The New Cool

Thank you for your excellent profile of Zingerman's [" The Coolest Small Company in America" by Bo Burlingham, January]. As an owner of a successful small business with a humanist approach, I have long sought a means of building an interrelated group of companies rooted in the community. Zingerman's provides a valuable example of a formula for achieving just that.

More articles should be, like this one, committed to changing the culture of American business. We need to shift away from the mantra of "Maximize growth, get rich, and move on" to that of "Making a difference while earning a financial reward for your contribution." Small businesses continue to serve as the proving ground of many management innovations that result in positive change. By offering its staff real opportunity for personal and professional growth while contributing to the quality of life within its community, Zingerman's is making a difference.

Derrell Ness
NSA Distribution
Cerritos, Calif.

Nuts for Networking

I loved the article on the master networker [" The 10 Secrets of a Master Networker" by Tahl Raz, January], but I couldn't help thinking that what Mr. Ferrazzi really needs in his PalmPilot is the number of a good shrink.

John Sample
Freelance Writer
New York City

Thanks for a terrific, timely, apropos piece of journalism. Keith Ferrazzi's style, stamina, and resourcefulness affect relationships that are mutually relevant, not just productive. As we take this brave new world for a spin, the Ferrazzi manual will be a good survival tool to stow in the glove compartment.

Jim Stuart
Fort Worth, Tex.

Because I'm in sales, I thought Ferrazzi had something to teach me. I was wrong. Ferrazzi is a big turnoff whose business tactics should not be imitated. I want to be as successful as the rest of us. But I do it by waking up every morning and working hard. I do not make sure I have filled my quota of dinner parties attended by the "biggest swinging dicks" I can attract.

Bob Brandes
Senior Account Manager
Lenape Industries
Hillsborough, N.J.

Evolutionary Idea

Robert X. Cringely touts (and application service providers) as something innovative [" One-Stop Shopping," What's Next, January]. Hardly. A while back, starting in the 1950s, ASPs were called computer service bureaus. Everything from accounts receivable to payroll to tax-return preparation was done by those bureaus because we couldn't afford our own computers. When the era of the affordable computer hit, we dumped most of these services in favor of do-it-yourself solutions because it was cheaper and easier to supervise work done in-house. Still is.

Jeffrey J. Denning
Management Consultant
Practice Performance Group
La Jolla, Calif.