Business & Finance
Fast Company

Fast Company December 2015 - January 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

12 min.
twenty predictions for the next 20 years

The doctor handed me the scissors. As I pressed down the blades, snipping the umbilical cord, I looked up at my wife. She was smiling, holding our newborn son. That was 20 years ago. Our baby is now 6 feet tall and a junior in college. When I look at him, I see all the stages of his life in one continuum, the toddling and the tantrums, the laughs and the arguments, the late nights coaxing a crying infant to sleep and waiting for a teenager to come home. Fast Company turns 20 this month too, and the world has changed dramatically since the cover of issue No. 1 declared “Work Is Personal. Computing Is Social. Knowledge Is Power. Break the Rules.” Yet that manifesto is more relevant than ever. How we…

4 min.
the birth of the fast company

I first realized that August 9, 1995, would be a day to remember when two coworkers bet each other on the opening and closing price of a new stock issue from a Mountain View, California–based company called Netscape Communications. Their excitement was electric, and it only grew as the stock doubled its offering price from $14 to $28 that morning; by the time it started trading after 11 a.m., the stock had risen to $71. It ended the day at $58.25, giving the company a market capitalization of more than $2 billion. Not bad for a 16-month-old startup with just $16 million in lifetime revenues. That sort of thing simply did not happen, but Netscape’s IPO symbolized many things about the profound changes set to take place in business and culture.…

3 min.
the classifieds come to life

If anything captured the early promise of the Internet, it was Craigslist. Everything about the classifieds site—its open environment, freewheeling nature, democratized content— embodied the information superhighway. A community hub that evolved into a place where you could look for an apartment, find a job, sell goods, and search for love, Craigslist also looked like the Internet, with its blue links and HTML–gray borders and text boxes. And it still does. What’s most impressive about the site, though, is that its utility is so profound that it has not only survived but receives a whopping 50 billion page views per month. And while Craigslist might’ve contributed to the decline of the traditionalmedia business, which long relied on local classifieds for revenue, it also gave rise to an endless number of…

2 min.
instant gratification

In the mid-1990s, a mere 8% of U.S. consumers felt the web was secure enough to make purchases with a credit card. This was before PayPal and iTunes, when it was still common for people to complete eBay transactions by mailing cash or a check. All that changed in 1997, when Amazon introduced a small feature called 1-Click, which enabled customers to securely store their creditcard information online and make all future purchases with a single tap of their mouse. Not only did it make shopping exceedingly and addictively easy, it also brought the magic of the Internet to life, helping to usher in an era of increasingly seamless e-commerce. CEO Jeff Bezos, naturally, patented the 1-Click idea, and even Apple felt that the technology was so core to the…

3 min.
design for the masses

Before the first W opened on a quiet stretch of Lexington Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, staying at an American hotel chain usually involved starchy floral comforters and sad, beige carpeting. Though trendy boutique hotels like the Royalton and the Mondrian were already prioritizing design at the time, the W was the first to take a highend aesthetic and make it available to everyone regardless of status. By the following year, when the young brand opened its 10th outpost, W Hotels were packing in celebrities, socialites, and—most significantly— loyalty-pointshoarding business travelers. The W was the vision of former Starwood Hotels & Resorts CEO Barry Sternlicht, who, a few years earlier, had realized that while brands such as Pottery Barn and Banana Republic were bringing a new sensibility to the shopping mall, most…

2 min.
a virus named melissa

People were nowhere near as jaded about email in March 1999 as they’d eventually become. So when a missive claiming to be an “Important Message” began popping up in inboxes around the world, many folks reflexively clicked on it—and then, as instructed, opened the Microsoft Word file attached. Bad move. The Word doc—seemingly a list of porn sites—was infected with a virus and automatically emailed itself to the first 50 people in the recipient’s address book. It set off a nasty chain reaction that spread to as many as 20% of the planet’s business PCs, according to some estimates. The virus’s author called it Melissa (after a Miami stripper) and ended up spending 20 months behind bars. The scheme was more annoying than malevolent, but because it was so effectively (and socially)…