Of course, an IMG writer might have to leave out some of the most interesting details. Like a lot of savvy entrepreneurs, Schutt plays with other people's money--but it doesn't come from the entrepreneurs and small businesses that IMG celebrates. For all the company's focus on the "new economy," its business model depends heavily on the old economy--in the form of government subsidies. In the past five years, state-funded groups have paid IMG more than $3 million.
Schutt grew up in Saginaw--one of the distressed cities he now is recasting as a great place for start-up businesses. He calls this "creating an alternative narrative," and says it's needed to balance the "old media" focus on Michigan's industrial decline.
He earned a degree from Ferris State in business administration in 1993 and a few years later followed his wife, Megan, a social worker, to Ann Arbor. They live here with their son, Oliver. Well connected both locally and in Lansing, Schutt serves on the board of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation.
Schutt has been involved in online marketing and web development since 1994. He says in his twenties he "made the same mistakes" as other early web entrepreneurs, renting unnecessary office space and suffering high overhead costs.