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    Most Innovative Companies

    Which companies are on the cutting edge of artificial intelligence? What’s the next major breakthrough in healthcare? How do iconic brands reinvent themselves to appeal to the next generation? Most Innovative Companies is where tech, business, and innovation convene. Join hosts Yasmin Gagne and Josh Christensen as they bring you the latest innovations transforming business and society—and highlights the companies that are reshaping industries and culture.
    enMansueto Ventures93 Episodes

    Episodes (128)

    It’s too damn hot, tip Grubhub delivery workers more

    It’s too damn hot, tip Grubhub delivery workers more
    Temperatures are hitting all-time highs, with some cities reaching 25 degrees above average. Last week, the Biden Administration announced a proposed rule that would create heat protections for certain workers, including delivery drivers. But with companies like Grubhub and UberEats classifying delivery workers as “independent contractors,” what does that mean for some of the people most vulnerable to extreme heat? ‘Fast Company’ staff writer Jess Bursztynksy gives us the latest on the state of delivery workers’ rights in NYC and beyond. And Dr. Sophia Yen, founder of Pandia Health, talks about changing how people get essential healthcare, using algorithms in telemedicine, and how our political climate impacts women’s healthcare businesses.

    Who is MSCHF and why are 10,000 people playing their game on Venmo?

    Who is MSCHF and why are 10,000 people playing their game on Venmo?
    Brooklyn-based art collective MSCHF has a long history of expertly harnessing pop culture humor to poke fun at big corporations. Their latest project is a game built on top of Venmo, where players buy in for $10 and participate in hourly votes to eliminate each other, and a daily vote to pick a winner. The first player chosen to win by 100% of the votes will win a prize pot of over $119,000. Fast Company Global Design Editor Mark Wilson breaks down MSCHF's history and how they combine artistic commentary with capitalism. And Pinterest Chief Product Officer Sabrina Ellis discusses AI's possible uses on a platform with such a vast library of images. How can Pinterest continue to be a source of inspiration for users, an avenue for shopping, and expand the diversity of its content? And what insights can AI provide into the things that catch our eye?

    Are LinkedIn influencers the worst kind of influencer?

    Are LinkedIn influencers the worst kind of influencer?
    In a recent viral LinkedIn post, Cap X Media’s CEO Matthew Baltzell poses in a backwards baseball cap and details his experience firing an employee for the first time. He talks about the process, what he learned, and asks for feedback from readers. One commenter wrote, “This LinkedIn post is a disgrace,” while another said, “You brought pain into someone’s life and then turned it into a ‘gold star for me’ moment. They’re certainly appalled by this on other (less weird) social platforms.”But plenty of comments sympathized with Baltzell over the uncomfortable situation, even praising him for sharing it. In fact, deranged behavior like this is a daily occurrence on LinkedIn, where business influencers operate very differently from influencers on other social media platforms. ‘Fast Company’ contributing writer Joe Berkowitz discusses his own forays into LinkedIn’s world of ‘corporate positivity.’ And Andrew Lacey, founder and CEO of medical technology company Prenuvo, talks about how the full-body MRI scanning that his company is offering might change our perspective on preventative healthcare—if the high cost can be lowered by other systemic reforms in healthcare.

    Frank McCourt wants to buy TikTok

    Frank McCourt wants to buy TikTok
    Back in April, President Biden signed a law that would ban TikTok unless its parent company, ByteDance, sells the social media app. The company was given about nine months to a year to find an American buyer. So, today we’re going to dive into the race to buy the social media app . . . specifically looking at one billionaire who’s spearheading a bid: former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. Fast Company Senior Staff Editor Max Ufberg sat down with McCourt a few weeks ago to discuss his interest in buying TikTok. And then we chatted with Fast Company Senior Staff Editor Jeff Beer about his trip to Cannes and which brand he thinks will win the Titanium award. Also, check out Yaz's interview on the "Rapid Response" podcast: https://www.fastcompany.com/91142303/have-we-hit-peak-apple

    Inside MrBeast's corporate structure

    Inside MrBeast's corporate structure
    A nonprofit founded by right-wing billionaire Charles Koch was a "key contributor" to a recent video produced by the popular content creator MrBeast. The video, titled "We Schooled Hundreds of Teachers," was uploaded on April 30th to "Beast Philanthropy," a second channel MrBeast uses to showcase charity work. MrBeast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, lists the organization Stand Together as one of the main financial sponsors. Stand Together was founded by Koch in 2003 as The Seminar Network and it describes itself as a "philanthropic community" dedicated to tackling the "country’s biggest problems," which range from education initiatives to what it calls "freedom-minded solutions." But we wanted to focus on how MrBeast’s corporate structure operates, so Fast Company contributing writer Ryan Broderick joined us to chat about it. Then, Fast Company associate editor David Salazar had a conversation with Vault founder David Greenstein and musician James Blake, who was the first artist on Vault and has been vocal about its potential as a new way for fans to engage with their favorite artists. They chatted about experimenting with new ways to monetize music.

