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PRODUCTIVITY

Reader Mail: October 2011

Readers respond to our our story about globetrotting 21-year-old Ankur Jain and our How I Did It feature package, along with columns by Jason Fried and Meg Hirshberg.
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Tales From the Front

Readers of all ages enjoyed our cover story about 14 entrepreneurs and their successes, failures, and lessons learned ("How I Did It," July/August). "Great job on the latest issue," wrote Jon Eckhardt, associate professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. "The cover had a picture of Silly Bandz, which attracted my 10-year-old daughter. She found the article, finished that, and when I walked by later, I found her reading 'My IPO Nightmare.' Derek Cyphers, a master of arts student at the University of Leeds in England, commented on the package's piece about Cal McAllister and Ian Cohen, co-founders of the Wexley School for Girls ad agency. "Very few leaders have a personality broad and well-rounded enough to handle all the different types of people they employ," Cyphers wrote. "As McAllister and Cohen have shown, strong communication and filling in for each other's weaknesses is the only way to rise above the problem." Denise Corcoran, CEO of the Empowered Business in Burlingame, California, was impressed with Jobfox founder Rob McGovern's comeback after a coma. "In the early '90s, I was unable to work for more than five years because of life-threatening health issues and had to close my business," Corcoran wrote. "The mind and the human spirit have an amazing capacity to overcome the greatest of challenges. McGovern's story is a testament to that fact."

Going With the Flow

Jason Fried's column about the ebb and flow of creativity and productivity (Get Real, July/August) elicited comments from other entrepreneurs who have struggled to stay motivated. "Outstanding reminder for the next time I encounter projectus interruptus," wrote Ron Culberson, owner of FUNsulting in Herndon, Virginia. Samantha Yee, founder of Qureate in Singapore, added: "I agree in general, but there's something to be said for good ol' fashioned persistence. It's not possible to fire on all cylinders all the time, and a time-out is often the best solution, but sometimes the best ideas come when you're about to reach the end of your rope."

Lifestyles of the Young and Rich

Many readers argued that our story about globetrotting 21-year-old Ankur Jain ("Ankur Jain's Perpetual-Motion Win-Win Machine," July/August) was out of place in Inc. "After reading the feature, I seriously contemplated canceling my subscription," wrote Daniel Slate, a rotational development programs associate at Intuit in Mountain View, California. "The way the article was framed contributed largely to my frustration. Focusing more on Jain's social life and mommy-and-daddy-financed trip to Europe than the hard work required and challenges encountered while building the Kairos Society was a disappointing move for a magazine I've come to admire over the past two years." Ally Bakaitis, creative director of the RJO Group in New York City, expressed a similar sentiment. "The reason the Kairos story felt so out of sync with the rest of your magazine is that these kids seem more like kids of privilege, which takes their story out of the realm of real people taking real risks to make something new and viable," Bakaitis wrote. "It's almost as if you'd done a piece on members of Yale's Skull and Bones society and positioned their accomplishments as the result of pluck and skill." Keegan Hayes, founder of Fortune Venture Consulting in Latham, New York, defended Jain. "You can't criticize the guy for being well off from the start," Hayes wrote. "Most people would take advantage of every opportunity they had to succeed if they were in the same position. Plus, the article never said it was supposed to be inspiring; it was an interesting story about a social phenomenon."

On the Rebound

Meg Cadoux Hirshberg's column about surviving business failure (Balancing Acts, July/August) struck a chord with readers. "Taking risks with start-ups is a passion of mine, and although I am now climbing out of a ditch, I can't wait for what's next," wrote Steve Mathison, founder of FunnyFace Magnets in Milwaukee. "Your article helped reassure me that not everyone is successful the first time around, and gave me the courage to brush off and continue." Michelle Witherby, founder and CEO of O&N Collective in Burlington, North Carolina, shared her turnaround story. "More than a year ago, my brother and I closed our design firm after more than 10 years of success, pain, struggles, and celebrations," she wrote. "Now, I have emerged a better woman, daughter, sister, friend, and CEO. In March, I founded a beauty and wellness apothecary. My nose led me to the garden of roses that Meg so eloquently described!"

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