may 2013 issue for fast company contained two of the very best articles i’ve read yet.

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how jenna lyons transformed jcrew into a cult brand describes jenna lyons as the driving force, behind the iconic brand. lyons ensures there is a singular vision for the brand, and every employee feels appreciated and remains inspired. here are some of my favorite quotes…

“but instead of pointing fingers, she senses a deeper problem”…”when something hasn’t been as beautiful as it can be, the reason is always bigger than the thing,” lyons tells me afterward. here, the reason was miscommunication between the stylists and the merchandisers. “at this stage, I’m like a glorified crossing guard,” says Lyons. “it’s like, try to keep people motivated, keep the traffic moving, keep people from getting stumped or stopped by a problem.”

“managing creative people–not so easy,” she says. “a lot of emotion, a lot of stroking. some people need tough love. some people need a lot of love.” above all is the challenge of managing in a subjective realm. “there’s no right or wrong answer,” says lyons. “when someone creates something and puts it in front of you, that thing came from inside of them, and if you make them feel bad, it’s going to be hard to fix, because you’ve actually crushed them.”

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how a young community of entrepreneurs is rebuilding detroit highlights a growing community of new comers, determined to change detroit for the better. despite any setbacks they’ve experienced, they keep believing and giving to a place that hasn’t always made them feel welcomed. here are some of my favorite quotes from the article…

jerry paffendorf: after his art and performance space, the imagination station, was mysteriously burned down, he chose to showcase his optimism… “we had planned a mural for the station. i said we should speed the mural up, do something. we painted two words, real big, on what was left of the building: it’s ok! that’s what it says now–just a big two-word press release.”

josh mcmanus: came to detroit for the “next big challenge”, and explains “where everything’s broken, anything’s possible…”thomas edison supposedly said that opportunity is missed by most because it’s usually dressed in overalls and looks like work. as i think back through the history of innovation, and look at people such as charles and ray eames and frank lloyd wright and edison and all the others who broke into a space that we had not seen before, they worked in transitional places. that’s why i think opportunity looks like detroit.

“i tell people, if you are not needed where you are right now, you are needed in detroit. but before you show up, you need to know that it ain’t damn disneyland for hipsters. it’s a very real place. ”

“so there’s a cost to opportunity, but it’s balanced by unlimited potential. an emerging entrepreneur can’t have a 100,000-square-foot building in san francisco, unless he’s got a trust fund. for most of us, it just couldn’t ever happen. it can happen in detroit.”

margarita barry: after a break in at her retail shop, she displayed resilience…”you have to find a way to get through that feeling of frustration. you have to harness it, ask what can I do to make the situation better? everyone in the city is coming together now, and I want to help…”detroit hustles harder. have you heard that? it’s like our slogan. You can’t be afraid of failure here. a lot of us don’t have a lot to lose.”

 

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