Fast Company September 2020

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
from the editor.

Amazon and Microsoft said they would pause or halt police use of their facial recognition technology, and IBM committed to getting out of the business altogether. At a time when business leaders and lawmakers are under pressure to eradicate systemic injustice and bias, Buolamwini’s work has never felt more urgent, and her approach—grounded in science and accessible to the masses—offers a blueprint for changing the status quo. Elsewhere in this lively package of profiles, meticulously curated by editorial director Jill Bernstein and associate editor Lara Sorokanich, you’ll meet the quiet forces behind earthshaking innovations—Lauren Gardner, creator of Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 dashboard, for example—and you’ll encounter big names blazing unexpected trails. I loved learning about musician David Byrne’s foray into feel-good journalism, and I hope you will, too. For readers who love…

7 min
rebuilding our economic engine

“It’s time to build.” So declared venture capitalist Marc Andreessen with elder-statesmanlike flourish in a widely circulated essay in April, just as the novel coronavirus began to overwhelm hospitals around the world. Housing, education, manufacturing, transportation—in all of these areas, he argued, we are suffering from “our widespread inability to build.” Andreessen’s solution was simple: “We need to want these things”; we need to find the “will” and the “desire” to build automated factories, internet-tutoring marketplaces, and supersonic aircraft. He did not mention software, the subject of his 2011 manifesto, “Why software is eating the world” (in which he augured that tech would disrupt the very same industries he now criticizes for their complacency). On Twitter, techies swooned. “Hard to read this and not get amped,” one wrote. Meanwhile, on the private exchanges…

1 min
virtual therapy

Just a few years ago, teletherapy—the practice of doing therapy via phone, video, or text—was regarded as an unproven mental health treatment. But strong consumer demand for all forms of telemedicine (estimated to surpass $130 billion by 2025) has led to a quadrupling of venture funding in the space in the past five years. The popularity of these apps skyrocketed during the COVID-19 shutdown, as in-person visits ceased and mental health declined nationally. Remote therapy is now offered by traditional healthcare networks, stand-alone apps, and as part of employee assistance programs. Industry Growth VC investment in mental health startups by year (in millions) APP USAGE Telehealth company MDLive reports that in 2020, virtual behavioral-health visits increased Valuations The top apps by valuation (at press time) Validity A 2019 Harvard Medical School study of mental health apps found that Costs One…

7 min
learning gets personal

No matter how many Clorox wipes they buy, or how far apart they place desks, schools will not be returning to normal anytime soon, due to continued public health concerns surrounding COVID-19 transmission. The grief of disrupted routines, short-circuited friendships, and delayed academic milestones that had sunk in by spring has been replaced with the stress of ongoing uncertainty. Among educators, a different kind of grief has been taking hold, as they’ve realized that school closures have created a variance in students’ progress that is so great, it renders grade levels almost meaningless. While some schools achieved a degree of success with video-based lessons and digital assignments submitted via tools such as Seesaw and Google Classroom, many struggled to adapt—and many students have fallen behind. In May, the nonprofit Northwest Evaluation…

2 min
the fungus among us

There are few things that Eben Bayer hasn’t tried to make out of mushrooms. Over the past decade, the CEO of incubator Ecovative, which develops commercial applications for mushroom materials, has made packaging, textiles, insulation, and furniture out of fungus. This fall, through spinout Atlast Food, Bayer is launching an even more ambitious product: mushroom bacon—the first, he hopes, of a whole new category of mushroom meat alternatives. Bayer sees mushrooms as an untapped resource for a number of industries. Researchers can easily extract cells of a specimen and grow them in bulk quickly, affordably, and in specific shapes. Ecovative’s early work focused on using mushroom cells in composite materials, growing mycelium with wood chips or hemp stock to create replacements for Styrofoam and building insulation. This material has been produced…

1 min
music for every moment

01 Waking Up "THE DIFFERENCE,” FLUME I came across this song in an AirPods commercial. I’ve loved everything Flume has put out. 02 Driving “AUDIO,” LSD I first heard this song when I took a trip to San Diego. On the way back, my friend played this song and I was hooked. 03 Working Out “EXCITEMENT,” TRIPPIE REDD, PARTYNEXTDOOR I’ve been a fan of Trippie and PND for a while now. This is a great collaboration. 04 Hard at Work “HOT LIKE SAUCE,” PRETTY LIGHTS This song is mostly instrumentals, so a great song to work to. 05 Get Psyched "HYFR,” DRAKE (FEAT. LIL WAYNE) Drake and Lil Wayne always bring the heat together. I’ve loved them since middle school. 06 Mellow Out "DREW BARRYMORE,” SZA SZA has the voice of an angel. The album this song is on (CTRL) is amazing. “These pillows are quirky without being…