In Chicago, picking a favorite sandwich shop is serious business. The city is the birthplace of the infamous Potbelly, and Jimmy John’s also calls Illinois home. Add to this the seminal classic, Al’s Beef, and the
Subway on every corner, and you’ve got a tough market to crack. But when we heard of Jersey Mike’s’ rapid ascension on the national market, then learned that there is one mere blocks from the office, we had to test the sub shop’s mettle. We were not disappointed.
The story of Jersey Mike’s is one worth considering in our noisy world (and one we plumb in depth in our feature, “Making Friends with Vinaigrette”). It says a lot about tenacity, and character, and sticking your nose out in a crowd. About how to be different as a business, and why, ultimately, this is a good thing. That seems to be the story of this first issue of 2013. Whether it’s Linda Sawyer and Val DiFebo of Deutsch laying down their own rules for the male-dominated ad industry (“Mad Women”), or Gene DeFelice sticking up for Barnes & Noble and helping the book giant bite back in the digital market (“Long Live the Brick and Mortar”), the example is clear: be bold and be diligent.
It’s a resolution Profile itself has chosen to follow. This issue unveils a long-anticipated redesign. With three large umbrella sections—C-Suite, Strategy, and Business Watch—pulling together a bevy of new ways to capture life in the modern business, we hope to better relay the stories and insights happening all the time in America, both at Fortune 100 juggernauts and at the local start-up just opening its doors. Inspiration is everywhere, and we want to find it.
It can be seen in Kiley Russell. The budding entrepreneur won a car at a taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2004. Instead of cruising around in style, Russell sold the car to start her company, Big Girl Cosmetics (Fresh Faces). Then there’s iCIMS. We were interested in the company because of its work in talent-acquisition software, but in drafting the article, we learned that the founder, Colin Day, almost folded the company a year in. “Our funding was cut off, and we had to become self-sustaining immediately,” Day says. Remarkably, Day found the perseverance to stick with it, and iCIMS emerged from the Wild West of software as a mainstay in today’s market (“A Tale of One Man Finding His Company Again”).
There’s a lot of uncertainty circling about the economy, but hopefully this issue of Profile proves that in the face of such adversity, America’s business engine is remarkably resilient. So let’s up the ante. Let’s not settle for fine, and instead inspire. As you make your way into 2013, stay tenacious. And if you have an inspiration that keeps you going, e-mail it to us at email@example.com. We’d love to hear it.