Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

05.09.16 | 4:45 pm

Can Foursquare become profitable in two years?

The way Foursquare describes itself has changed dramatically over the years. Once a buzzworthy darling of social networking, the startup now identifies as a "location intelligence company." And for good reason: That's apparently where the money is. 

Foursquare cofounder Dennis Crowley and recently appointed CEO Jeff Glueck took the stage at Techcrunch NY earlier today to push their reframed message: Sure, its consumer apps took a nosedive after their controversial split into two–Swarm for location check-ins and Foursquare for local recommendations, but their usage is on the rebound and, more importantly, the company is plotting a whole new path toward profitability. 

"We want to be a big-data, really powerful way of looking at the real world economy," Glueck said in a recent interview with Fast Company. "We think there's a ton of problems that can be solved this way, and we're focused on that."

What sort of problems? Foursquare is starting with advertising and media, using its massive trove of location data to help advertisers target ads more intelligently (using a service called Pinpoint) and understand the effectiveness of offline advertising on real-world foot traffic (with a newer product called Attribution). 

From the sound of it, these new B2B businesses—along with Foursquare's API and third party developer integrations—are just the beginning.  The goal, Glueck tells us, is to become profitable over the next two years or so. And apparently this is how: Not by becoming the next Twitter as many once thought, but by partnering with others to turn mountains of data into cash. 

09.27.16 | an hour ago

Elon Musk not worried about there being enough water for toilets on Mars

Since we're all going to the Red Planet now, one questioner at Musk's presser today wanted to know whether he was worried about sanitation on Mars.

Musk noted that there's plenty of ice on Mars and that with enough solar panels, it would likely be possible to set up some sort of geothermal-based plumbing system. You'll have to just watch the video for yourself.

09.27.16 | 3 hours ago

Report: Oculus founder lied about extent of involvement with anti-Hillary meme group

If Palmer Luckey, Oculus, and Facebook had hoped the uproar over his involvement with an anti-Hillary Clinton "shitposting" meme machine would die down after he posted a mea culpa last Friday night, they're going to be very disappointed.

Earlier today, CNet Reviews senior editor Sean Hollister posted a lengthy takedown of that statement by Luckey–the 24-year-old Oculus founder and wunderkind. 

In it, Hollister argued that emails he'd received from Daily Beast reporter Gideon Resnick–who wrote the original article linking Luckey to the shitposting group–prove either that Luckey wrote inflammatory posts under the nickname NimbleRichMan or that he'd lied to Resnick about his connection to the anti-Hillary group, known as Nimble America. In his statement, Luckey had said he only gave the group $10,000 and hadn't been involved in any other way.

Hollister said neither Luckey, Oculus, nor Facebook had responded to requests for clarification. Neither Facebook nor Oculus immediately responded to a Fast Company request for comment.

There is surely more to come on this story, especially as Oculus hosts its third-annual developers' conference next week in San Jose. Though Luckey is, and has always been, the face of the company, one can't help but wonder if he'll even be in attendance.

09.27.16 | 4 hours ago

Report: FBI is looking into hacks against DNC cell phones, suspects Russia-backed hackers

Reuters cites unnamed sources saying the FBI is currently looking into reports that cell phones used by Democratic National Committee officials were targeted by hackers. 

The probe into the DNC cell phones, Reuters says, underscores a widening criminal investigation into hacks on Democratic Party-related organizations, including the Hillary Clinton campaign. U.S. government officials have said they suspect hackers backed by the Russian government of being the culprits in the attacks against the Clinton campaign. 

The Reuters sources say they believe Russian government-backed hackers are also involved in the more recent attacks on the DNC phones. The hackers, the sources say, may be trying to disrupt the U.S. presidential election, which culminates November 8. 

09.27.16 | 5:37 pm

Afternoon intel: Everything we know about SpaceX’s Mars mission plans, Bono invests in biotech

• "I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact." [Drumroll, please] That was Elon Musk back in 2013, describing his lifelong dream of traveling to and living on the red planet. Well today, he unveiled his long-awaited plans for such an ambitious mission, announcing SpaceX's "Interplanetary Transport System" with a slick animated video and plenty of details on how many people can be squeezed onto a rocket (100), how many people Musk wants on Mars (1 million), by how much we need to reduce the cost of a trip to Mars (5 million %) and what kind of timeline he expects for such a mission to actually take place (10 years)

• In non-celestial news, Bono and some partners invested in biotech startup Color Genomics

• Slack unveiled the first of many integrations with Salesforce, reports Fast Company's Mark Sullivan, allowing it to pull in Salesforce record data and sync with its Chatter messaging feature.

