Fast Company October 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
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min
the trickiest skill in business

Several weeks ago my sister, Judy, introduced me to a podcast called Presidential, and I’ve become addicted to it. It’s a week-by-week exploration of each American president, with a playful spirit and provocative leadership insights. The most recent episode I listened to focused on FDR’s relationship with Eleanor Roosevelt, who wrote a book called Tomorrow Is Now. What could be more modern than that? There’s much discussion in the current election season about what makes America great. A less-discussed corollary: What makes American business great? For several months, our editors have been poring over thousands of submissions for our Innovation by Design Awards (beginning on page 58), which, in aggregate, reveal what animates economic success today. Whether it’s the intuitive ease of Airbnb’s new app or the clever underwater server farms…

2 min
group think

We asked. You answered. Love it or loathe it, brainstorming is a ubiquitous part of office culture. Whether it is an effective tool for generating ideas and solving problems is up for debate. And since we love a good debate, we invited 50 leaders in the design community— typically some of the most opinionated, creative, and analytical types in business—to share how or if they brainstorm. Here are some of their responses, including a characteristically honest one from the legendary and outspoken creative director George Lois. “You always hear about keeping negativity out of brainstorms. Like, people are just supposed to say happy things and write them on Post-it Notes. Ideas can come from both positive and negative energy.” Mike Simonian Principal, Mike & Maaike “Food. Must. Be. Present. When chomping, we think better. No…

4 min
a smarter office

Updates from the MIC alumni R/GA One of the worldÕ most techsavvy offices isn’t in Silicon Valley, but in New York City: It’s the global headquarters of R/GA, the digital ad agency that counts Google, Nike, and Verizon among its clients. In January, nearly 1,000 employees moved into a new, 200,000-square-foot work space in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards teeming with connecteddesign innovations. The overhead lights are tuned to natural circadian rhythms; enormous projection screens display local transit times and company announcements; and a proprietary app allows employees to book conference rooms. The idea for the connected office was borne, in part, of R/GA founder and CEO Bob Greenberg’s desire to stem employee attrition (down 5% since the move) by creating a space that’s exciting to come to every day. “It’s all designed to…

2 min
a new listening experience

SONOS Like many of its peers in the homeaudio industry, Sonos has traditionally relied on big-box retailers to sell its high-fidelity, Wi-Fi–connected speakers in stores that are often overflowing with other electronics, people, and piped-in music. But this year, the 14-year-old company is reclaiming control of the way potential customers engage with its products. In July, it opened its first retail space, in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. In a nod to music lovers, the 4,200-square-foot store is filled with memorabilia, including cassette tapes from the personal collection of Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and out-of-print music magazines. More significant, it houses seven semiprivate listening rooms, three of them designed by local artists, where visitors can try out Sonos’s five speakers as they would in their own homes. “We came to the realization…

2 min
out of the box

What’s new with members of our MCP community Hayley Barna PARTNER, FIRST ROUND CAPITAL Last August, Birchbox co-CEO Hayley Barna decided to walk away from the influential beautysubscription-box startup that she cofounded in 2010 (she remains on the company’s board). “What we created with Birchbox was truly unique at the time,” she explains. “I loved it, but it turned out the beauty industry is not my lifelong passion. It’s [exploring] innovative business models.” So, in February, Barna signed on as a partner at First Round Capital, the seed-stage VC firm that has invested in companies such as Uber, Warby Parker, and, not coincidentally, Birchbox. (Meanwhile, Barna’s former company has been struggling, enduring two big rounds of layoffs earlier this year and receiving a $15 million injection of funds from current investors in August,…

2 min
the recommender

8 things the Fast Company community is loving this month 1 Palau Island “I love to travel and recently visited the South Pacific island of Palau. In addition to some amazing scuba diving, we snorkeled in a lagoon full of nonvenomous jellyfish, which felt like swimming in a bowl of Jell-O: surreal and creepy.” Daphne Koller Cofounder and president, Coursera 2 Doughboys podcast “The Doughboys is basically two comedy writers eating at chain restaurants and rating them, but it’s so much more. They savage each other without sounding like jerks. Also, they’re really funny.” Jesse Thorn Owner, Maximum Fun; Fast Company MCP 3 Arbor Skateboards From $129 “I got a sweet longboard from this Venice, Los Angeles, shop. I love skating my way into the office on my Arbor board.” John Tabis CEO, Bouqs 4 Lana Turner hat exhibit Free “I’m thrilled that the…