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Innovators: editor

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Josh Quittner considers the April 2004 issue of Business 2.0 the one that firmly repositioned the magazine after the tech bubble burst.

The cover story, "Do This. Get Rich." centered on the eight greatest business opportunities of the time, an idea generated by research showing that the monthly's readers were entrepreneurial but wanted to run big companies.

"It was absolutely our tipping point," said Quittner, technology editor for Time before he relocated three years ago from New York to San Francisco to turn around Business 2.0. "I had a feeling this was who our readers are. The threshold question for every [story] since then is `What's the business opportunity here?' "

The annual "101 dumbest moments in business" this year was accompanied by a story on smart companies. The March cover story on the real estate market didn't speculate on whether it was headed into a downturn; instead it advised readers how to make money in the current market.

The April cover story on Apple Computer Co. included a photo essay, "Reinvigorating Apple" in which a former chief designer for the company created images of "Apple gear we hope to see."

That type of editorial treatment "shows where the opportunity is," Quittner said. "For a big magazine like Fortune, you get the official story, the best `Inside Apple' story in the world. We're gorillas and guerrillas. They're not going to give us the time of day even though we're at 600,000. We have no clout. We have to be imaginative in how we cover companies. But in some ways it's hugely liberating, in that we don't have to go with the party line."

-M.E.P.

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