“Something is happening and it affects us all. A global revolution is changing business, and business is changing the world."
Those words were in the "Letter from the Editors" in the premiere issue of Fast Company, in November 1995. The magazine has been keeping us abreast of business evolution, creative individuals and best market practices ever since.
Its new 100 Most Creative People is worth checking out to see its list of the top innovators of 2010, particularly the top five. #1 was also recognized in another magazine's list of the globe's top influencers, the Time 100, as the world's role model and biggest celebrity brand; the next four FC help shape brands, technology and public debate.
Five years ago, a 19 year-old Stefani Germanotta was waitressing and singing in New York clubs. Now 24 and globally known as Lady Gaga, her brand encompasses music (with 10 million-plus albums sold), video (1 billion-plus Web views just on YouTube), design collaborations (Monster headphones, Polaroid cameras), and marketing (HP, MAC Cosmetics, which Gaga promoted with Cyndi Lauper earlier this year, above).
Whether you see Gaga as derivative or original, she personifies aspirational ambition, web smarts, and au courant dance moves and has amassed an unprecedented multi-platform empire in record time. "Her persona is built for the online generation," says MAC head John Demsey, with whom she helped raise $2.2 million for AIDS research and education via sales of its Viva Glam lipstick. Her public brand and consistent demand is due to her social media-connected, fiercely loyal fan base; so far, a flawless strategy.
Rounding out the top five:
Eddy Cue: As VP of Internet Services for Apple, this 46 year-old exec runs iTunes and the App Store, massive 21st century disruptive technologies set to create a $4 billion app economy by 2012. Cue's next campaign will be challenging Amazon's Kindle dominance.
Elizabeth Warren: The Harvard law professor and consumer advocate has been mentioned as a Supreme Court nominee and a candidate for the Massachusetts Senate. She’s publically challenged Citigroup’s CEO Vikram Pandit and held court with Jon Stewart. "I'm often described as an advocate," she says. "What I'm really doing is describing what I see from 25 years of research on the economics of the middle class. Whatever that means politically is a secondary concern for me."
Shiro Nakamura: Nicknamed "Fingers," Nissan’s chief creative officer and design visionary will bring to market later this year the zero-emissions Leaf, the first global mass-market electric car. "We did not want to make something very strange for just the niche buyer. More designers have to understand the values of society and the people they are creating the vehicles for."
Ryan Murphy: An iconoclast in Hollywood, Murphy's personal vision as a creative executive and producer has informed FX's groundbreaking Nip/Tuck TV series, Julia Roberts’ latest movie, Eat, Pray, Love, and the Peabody-winning Fox series Glee, for which Murphy selects all the songs (including its recent ode to FC's #1, Lady Gaga). When the pregnant character of cheerleader Quinn opined, "What I need right now, even more than looser pants, is acceptance," it struck a nerve in anybody who's ever been a teen.