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FortuneFortune

Fortune

November 2019

FORTUNE covers the entire field of business, including specific companies and business trends, tech innovation prominent business leaders, and new ideas shaping the global marketplace. FORTUNE is particularly well known for its exceptionally reliable annual rankings of companies. FORTUNE furthers understanding of the economy, provides implementable business strategy, and gives you the practical knowledge you need to maximize your own success.

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Meredith Corporation
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20 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

access_time3 min.
future shock

THE PRAGMATISTS among us will say that peering into the future is impossible. They’ll say with a smirk that there are no crystal balls, no indelible lines on human palms that foretell our destinies. The rest of us, and I count myself among them, harbor at least some suspicion that such precognition is possible. We believe that, indeed, there are some who can predict what will happen tomorrow. We call them prophets. Visionaries. Oracles. And often we find them in the realm of business, one of the rare places where mortal beings can actually create the future they’re envisioning. Among the most remarkable of these builder-prophets is James Dyson, profiled by Fortune senior writer Jeremy Kahn in this issue. Dyson’s improbable bagless vacuum cleaners, impossible bladeless fans, and hyperspeed hand dryers—all of…

access_time5 min.
anatomy of an american spender

LOOK TO YOUR LEFT and your right and then answer this question: What’s the mood of the people around you? For the sake of everyone’s jobs, incomes, retirement funds, homes, and much else, we’d better hope the mood stays upbeat. Much more than usual, the consumer’s sunny disposition is propelling the U.S. economy’s growth. But the latest research suggests a mood swing may be underway. In their shopping, consumers are blithely ignoring the daily articles about the latest signs of a looming recession. Unperturbed, they’re spending with gusto—more per capita than ever in history, even after adjusting for inflation. Their spending has long been the largest component of America’s economy; over the past several years, consumption has accounted for 67% to 69% of U.S. GDP. But lately, consumers have been outdoing themselves,…

access_time2 min.
a year of listing dangerously

AS 2019 DAWNED, the IPO calendar looked promising—privately held “unicorns” with valuations over $1 billion, like Uber, Lyft, and Peloton, were all poised to make a splash in the markets. But as each company flew the nest, public investors were increasingly realizing there was a huge pricing problem. Lyft beat Uber to the punch by debuting in March. But following an IPO-day bump, the stock traded down nearly 30% in its first two months. Uber fared similarly, losing 20% of its value since its debut in May. And after fitness company Peloton closed 11% down on its first day in September, the trend became clearer—traders were not willing to validate lofty private valuations. Private investors largely failed to price these companies in the later rounds of their fundraising, says Santosh Rao, head…

access_time2 min.
the benioff way

IN THE SPRING OF 2015, two senior Salesforce executives paid a visit to the home of their CEO, Marc Benioff, to deliver some uncomfortable news: Women at the company, they suspected, were being paid less than their male counterparts for the same jobs. As his colleagues spoke, Benioff could feel the indignation and astonishment reshaping his face. “I’ll admit, my defensiveness was welling up,” he writes in his compelling new book, Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change, coauthored by former Wall Street Journal writer Monica Langley. The self-made tech billionaire, whose company sells subscription software for a rather prosaic-sounding task—customer-relations management—had already made a name for himself as a philanthropist-provocateur. Long ago he had instituted a widely copied program called 1-1-1 in which Salesforce donated 1%…

access_time2 min.
vr in the boardroom

WHEN BRIAN RITCHEY attends a meeting, he’s almost always the one running it. But when the COO of Pennsylvania-based metal supplier Ritchey Metals put on a virtual reality headset, he wasn’t at the head of the table. “I was in the boardroom with a group of diverse women. I was the only male in the room. They would try to interrupt me,” Ritchey remembers. “I was so annoyed at everyone in the meeting—no one would listen to me.” Ritchey was testing a new VR-enabled diversity and inclusion training program developed by Pittsburgh-based leadership consultants DDI. Intended to teach (mostly white, mostly male) executives like Ritchey what their employees experience at work, the scenario places the participant in a meeting with a familiar set of challenges in the way. Meeting attendees cut…

access_time2 min.
what is dick’s without guns?

“THE ONES THAT are mad at us, we’ve lost them,” Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack says of the gun enthusiast reaction to his 2018 decision to stop selling assault-style rifles. In a new autobiography, It’s How We Play the Game: Build a Business. Take a Stand. Make a Difference, Stack says Dick’s being one of the four biggest U.S. sellers of firearms “made us part of the problem.” And given Washington’s gridlock, he wanted Dick’s to be part of the solution. Despite the lingering backlash, Dick’s has begun to rebound. After an initial slump that cost the company $300 million, comparable sales were up 1.7% in the first six months of 2019, and gathering speed. Stack tells Fortune he’s not looking back. Dick’s has removed guns altogether from 125 of its 727…

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