Business & Finance

Fortune March 1, 2018

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. Fortune currently publishes 3 double issues. Each count as two of 12 issues in an annual subscription.

United States
Meredith Corporation
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12 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
building an idea factory

IMAGINE YOU COULD put the secret to innovation in a box. You start with a simple cardboard container about the size of a ream of copier paper— and make it fire engine red to get everybody’s attention. On top, you print the words: pull in case of idea. Inside, you place six brightly colored guide cards to help the recipient, step by step, generate and fine-tune his or her brainchild, gather data to support it, test and challenge it, and ultimately pitch it to the boss. Then, for kicks, you toss in a Starbucks gift card—and, oh yeah, $1,000 in no-questions-asked seed funding. That was the wild notion that Mark Randall, chief strategist and vice president of creativity at Adobe Systems, came up with to ignite innovation at the San Jose–based…

3 min.
new tax cuts will save billions. but for whom?

THE WORLD IN 6 PAGES SPIN HEADLINES DRIPPED WITH SCORN when Kimberly-Clark announced in January that it would lay off 5,000 to 5,500 employees. The company “celebrates the Trump tax cuts with massive layoffs, share buybacks,” said Salon, and will “use savings from tax cuts to pay for layoffs,” said Washington’s political chronicle, The Hill. Similar disdain followed January layoff announcements from Pfizer, Walmart, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, and many less prominent employers, coalescing into an angry narrative: Greedy companies are firing workers just days after getting a historically giant tax cut that will save them billions—a tax cut that was promoted by President Trump and Republicans as a job creator. The narrative reveals more about today’s hyper-partisan discourse than about the reality of the new tax law, which is likely to affect jobs and…

1 min.

THE RESULTS ARE IN, AND GLOBAL GROWTH LOOKS PRETTY DARN GOOD PRESIDENT TRUMP didn’t quite get the 3% GDP boost he was hoping for in 2017, but at 2.3%, the U.S. economy is chugging along. Meanwhile, India and China soared more than 6%, and overall global growth saw a 2.9% increase. Don’t bank on the good times lasting too long, though. Economists see risks in political unrest, trade wars, and overheated markets, and anticipate a slowdown by 2020. LOTS OF BUYERS, NOT MANY HOUSES SINGLE-FAMILY HOME prices climbed 4.7% in the U.S. last year and are up 25.1% over the past five. Blame supply constraints: At December’s sales pace, clearing all the houses on the market would take just 3.2 months, down from almost a year post-recession. Unless construction surges, expect prices to…

1 min.
forget ‘uber for x,’ try ‘x for women’

STARTUPS IN FEBRUARY, Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi mentioned that she wanted to make snacks that cater to women—less mess, less crunch, less crinkly bags. Cue a full-blown Internet backlash over “Lady Doritos.” (Doritos tweeted that the chips would not be created.) But Nooyi wasn’t alone in wanting to tweak a successful model to suit a female audience. The past year has seen a proliferation of women-focused companies. High-end razor service Billie, which has been called the “Dollar Shave Club for women,” launched in December and is on the verge of selling out its inventory. Ellevest, a digital investment platform (similarly nicknamed “Wealthfront for women”), promotes strategies that account for women’s earnings and life expectancy. And WeWork-esque women-only coworking spaces have flourished (see: the Wing, the Riveter, Hera Hub, and more). The fear? Companies…

1 min.
the kids are not all right

TIDE PODS The fad of chewing the detergent pellets helped spur teen poison- control cases to 165 this year (triple all of 2017). BURT’S BEES Applying the lip balm (now owned by Clorox) to their eyelids, teens dubbed the peppermint-induced buzz “Beezin.” SMARTIES Kids’ snorting the pulverized confections prompted a Rhode Island school to warn in 2014 of a nasal maggots risk. WHIPPED CREAM Conagra’s label says not to “deliberately” inhale the nitrous oxide. But even Demi Moore reportedly tried “whip-its.”…

1 min.
buckle up—volatility is back

STOCKS WHEN THE GOVERNMENT (FIRST) shut down this year, the market barely shrugged. When Donald Trump pulled off a surprise victory in the 2016 election, it kept right on chugging. The Brexit upset? A tremor so imperceptible, it wouldn’t even register on the Richter scale. Indeed, in recent years, stock prices have reacted so little to so much—devastating hurricanes, political (and literal) firestorms, nuclear missile threats—it was as though the market had absently looked up to check the headlines and gone right back to sudoku. And then, on the first Monday in February, the long-catatonic Dow Jones industrial average nose-dived 1,175 points, partly reacting to bearish inflation expectations, and the S&P 500’s volatility surged to heights not seen since 2009. The CBOE volatility index—better known as the Wall Street “fear gauge,” or…