chose Dubai as my destination, after learning about a lack of special education there," he wrote. "I was able to exchange ideas and information that I had gained during my 20 years in the field. Now, I am setting up a special education website to exchange ideas around the world and thinking about opening up schools in Dubai."
Readers got a kick out of the unconventional work style of Tumblr founder David Karp [The Way I Work, June]. "It's refreshing to read about someone who asks people to measure their success by their output and not by their time in the office," wrote Cedric B. Johnson, an executive consultant, coach, and psychologist in San Francisco. "Kudos to David." Estiphanie Faller, a freelance writer in Cavite, Philippines, called Karp a "typical young adult. He hates scheduling, doesn't like meetings, and enjoys life very much. His odd way of doing stuff is incredible, but he is very smart and talented, not to mention successful."
Our article about Cascade Engineering ["Regulate Me. Please," May] inspired one business to follow the company's lead, wrote Katie Kerr, head of communications for B Lab, a nonprofit in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, that certifies B Corporations. "The CEO of DIRTT, a newly certified B Corporation, explicitly told me that your article was the reason he decided to become certified," Kerr wrote. "I thought you would like to know that your story has had a significant, tangible impact."
We incorrectly described G5 on our list of Top Small Company Workplaces ["Many Paths," June]. The business develops software that helps self-storage and multifamily and senior housing companies generate leads online and track marketing performance.
In our story about eco-packaging ["Not So Easy Being Green," May], we mischaracterized the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, a project run by the nonprofit organization GreenBlue.
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