    How Dropout competes in a cutthroat, subscription-streaming market

    How Dropout competes in a cutthroat, subscription-streaming market
    Last September, CollegeHumor rebranded as Dropout. The 25-year old comedy platform made the move after a surge in subscriptions to the company's streaming platform, Dropout TV. After decades of struggling to find profitability, this became the centerpiece of its business model. “Truthfully, as a high school dropout, I never really connected with the brand name CollegeHumor,” said Dropout CEO Sam Reich. "We promised ourselves we would only do away with the name when we felt that Dropout was popular enough to eclipse it, and we feel that time is now.” Since purchasing the company for a whopping $0 in 2020, Reich has prioritized producing long-form improv content, keeping costs low and driving brand awareness through vertical videos on social media networks like TikTok. Dropout currently has 11 active series including its two most popular properties Game Changer and Dimension 20, a series where comedians actually play a live game of Dungeons & Dragons. By the end of this year, they are set to have 15 series including a live comedy special series called Dropout Presents that will launch this summer with a stand-up special from YouTuber Hank Green. The company has also ventured into live event programming for Dimension 20 in partnership with Live Nation, starting with a four-show tour of the U.K. this spring and, most impressively, leading up to a show at Madison Square Garden in January of 2025.

    Why tech bro podcasts are obsessed with alpha men

    Why tech bro podcasts are obsessed with alpha men
    Last week, an article by ‘Fast Company’ senior writer Ainsley Harris riled up a small but very online part of the tech community. Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, Elon Musk, Anduril Industries founder Palmer Lucky, Y combinator CEO Garry Tan, and even MrBeast, along with many others, were all reacting to her article, ‘Tech bro podcasts are obsessed with alpha men, and it’s dangerous for the rest of us.’ We talked to Ainsley and had her explain why so many ‘techno-optimists’ fell in love with the Great Man Theory, and how that’s problematic. Then, we spoke to Gamefam founder and CEO Joe Ferencz about the rise of Roblox and Fortnite as brand-engagement platforms and how they use these sandbox games to not only create new virtual worlds, but also to advertise different IPs.

    Perplexity CEO slams Google

    Perplexity CEO slams Google
    By now, we’re used to talking to AI chatbots, and we’re used to googling something to find an answer. Last week, though, Google launched a new feature that combines the two called AI Overviews. The feature—which many users are already trying to turn off—is designed to reduce the number of searches users have to make. But the idea of combining a chatbot, search tool, and encyclopedia has actually been championed and refined by a two-year-old startup called Perplexity. The ambitious startup, which calls itself an Answer Engine, has been funded by the likes of Jeff Bezos and Nvidia. The stakes are high: If Perplexity can pull off its mission, the company could become—according to some—a Google killer. Perplexity’s CEO Aravind Srinivas spoke at our Most Innovative Companies Summit last week, and had some choice words about Google’s new features and the future of his own company. We spoke to executive editor Amy Farley to unpack what he said. Then, we chatted with ‘Fast Company’ senior staff editor Jeff Beer about brand apology ads and E.l.f beauty’s recent study on how there are too many dicks across U.S corporate boards.

    Why is the WNBA so hot right now?

    Why is the WNBA so hot right now?
    The WNBA’s 2024 season comes on the heels of a recent groundswell of interest in women’s basketball. Last year was the WNBA’s most-watched regular season in over two decades and the recently wrapped NCAA tournament has brought a new generation of fans to the sport. The women’s March Madness final averaged 18.7 million viewers, while the men’s final averaged just 14.82 million viewers. Basically, the WNBA is a hot commodity and brands are noticing. Fast Company Staff Editor AJ Hess joined us to explain how this happened and why the stakes for the WNBA are so high this season. Then, in a bit of a role reversal, Josh played the interviewer and asked Yaz about her latest reporting on Oprah. It covered Weight Watchers, diet culture, and our favorite topic on this show, GLP-1s. The impetus for Yaz's article was a Weight Watchers event last week in New York where Oprah was speaking. Yaz explained what happened and what it means for the future of the company.

