Inc. Magazine Editor To Look Into Millennium's Crystal Ball at WPI

Contact: Arlie Corday, WPI Media & Community Relations

WORCESTER, Mass. - Is this the year to launch your own business? Expand your company? Invest in the possibilities of the new millennium?

Entrepreneurs of all stripes will get advice on these questions from Michael Hopkins, executive editor of Inc. magazine and keynote speaker at Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Venture Forum Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 6:30 p.m. The event will take place in WPI's Kinnicutt Hall, room 115, in Salisbury Laboratories. Admission is $5 for Venture Forum members, $10 for non-members and free for those with a WPI identification card.

Hopkins oversees the editorial operations of Inc., a Boston-based magazine that serves founders of growing businesses. Inc. is one of the nation's foremost authorities on the entrepreneurial economy and the issues faced by the CEOs of small growing businesses. Noting that business challenges and opportunities have changed dramatically over the past few years, Hopkins will look ahead to interpret upcoming trends and directions.

Sharing his thoughts as a futurist, he will discuss the "smart way" of thinking about business, which leads to not one, but widely divergent, answers to business questions. His presentation will cover sources of competitive advantage that transcend the product or service. Furthermore, he will explain why, except in rare instances, the "build-a-better-mousetrap" theory for launching a company isn't as potent many may think. His talk will also explore work design, which he feels may be the most important management consideration of the next 20 years.

At Inc., Hopkins heads up annual special issues on the state of small business. In 1999, he served as editor of Inc.'s 20-year anniversary issue, "The End of the World as We Knew It." Most recently he wrote an Inc. cover story, "The Antihero's Guide to the New Economy," which explored a young business founder's attempt to rethink a global industry and to discover a mode of leadership that would enable him to bring his idea to life.

Prior to joining Inc. 11 years ago, Hopkins was himself a company builder, leaving journalism for three years to create and build a retail venture that reached almost $3 million in annual sales before being sold. Earlier in his career he was a writer and editor for regional newspapers in New Jersey, the Dow Jones News Service and The Wall Street Journal. A graduate of Amherst (Mass.) College, and England's Cambridge University, he lives outside Boston.

In addition to Hopkins' speech, WPI Venture Forum will make a case presentation of a business plan by Ira Kleiner and Colin King, president and vice president of sales and marketing respectively of ProSpeed.Net.

ProSpeed.Net is a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) and Internet Service Provider (ISP) that is establishing a high-speed communication network using Digital Subscriber line (DSL) technology. ProSpeed.Net is positioned to take advantage of the rapidly growing demand for dedicated fast Internet access and a secure remote networking environment. The company is a certified CLEC in the states of Massachusetts and New Hampshire and is in the process of attaining licenses in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maine and Vermont. This certification permits the company to lease or sell local and long distance services at wholesale rates, as well as permission to collocate its equipment in the same premises as Bell Atlantic in order to provide its DSL services while using the existing copper lines phone infrastructure.

For more information about Venture Forum, contact Sarah Ribeiro at WPI at 508-831-5075 or visit www.wpiventureforum.org.