Business & Finance
Fast Company

Fast Company April 2016

Fast Company is the world’s leading progressive business media brand, with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, leadership, world changing ideas, and design. Written for, by, and about the most progressive business leaders, Fast Company inspires readers to think beyond traditional boundaries, lead conversations, and create the future of business.

United States
Mansueto Ventures LLC
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6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
that twist of magic

If you believe in fate, there are signs that ride-sharing company Lyft has destiny on its side in its competition with Uber. After all, before Lyft’s two founders ever met, one of them had launched a company called Zimride; the other founder happened to be named Zimmer. They have become best friends, with weddings and children’s births coinciding with key moments in the company’s history. Serendipity seems to arrive at opportune moments. But luck is not a business strategy, and fortunately for Lyft, neither of its founders is waiting for the world to come to them. Instead, as editor-at-large Rick Tetzeli reports in “The Race Is On,” beginning on page 86, Lyft has maintained its relevance in an Uber-obsessed culture by focusing on the details it can control. What animates the…

6 min.
most innovative companies

A breakfast boost MCDONALD’ What does a fast-food juggernaut do when customers no longer seem to be lovin’ it? It listens to what they really want—which, as it turns out, is hash browns and hotcakes. Since launching an all-day breakfast menu at 15,000 of its 36,000 locations last October, Mickey D’s is the most profitable it’s been in three years, revealing a 6% jump in U.S. sales in Q4 2015. The brighter outlook comes just one year after the burger chain brought in CEO Steve Easterbrook to restore the Golden Arches to relevance amid consumers’ increasingly selective eating habits. But McDonald’s isn’t resting on breakfast. To help sustain the growth, it’s become focused on improving customer experience, experimenting with tech-infused store concepts and unveiling new eco-friendly packaging that sports bold and colorful lettering in…

2 min.
kickstarting a pro-social trend

YANCEY STRICKLER Then HEAD OF COMMUNITY, KICKSTARTER Now CEO, KICKSTARTER Yancey Strickler has always wanted Kickstarter to make a positive difference. But last fall, he took the crowdsourcing company’s do-good values a step further, reincorporating the business as a public-benefit corporation—a legal designation that lets shareholders know the company has broader goals than just making money. “That’s the punk-rock way to go: Just go all the way,” says Strickler, a former music journalist. With 32 states now offering PBC incorporation and companies such as Etsy and Warby Parker making the move, the CEO believes the startup world is beginning to embrace the public-benefit concept. “I’m an eternal optimist,” he says. “I believe it can get there.” As part of the transition from “Inc.” to “PBC,” the seven-year-old company has established a new charter that outlines rigorous…

2 min.
the recommender

“Charley Harper: An Illustrated Lifeis a classic collection of illustrated wildlife that straddles the line between strict and playful. I look at it at least once a day for inspiration.”Patrick Moberg Cofounder and chief creative officer, Dots“The lightning cable bracelet by Rebecca Minkoff means I no longer have to walk around with an iPhone cable tied around my wrist, which did not look very chic.”Jess Lee Cofounder and CEO, Polyvore RETHINK, RELAX, AND REFOCUS 1 TO ORGANIZE THOUGHTS “My role requires putting lots of ideas to paper, and the iA Writer eliminates the distractions. The word processor helps me focus, sentence by sentence.” Tristan Walker Founder and CEO, Walker & Company Brands 2 TO ESCAPE FROM STRESS “Muji to Relax is a whitenoise app for when the intensity of work peaks. I use it to turn…

6 min.
the audience puzzle

When the CBS television series Limitless premiered on a Tuesday night last September, 9.9 million people tuned in to check it out. In today’s TV world, which is nothing if not limitless—given the deluge of programming on everything from Netflix to cable to YouTube and myriad ways to consume it— 10 million pairs of eyeballs for a new show is impressive. And that was only the beginning. After factoring in about a month’s worth of DVR playback and videoon-demand viewing following the show’s premiere, plus streaming data from CBS’s website and app, the network’s total Limitless audience estimate jumped to 16 million. “That’s a big difference,” says David Poltrack, chief research officer for CBS. “That’s the new way that television programs become successful. They don’t become successful just on network viewing,…

2 min.
ratings highs and lows

1950 The A.C. Nielsen company buys Hooper’s national radio-and-TV-ratings service and begins measuring TV audiences. Texaco Star Theatre, hosted by Milton Berle, is the most-watched series of the 1950–1951 season and one of TV’s first hit shows. 1953 Forty-four million viewers (or 72% of all TV-owning households in the U.S.) tune in to watch Lucy Ricardo give birth to Little Ricky on CBS’s I Love Lucy. The episode drew 15 million more viewers than the previous day’s big television event: President Eisenhower’s inauguration. 1966 The first season of Star Trekattracts a dedicated fan base but low ratings. NBC nearly cancels the series after season 2, but the torrent of fan letters it receives convinces the network to keep it on air for another season. The Star Trek franchise has since earned more than $1 billion…