    We're looking at 2024 Summer Trends

    We're looking at 2024 Summer Trends
    It’s May! We’re enjoying the spring weather and getting ready for this summer. So, we wanted to chat with some Fast Company folks who have their ears to the ground on what’s going to be a hit this summer. Fast Company Associate Editor David Salazar and Senior Staff Writer Liz Segran joined us to share their ideas—and a big shout-out to our interns, Ellie Stevens and Leila Frankina, for their help. Then, we sat down with Airbnb's Chief Business Officer Dave Stephenson where we chatted about the so-called "Airbnb Effect" happening in certain communities around the country, the company's efforts to advocate for renters, and the its latest Icons offerings.

    The unraveling of a unicorn: Why InVision failed

    The unraveling of a unicorn: Why InVision failed
    InVision was once a prominent player in the design software space. But the company that was once valued at $2 billion announced it will be discontinuing its design-collaboration services by the end of this year. The cofounders, Clark Valberg and Ben Nadel, originally designed the software as a prototyping tool for designers but it quickly gained popularity and ultimately achieved unicorn status after raising $100 million in 2017. This was followed by another milestone when it raised $115 million, which effectively doubled its valuation. So, what happened? How did this unicorn unravel? ‘Fast Company’ contributing writer Nicole Gull McElroy joined us to explain and discuss. Then we chatted with legendary English fashion designer Paul Smith who has been working in the industry for more than 50 years. Aside from the clothes, he’s also heavily involved in designing the look of his stores around the world. His iconic store on L.A’.s Melrose Avenue has a bright pink wall that’s been around since the early 2000s. But since the 2010s, that wall has become an Instagram hot spot with people lining up to take photos against the hot pink backdrop. Smith explained to us how the wall—which costs about $66,000 a year to maintain—has changed brand awareness, and spoke about his long career as designer-of-choice for such stars as Daniel Day-Lewis, David Bowie, and Jony Ive.

    Minimum wage increases for fast food workers and Lyft drivers

    Minimum wage increases for fast food workers and Lyft drivers
    Fast food workers in California are seeing an increase in their paychecks. This is because of a recent minimum wage law that went into effect earlier this month. The law requires fast food chains like McDonald’s and Starbucks to pay workers $20 per hour. It will also affect restaurants that have at least 60 other locations nationwide. Opponents of the law say it will lead to layoffs and store closures . . . but for fast food workers who have been fighting for better pay, this could mean being able to get a decent living wage. Fast Company Staff Writer Pavithra Mohan joined us to unpack it all. For more on this, check out Pavithra's reporting. Then we chatted with Lyft CEO David Risher about taking over the company after cofounders Logan Green and John Zimmer left a year ago, having to lay off more than a quarter of the company’s workforce last April, and focusing on his key strategy: “customer obsession drives profitable growth.” We also discussed the company’s future in Minneapolis, whether self-driving cars will transform the industry, and what Risher learned heading up U.S. retail at Amazon under Jeff Bezos.

    Boeing is having a bad year

    Boeing is having a bad year
    Boeing has been in the news recently . . . Between a door plug blowing off mid-flight and sudden nose dives causing injuries, the company has been in very hot water. ‘Fast Company’ contributing writer Clint Rainey joined us to explain what’s really going on at Boeing and how it plans to address safety and quality concerns. For more on our Boeing coverage. Then, we spoke with Ghia founder and CEO Melanie Masarin and Nowadays cofounder and CEO Justin Tidwell to understand what’s behind all the demand for non-alcoholic drinks. Companies like Athletic Brewing are experiencing enormous growth as consumers are embracing Sober October and Dry January and curbing their drinking in general. It’s perhaps not going all that well for all brands. After we recorded this interview on April 9th, Boisson, the largest nonalcoholic retailer in New York, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed all eight of its brick-and-mortar stores. Still, the nonalcoholic market is forecasted to grow exponentially within the next decade, especially as major breweries such as Anheuser-Busch and Heineken expand their alcohol-free offerings.

