When I read Inc.'s ranking of celebrity entrepreneurs, I was inspired to become like Magic Johnson, P. Diddy, and the others featured ["Top 10 Celebrity Entrepreneurs," December]. I was inspired not by their fame but because, like them, I'd love to be able to give back to people who have been left behind by society. Our children need more positive role models like these entrepreneurs. As they have demonstrated, showing genuine care and concern for people with no hope can make a lasting, positive impact. I want to make a difference in my city too.
Patsy J. Jones, Owner, Patsy's Sweet Bread Bakery & Gift Shop, Shreveport, La.
Oprah Outdoes Them All
Based on your criteria, Oprah Winfrey, not Magic Johnson, should have ranked first on your list of celebrity entrepreneurs. Also, I think a clear distinction should be made between those who are truly helping the community through humanitarian efforts and those who are merely building a successful business. Magic Johnson is frequently lauded for reinvigorating low-income areas. But I don't believe it is particularly honorable to capitalize on low-income areas; it's just good business to offer products in less competitive markets. Oprah Winfrey, on the other hand, has a billion-dollar company, major clout with the public, and clearly gives millions of dollars to charity.
Dentist, Durgam Dentistry
Cliffside Park, N.J.
Understanding Howard Schultz
While I enjoyed the article on Moby and his tea enterprise, Teany ["Moby, Remixed," December], I was surprised when Moby suggested he would like to franchise "a la Starbucks." Starbucks does not franchise, which is probably the reason it continues to be so successful. It does have license agreements with certain grocery chains and a very special agreement with Magic Johnson, which you refer to in the same issue.
Onboard supervisor, United Airlines
Hats Off to Harvey
It's great to see Harvey Robbins getting some credit for what he's done to revitalize Tuscumbia, Ala. ["No Small Plans," December]. I have known Mr. Robbins for many years, and he's one of the finest men I know. He not only shares his wealth, but he and his wife are very dedicated to our community. The world would be a better place if there were more people like Mr. Robbins. But he doesn't get near the credit he deserves and doesn't do it just to be written about, either.
Owner, Judy Young Computer Consulting
Lawyers and Doctors
Mark Obbie's article about managing your lawyer is packed with good advice ["Learn to Love Your Lawyer," December]. After reading it, I would add that lawyers are like doctors in that they have different specialties. For most general business matters, you want someone who practices preventive medicine. Like surgery, litigation is a last resort. But when you need it, it's critical to have the best lawyer for each individual problem.
Jean D. Sifleet
Micromanagers Get It Done
My husband and I own a large restaurant with 62 employees, all of whom are micromanaged ["Micromanagers, Unite!" December]. It's the only way we have been able to stay in business for 20 years. I also micromanage my two children -- to a certain point. I recently had an argument with my daughter's principal, who claims I am wrong to micromanage, even though my daughter is on the honor roll. If you ask me, those who choose not to micromanage choose the lazy way out.
Owner, Mayflower Seafood Restaurant
Micromanagement or Mistake?
If I had my way, I would micromanage the changing of the toilet paper, but sometimes I wonder if micromanaging is just a Band-Aid for inadequate training. When I walk into my plant and see things that are wrong, I can't not get involved. I wish I could get my managers to micromanage so I wouldn't feel like I have to. Then again, maybe micromanagement is just in my nature.
Dave "DJ" Sexton III
Co-owner, Certified Metal Finishing
Another Side of the Story
We are writing to correct a series of misstatements that appeared in your August 2004 issue in the story "Reeling In the Big One." The story contains misleading assertions by Patrick Wack, current CEO of IntraLinks, that somehow he was responsible for the company's vision, marketing strategy, and relationship with IBM and J.P. Morgan.
Mark Adams and John Muldoon developed the idea for IntraLinks. During early 1996, they recruited Arthur Sculley, the retired president of J.P. Morgan's Private Bank, to assist them in the formation of IntraLinks and to become its first chairman of the board. The company officially launched in June 1996. Patrick Wack became a consultant to IntraLinks the following January and joined the company in April 1997. IntraLinks' technology was not developed after "Wack and his team...learned... that IBM was getting into the application-hosting business." Adams had been working with executives at IBM since 1995, and IBM became a full collaborative partner with Adams and Muldoon in late 1995. Indeed, IBM, Muldoon, and Sculley formally presented their idea to Chase Bank in April 1996 -- one full year before Wack joined IntraLinks. The story describes a meeting in which Wack "and his three business partners marched into the J.P. Morgan building." Wack was nowhere near the meeting described. And while it's true that J.P. Morgan's Mary Watkins made the decision to work with us, she made it nine months before Wack joined the company. He did not have anything to do with initiating the J.P. Morgan relationship.
Wack may be doing an excellent job as current CEO of IntraLinks. But claiming credit for the true genius of others is something -- however much he may want to -- he can't appropriate from the three real founders of IntraLinks.
Mark S. Adams
John M. Muldoon
New York City
Peter Provenzano, CEO of SupplyCore, was an honorable mention in the January issue's "Entrepreneur of the Year" story. He was identified correctly in the headline but not in the first paragraph of the story.
New York City had 17 companies on the Inc. 500 list and Atlanta 15. Those totals were misstated in the Inc. 500 issue.
We would like to welcome two companies to our 2004 Inc. 500 list: Omniture, with a tied ranking of No. 226, and Smartsoft International, with a tied ranking of No. 475. Omniture is a software firm based in Orem, Utah, that helps customers like eBay and Overstock.com track the effectiveness of their websites. It was founded by Josh James and John Pestana and has 75 employees. Its 2003 revenue was $8.7 million, and it had 813.2% total growth over the four years we measured.
Smartsoft International, based in Suwanee, Ga., does systems integration consulting for companies such as Nissan Motors and Siemans. President Shanthi Murugadass and her husband, Murugadass Krishnan, founded the company in 1997 and employ 96 people. It grew 386% in the five years we measured and had $7.5 million in 2003 revenue. Smartsoft joins the Inc. 500 for the second year running.
Inc. would also like to extend belated congratulations to the Scooter Store. The firm, based in New Braunfels, Texas, joins our Hall of Fame for earning a place on the Inc. 500 for the fifth consecutive year.
Inc. welcomes your feedback at email@example.com or Inc. Letters, 375 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10017. Please include your name, address, and phone number. Letters may be edited for space and style. Submission constitutes permission to use. For help with subscriptions, call 515-248-7694.