Bernard Avishai's professional involvement with the auto industry includes selling car parts in college and covering Volkswagen as technology editor of the Harvard Business Review in the late 1980s. Avishai, who writes for this issue of Inc. about the entrepreneurial opportunities produced by the introduction of electric vehicles ("The Connected Car"), says he likes the fact that cars are both complex and mundane. "The car is a great mechanical device that we deal with day in and day out," he says. An adjunct professor of business at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Avishai has written three books about Israel and is working on a book about novelist Philip Roth. He blogs at bernardavishai.com.
Liz Welch prefers unconventional interview settings, so she enjoyed her time with Jason Fried, the subject of this month's The Way I Work ("The Way I Work: Jason Fried of 37Signals"). Instead of talking with Welch in an office, Fried took her on an architectural tour of Chicago, home to his software company, 37Signals. Welch says that gave her a better understanding of Fried's business philosophy. "He likes solid things," she says. "He doesn't believe in hype or fluff." Welch's family memoir, The Kids Are All Right, which she wrote with her sister, Diana, was published in September.
Artist Philip Burke has painted bold, colorful portraits of such outsize celebrities as Marilyn Monroe and Madonna. But he considers the author Ayn Rand, whom he illustrated for this issue ("Who Is Ayn Rand?"), to be as audacious as any movie star or rock 'n' roll legend. "Her philosophy is so opposite to what I believe in that it was good fuel for the fire," he says. "She was a great character to paint." Burke's work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker. A selection of his paintings is traveling with a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit.
Stan Lee, the creator of Marvel Comics heroes such as Spider-Man and the Hulk, readily admits to lacking standard business credentials. But Mark Lacter, who interviewed Lee for this month's How I Did It, found that, like many other successful entrepreneurs, Lee has a knack for selling big ideas. "He's very articulate and funny, and he tells great stories," Lacter says. "Sometimes he talks in exclamation points for effect." Lacter writes about business for Los Angeles magazine and the blog LA Observed. He is also a business analyst on Southern California Public Radio.