    NBC's hiring and firing of Ronna McDaniel

    NBC's hiring and firing of Ronna McDaniel
    Two weeks ago, the former Republican National Committee boss Ronna McDaniel was hired and then fired as an MSNBC contributor. This came about after pushback from staff, including complaints that she had touted Donald Trump’s debunked claims of voting malfeasance in the 2020 election. At the same time, there was backlash from people on the right who chalked up her dismissal as proof of left-wing media bias. Presiding over the chaos was NBCUniversal News chairman Cesar Conde, who has been trying to make the network for all viewpoints. But is that even possible in the Trump era? We talked to Fast Company contributing writer Brian Stelter, who profiled Cesar Conde in our upcoming spring issue. Then we chatted about one of Fast Company’s recognition programs, Brands That Matter. This is where Fast Company highlights companies that build a connection with their audiences by being culturally relevant, making an impact, and communicating their mission and values clearly. Our advertising and brand correspondent, Jeff Beer, joined us to share his favorite brands at the moment. Kristen Wiig's reprisal of the Target lady, SunChips jumping on the eclipse phenomenon, and . . . Dramamine producing a short documentary about barf bags.

    Truth Social and Sephora Tweens

    Truth Social and Sephora Tweens
    Truth Social went public last week. The company disclosed its finances in an SEC filing that revealed it had brought in just over $4 million in revenue while losing more than $58 million in 2023. Those numbers don’t seem to make sense. ‘Fast Company’ senior staff editor Max Ufberg joined us to break down what is responsible for the dire state of that business. Also, tweens and teens experimenting with makeup and skincare is nothing new, but there’s a new trend happening where tweens are showing a lot of interest in the Sephora brand . . . so we wanted to hear directly from them and got to speak with one tween about how they got so interested in skincare, and, of course, what their favorite products are. Then we spoke with Artemis Patrick, president and CEO of Sephora North America, who shared why she thinks tweens love the brand so much and what the company is doing to connect with that community.

    Y Combinator and Oishii

    Y Combinator and Oishii
    Y Combinator has become arguably the most powerful force in tech. It touts that five-and-a-half of the startups that have participated in it have become unicorns . . . which is at least double that of rival accelerators such as TechStars and 500 Global. But it started suffering from exactly the kind of corporate bloat that its founder Paul Graham abhorred. Current president and CEO Garry Tan—who also happens to be a YC alum—took over last January and promised to reclaim YC’s roots and focus on serving early-stage founders. Here’s Fast Company senior writer Ainsley Harris to help fill us in on the behind-the-scenes action. In theory, there are a lot of benefits to indoor farming . . . they often use 90% less water than traditional farms and can produce year-round crops, but we’ve also seen a whole bunch of companies like AeroFarms, AppHarvest, and others really struggle to make the unit economics work. We wanted to hear from Oishii cofounder and CEO Hiroki Koga. His luxury strawberries can be purchased at Whole Foods for $15. Here, he talks about the challenges of vertical farming, and explains why he recently raised a whopping $134 million to expand his operation.

    The Most Innovative Companies list is out!

    The Most Innovative Companies list is out!
    Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies list is out! We chatted with Fast Company Executive Editor Amy Farley to hear about the top five winners and who her personal faves were. Spoilers: Nvidia, OpenAI and Microsoft were at the top but some surprises were the National Women's Soccer League, United Auto Workers and ... Chess.com. Then, Fast Company Senior Staff Editor Jeff Beer sat down with Taco Bell CEO Sean Tresvant and CMO Taylor Montgomery to discuss how the fast-food company is one of the most innovative brands out there. For more on the MIC list, check it out here. And check out Jeff's Taco Bell feature story!

    The Hyper-Connected Consumer

    The Hyper-Connected Consumer
    Today’s CEOs can’t rely on their CMOs to tell them what’s on the minds of consumers. The modern chief executive must be fully plugged in to consumer wants and needs, which change more quickly than ever as technology evolves. Fast Company Editor-in-Chief Brendan Vaughan chatted with Verizon Consumer CEO Sowmyanarayan Sampath at the Fast Company Grill at this year's South by Southwest to discuss how the leader of Verizon’s consumer business stays on top—and how you can do the same.

    Fast Company at SXSW and Netflix's 3 Body Problem

    Fast Company at SXSW and Netflix's 3 Body Problem
    This past weekend, Fast Company hosted a three-day event as part of SXSW in Austin. Yaz moderated a bunch of panels, Josh was producing podcasts, and best-friend-of-the-pod Max Ufberg also moderated a number of panels. We met up with Max in person to record the show for the first time! Here's our recap of the weekend at the Fast Company Grill. Then, Netflix’s new series “3 Body Problem” is based on the first volume of the Chinese science fiction trilogy “Remembrance of Earth’s Past.” The series depicts a fictional past, present, and future when an alien civilization comes to Earth. Yaz chatted with “Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, “True Blood” executive producer Alexander Woo, and director Derek Tsang about the process of adapting a popular book series and turning it into a successful television show . . . and whether or not fan reactions factor into it.

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    Topics:educationtechnologybusiness