Fortune August/September 2021

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 Operations Corporation
6 Issues

in this issue

3 min
from mania to mainstream

FOUR YEARS AGO, Fortune published a cover story delving into what we dubbed “Blockchain Mania!” At the time, enthusiasm—or, let’s be honest, hype—about the vast potential of the revolutionary technology underpinning Bitcoin was exploding. “Initial coin offerings” were raising big bucks from investors. The price of a single Bitcoin had shot past $3,000. And the total market value of all cryptocurrencies exceeded $135 billion. Looking back, those numbers seem quaint. As with most revolutions, the crypto-uprising didn’t advance in a straight line. Bitcoin spiked in the months after our 2017 story, then crashed. Trend-chasing investors moved on, and blockchain initiatives inside big corporations floundered. But all the while, the crypto ecosystem continued to expand and evolve. Recently, digital coin prices have scaled new peaks, attracting first-time investors and institutional sharks. Even…

8 min
adena friedman

THIS EDITED Q&A HAS BEEN CONDENSED FOR SPACE AND CLARITY. “Online trading changed everything about the industry… Today we’re in a new wave of accessibility and democratization.” THE EVOLUTION OF AN EXCHANGE You first joined Nasdaq in 1993 as an intern. How does Nasdaq today compare to the company you joined then? FRIEDMAN: Nasdaq was a for-profit subsidiary of the not-for-profit National Association of Securities Dealers, now FINRA. And it was just a stock exchange. When we separated from FINRA and turned ourselves into a shareholder-owned organization in 2000, that shaped what Nasdaq has become. Today, we’re global, we’re a technology company, and we’re a public company. In your time away from Nasdaq, you took the Carlyle Group public. 1 What did that experience teach you about how to serve the companies debuting on Nasdaq…

6 min
three myths about inflation

The biggest fear by far haunting the worlds of business and investing is the I-word, short for the curse of looming inflation. Consumer and producer prices are waxing at their fastest pace in over a decade, posting downright scary numbers. In June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that consumer prices jumped by 0.9%, or 10.8% on an annual basis, and had risen 5.4% in the past 12 months, the highest reading since August 2008. Since June 2020, the cost of dining out has swelled by 4.2%, apparel by 4.9%, home energy by 6.3%, and “transportation services,” a category including airline tickets, by 10.4%. Used cars and trucks got a jaw-dropping 45% pricier, and at the gas station, you’re paying half again as much to fill your tank as a year…

2 min
the four-day workweek

THE CONCEPT has been kicking around for a while: Ask workers to put in four hard-core workdays and lengthen the weekend. But it never gained much traction in the U.S. until COVID turned the work world upside down. Suddenly there are signs that the four-day workweek may be on the precipice of a mainstream moment. In June, the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter announced a pilot four-day workweek starting in 2022. The effort is part of a larger set of programs called 4 Day Week U.S., a spinoff of 4 Day Week Global, a nonprofit that advocates for shortened weeks. Kickstarter, which will keep salaries unchanged, is betting that the move will improve employee productivity and job satisfaction. In a statement, Kickstarter CEO Aziz Hasan called the experiment part of an effort to…

8 min
the car charging war powers up

IN THE 20TH CENTURY, giant oil companies raced to build as many service stations as they could to fuel America’s gas guzzlers. Today, amid the rise of electric cars, a new battle is underway to install charging stations, where drivers plug in instead of fill up. Companies are adding thousands of chargers across the country at shopping malls and along interstate highways. Drivers park at a charger and plug the connector into their electric cars until the batteries are juiced up. Whether the companies—mostly startups—can make money from this business isn’t entirely clear. For now they are feverishly experimenting with a mix of strategies and hoping some of them will show promise. One is to charge drivers for powering up by the minute or the kilowatt-hour (kWh). Another is to turn chargers…

2 min
fostering trust at great places to work

EACH YEAR, Fortune partners with research and analytics firm Great Place to Work to analyze survey feedback from millions of employees, creating lists of the best workplaces. We measure the level of trust among colleagues, company values, and effectiveness of leadership across industries, identifying companies that excel. Universally, employees who speak highly of their company’s culture note the value of collaborative teams that go out of their way to support one another. NerdWallet, Better​.com, and Asana each ranked on the Best Workplaces for Millennials list as well as the overall Best Medium Workplaces list. Based on employee reviews, these three companies share a key quality: inclusivity. Companies that adapted quickly to the challenges of the pandemic also ranked high. Employees appreciated being kept in the loop—despite overarching uncertainty—and feeling as if their…