I liked this report from Cash Peters of Marketplace on the behind the scenes success of the JanSport backpack line. I have several of these packs and use them for everything from carrying books to presentation supplies to items for an outing with my nieces.
Here's Cash Peter's short version of his interview with co-founder, Skip Yowell, for those of us not fascinated by all things backpackery: "Boy meets girl. Girl, boy and second boy invent backpack. Backpack makes everyone incredibly rich. The end."
What I found most useful in the report is how the combined the their passion for the outdoors with their pursuit of fun. I'm going to grab Skip's book, The Hippie Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder & Other Mountains: How JanSport Makes It Happen. Sounds like a great read. I'll let you know as I read it.