Fast Company Winter 2021/2022

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
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min
reclaiming productivity

The term “productivity” has many definitions. The Oxford English Dictionary, citing examples from the 1600s, equates the term with being “creative” and “generative.” In economics, productivity is associated with labor, as a measurement of the output of goods and services against the human hours worked to make or deliver them. More recently, though, productivity has become synonymous with long hours, being “always on” for clients and coworkers, and an overall culture of busyness. This last definition is one that organizations need to identify within their cultures right now and address immediately Research from McKinsey & Co. and finds that 42% of women—and 35% of men—surveyed say they are consistently burned out at work, up from 32% and 28%, respectively, a year ago. And a lot of what has made work…

6 min
mind over matter

Last December, Stephen Snowder, a 37-year-old communications staffer at a white-shoe law firm in New York, Googled “pandemic weight gain.” He’d stopped jogging and had indulged in comforting Grubhub meals while quarantining. He wanted to fit into his 2019 clothes again. As he found himself sifting through information about various weight-loss companies and programs online, one slogan caught his eye: “Stop Dieting. Get Lifelong Results.” An app—called Noom—promised to use psychology to help “build new habits to crush your goals.” The company’s website described how he’d be paired with a wellness coach and receive short lessons and quizzes based on cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. Crucially, the app said he could eat anything he wanted. Noom ads soon flooded Snowder’s Instagram feed. He signed on. The American Psychological Association reports that the 42%…

1 min
weight training

1917 Counting Calories Doctor and newspaper columnist Lulu Hunt Peters introduced the world to calorie counting with her best-selling book, Diet and Health: With Key to the Calories. 1925 The Cigarette Diet Cigarette brand Lucky Strike advised people to “Reach for Lucky instead of a sweet,” and take advantage of nicotine’s appetite suppressing qualities. 1930 The Grapefruit Diet The diet promised followers that they would lose weight if they consumed half a grapefruit with every meal, claiming that it has fat burning properties. 1950 The Cabbage Soup Diet Followers could eat as much cabbage soup as their hearts (and stomachs) desired for seven days. Though the diet can help people cut calories in the short term, it also has one uncomfortable side effect: excessive flatulence. 1961 Weight Watchers Launched as a nutritional guide and support group company by Queens, New York, housewife Jean Nidetch,…

4 min
parks and recreation

A new store opened in the suburbs of Pittsburgh in September. Built to resemble a rustic—albeit enormous—country cabin, the 50,000-square-foot space is really eight stores in one, each devoted to a different outdoor or adventure activity such as camping, fishing, or paddling. But there’s more than just goods on shelves. The cycling shop, for example, sells bikes, but also offers repairs and rentals. Climbing instructors don’t just fit customers for climbing shoes; they facilitate test runs on the store’s 30-foot climbing wall. There’s even a concierge on hand, advising shoppers about local parks, classes, and environmental volunteer opportunities. Employees aren’t just there for the transactions, but to foster a community around America’s 640 million acres of parks, forests, and wildlife refuges. One percent of sales from this store, called Public Lands,…

1 min
disarming retail

Cabela’s The retailer’s then CEO, Tommy Millner (who previously spent 15 years leading gunmaker Remington), reportedly said his company enjoyed such a rush of gun buyers after the Sandy Hook massacre that it “didn’t blink” about continuing to sell them. Cabela’s still sells semiautomatic and military-style rifles. Kroger The company decided to completely phase out guns from its Northwest based Fred Meyer supermarkets weeks after Parkland. It didn’t mention the school shooting as a motive, but cited “softening customer demand.” Walmart Walmart retired semiautomatic weapons in 2015. After a shooting inside its own store in El Paso, Texas, in 2019, it discontinued handguns and short-barrel rifles. In 2020, the superstore temporarily pulled its remaining shotguns and ammunition after the murder of George Floyd, mentioning “civil unrest.”…

1 min
easy riders

After showing steady growth for five years, e-bike sales skyrocketed in 2020. Recent innovations have resulted in lighter frames, a range of safety features (reflective paint, LED lights, hydraulic brakes), and more comfortable rides. Meanwhile, investments in city infrastructure are helping to make e-bikes a more viable option for urban commuters looking for safer (and less sweaty) modes of transportation during the pandemic. Ride-sharing companies like Lyft have taken notice and entered the market, and the industry continues to introduce features that target new markets, including mountain bikers and hunters. 130 MILLION Number of electric bikes expected to be sold globally between 2020 and 2023 400 Number of e-bike brands available in the U.S. 130% 2019 2020 Growth of e-bike retail sales $1,500 Amount Americans could receive as a refundable tax credit for new e-bike purchases under…