Google launched "Station," a new program that seeks to make fast Wi-Fi available to public places all over the planet.

09.27.16 | 3:57 pm

Don’t start packing your bags just yet: The SpaceX Mars mission’s timeline is pretty fuzzy

Elon Musk says he's shooting for a 10-year horizon for the launch of his much-ballyhooed "Interplanetary Transport System," announced today at an event in Mexico. But he admits it's a very complicated endeavor to predict a timeline. He's hoping to establish a steady cadence, much like trains leaving a station, of SpaceX rockets taking off every couple of years.  

SpaceX has already tried to have a steady stream of launches. Here is the timeline presented by Musk of SpaceX's activities over the last decade:

09.27.16 | 3:47 pm

Elon Musk: The only reason I’m accumulating assets is to colonize Mars one day

Elon Musk says it could cost as little as $140,000 for a person and their luggage to get to Mars, once the technology is established. 

How is this going to work? "It's going to be a huge private-public partnership," said Musk, at the long-awaited announcement of his "Interplanetary Transport System." He added: "The reason I'm personally accumulating assets is to fund this." 

09.27.16 | 3:43 pm

Lean In’s annual report found just one bright spot for women in the workplace

Women now ask for promotions and raises at the same rate as men, according to the study, a collaboration between Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's LeanIn.org and McKinsey that looked at data from 132 companies.

Of course, even if they ask for promotions, women are less likely to win them than their male counterparts. Meanwhile, asking for a promotion makes them 67% more likely than women who don't negotiate to be told that they are "intimidating," "too aggressive," or "bossy." All of which contributes to this problem:

09.27.16 | 3:39 pm

Musk: There will be restaurants on the Mars rocket

This won't be some boring old space rocket, with only Tang and freeze-dried peas for lunch, promised Elon Musk at today's announcement of SpaceX's "Interplanetary Transport System."

"You'll have a great time," Musk told the audience. "It can't be boring." He described something akin to an interplanetary cruise ship—complete with movies, lecture halls, restaurants, and more. 

09.27.16 | 3:34 pm

Musk: We need one million people on Mars

Why go to Mars? 

Elon Musk says that his super-ambitious effort is all about keeping the human species alive, in the event of a disaster that could lead to our extinction. 

To establish a civilization on Mars, he would like one million people to travel there. Given that people can only go every two years, with 100 people per trip, we will need to create at least a thousand ships making many trips. 

09.27.16 | 3:27 pm

SpaceX’s Mars rocket will fit at least 100 people

Fitting 100 people on a single SpaceX rocket will reduce the cost per person. But it also means the ship will be enormous. Carrying between 100 and 200 people, plus luggage, fuel tanks and an iron foundry (to start building on Mars) will require a massive 550-ton structure. It will be 122 meters tall, which is 11 meters taller than the Saturn V, the famous expendable rocket used by NASA between 1966 and 1973.

09.27.16 | 3:22 pm

Too late for Shaq, but VR may help NBA stars shoot better free throws

If you're a basketball fan, you know all too well the sickening feeling when your favorite hoops stars simply can't hit a free throw.

Clank. Clank. Clank. The ineptitude, a sad feature of numerous players, from DeAndre Jordan to Andrew Bogut to Andre Drummond, leads opposing teams to foul them because they know the likely outcome is missed shots at the charity stripe.

Well, Drummond, of the Detroit Pistons, wants to do better, and according to NBA.com, he's using virtual reality to improve.

"Drummond puts on a headset and watches himself making free throws," NBA.com wrote. "He can choose a first-person view, where he hears the basketball hitting the court as he dribbles, then sees the ball go over his head, up and into the hoop. Or he can choose third-person perspectives and watch his technique from various angles."

Detroit isn't the only team that's used VR. The Golden State Warriors turned to the technology in their bid to land free-agent superstar Kevin Durant last summer.

09.27.16 | 3:18 pm

Musk: We need to reduce the cost of a Mars trip by 5 million %

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk is currently speaking at the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico to offer his plan for Mars colonization. 

Right now, it costs about $10 billion per person to take a human to Mars right now. He would like to reduce that to the average price of home in the U.S., which is $200,000. This, he believes, would increase the number of people willing to take the trip drastically. 

Not everybody will want to go, but the few that do could establish a human colony there.