In each issue, I fall in love with at least one story. This month, it's Amy Barrett's cover feature on the peripatetic entrepreneur Jared Heyman and his keep-the-office-fires-burning counterpart, Carl Fusco.
Last year, Barrett, a former BusinessWeek reporter and one of our favorite freelancers, told us that she had come across an interesting situation while reporting another story for us. "I called Jared as an expert for that article," she says, "and we got to talking. I asked him about his company, and he started describing a new product he had developed that he was really excited about. The problem, he said, was that his team was not as convinced of its potential." That conflict struck Barrett as a perfect Inc. Case Study. We agreed.
A while later, when Barrett called Heyman to pursue the Case Study, she discovered that things had taken a surprising turn. Heyman, founder of the Atlanta-based market research company Infosurv, had decided to travel the world for a year and leave Fusco in charge. Heyman would be briefed by e-mail once a week and, if necessary, take the occasional phone call. But Fusco would be pretty much on his own. With that new twist, Barrett's story leaped from Case Study to feature.
Over the next year, Barrett checked in regularly with the protagonists. Through many phone conversations and interviews in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Miami, Barrett collected anecdotes and information that she eventually wove into the tale of two people pursuing very different dreams. "I've done stories that required months of work—but not one spread over an entire year and involving so many personal discussions of motivations, lives, and fears," Barrett says. "Jared opened up from the start. Carl and the Atlanta team were at first more guarded, but everyone ended up being really honest, even it if wasn't that comfortable for them. It was interesting to watch these people evolve in ways that were unexpected."
We waited a year for Barrett's story, and we think it was well worth it. We hope you will, too.