Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

10.25.16 | 8:32 am

MasterCard gets into chatbots and wearables

MasterCard is expanding into messaging and wearables today. At the Money2020 conference, the company announced it will be launching customizable bots for merchants and banks that will allow consumers to manage their money and shop inside Facebook Messenger. 

The company is also more firmly committing itself to baking payments into wearables and smart devices through a partnership with FitPay. Last year, MasterCard announced a program to put payment credentials into a swath of wearable devices. The partnership with FitPay will help enable MasterCard to bring these payment-enabled devices to market. 

03.22.17 | 5:10 pm

Can crowdfunding save DIY music spaces post-Ghost Ship?

Brooklyn's Shea Stadium needs some cash. The eight-year-old underground music venue took to Kickstarter today to raise money for the renovations and local permits it needs to reopen as a legally legit venue. Shea Stadium's founders blew past their $50,000 goal in a matter of hours. 

The venue, a staple of New York's fading DIY music scene, is known for being an artist-friendly, all-ages space. But like many underground venues, it hasn't always operated strictly within the often onerous (and expensive) confines of the law. Perhaps not coincidentally, authorities have been cracking down on DIY venues across the U.S. since the deadly Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland last year. 

03.22.17 | 3:16 pm

Here’s who goes to the movies—broken down by age and race

For data and movie geeks, the MPAA's latest "Theatrical Market Statistics" report is a wealth of information about the health of the movie business. The big picture: 246 million people went to the movies in the United States and Canada last year, a 2% increase from the year before. But dig into the trends and things start to get a little more interesting. For instance, looking at per capita attendance broken down by age group shows 18- to 24-year-olds are hitting the big screen at lower rates than they were in 2012, although they saw an uptick last year. 

Breakdowns by ethnicity, meanwhile, show Asian-Americans are going to the movies at higher rates—and last year had the highest per-capita attendance of any ethnic group at 6.1. Overall, the MPAA says per capita theater attendance decreased for the population as a whole. Read the full report here

Images: MPAA

03.22.17 | 2:50 pm

Thinx founder Miki Agrawal is no longer speaking at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week

Agrawal was slated to speak at a session tomorrow afternoon, specifically as part of a women's summit at the weeklong event. Calling the schedule change a "mutual decision," NOEW sent the following statement to Fast Company explaining why the Thinx founder and former CEO would no longer be participating

This was a mutual decision by both THINX and The Idea Village, the organization producing New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

The programming for the Women's Summit has been updated with this change. The three-hour session is designed to provide an opportunity for female professionals to reflect on and discuss how to overcome the challenges women uniquely face in the workplace.

We look forward to providing all our attendees from the Greater New Orleans area and beyond with a dynamic, inclusive environment in which they can develop their professional skills, discuss new ideas, gain new contacts, and learn more about emerging trends in entrepreneurship and business.

In other words, it might have been a little awkward for Agrawal to host a fireside chat about women's place in the workplace following a week of negative press about how Thinx—and Agrawal—allegedly treated their employees. Thinx confirmed the decision was mutual in a separate statement, attributing it to the fact that Agrawal is no longer CEO. 

03.22.17 | 2:32 pm

More women in tech may be looking at developer careers

A lot of bad and sexist stuff is happening in the tech sector these days, but one glimmer of hope comes from Stack Overflow's annual developer survey. The report queried 64,000 professionals about the state of the developer industry and found that 10% of the respondents identified as women. While that's still disturbingly low, it is a marked uptick from the last year's responses, which was at 6.6%. What's more, writes Stack Overflow, "nearly twice the number of women said they had been coding for less than a year." This indicates that the pool of female developers worldwide is perhaps growing, which is heartening.

Don't get me wrong: The tech industry still needs to systematically change the way it treats women and minorities. But at the very least, these findings show that better representation may be on the horizon. You can see the entire survey here

Photo: Flickr user WOCinTech Chat

03.22.17 | 2:05 pm

Amsterdam airport rolls out APIs to make it dope

You don't usually think of software as something that can make an airport better, but maybe it's time to change the way we think.

That's because Amsterdam's Schipol airport has unveiled a new developers portal that offers a range of APIs "that enables innovators to explore and use all kinds of airport data for new applications…that can improve the customer experience of the passengers that fly to, from, and via" the airport. It's not clear yet how developers might use those APIs, but anything that can make the flying experience better gets a big thumbs-up from this corner. Stay tuned. 

Photo: Hide-sp via Wikimedia Commons

03.22.17 | 1:25 pm

Airbnb says it already has more than 800 “Experiences” available

Last November Airbnb launched Experiences, a new way to book things like walking tours and cooking classes in places where you're traveling, or even in your hometown. Originally available only on mobile, the service started rolling out to Airbnb's web users today. The home-sharing company also shared a few details about how the feature is going so far.

Airbnb currently has more than 800 different Experiences available in the platform, which have been booked by users in more than 73 countries. Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Paris are the top-booked destinations on the platform, and London, L.A., and San Francisco have the most Experience hosts available. Airbnb says the service is a hit with around 91% of people who have booked an Experience giving it a five-star rating.

03.22.17 | 12:02 pm

Boom! Supersonic plane startup raises $33 million in funding

There was once a day when supersonic travel was one of the most romantic notions in aviation. The iconic Concorde was beautiful and entirely distinctive (and tickets were insanely expensive). Then, it was no more, and the concept vanished in thin air. But if you always wanted to fly faster than the speed of sound, Boom Supersonic, a startup based in Denver, is planning to make your wishes come true with 45-seat planes that can make the run from New York to London in three and a quarter hours (rather than today's seven) for business class prices.

Today, Boom said it has raised $33 million in VC funding, bringing its total to $41 million, and that Y Combinator president Sam Altman has joined its board. It will use the money to finish building XB-1, a one-third-size demonstrator of its full-scale plane. Boom has already signed up Virgin Atlantic as a probable launch customer, as well as the blessing of a leading aviation industry analyst who suggests that if Boom's cutting-edge technology can deliver on its expected price and ticket costs, airlines are likely to want at least 1,300 of the $200 million planes. Boom is hoping to start test-flying the XB-1 by year's end and flying passengers aboard the full-scale plane in the early 2020s. You can read all about Boom's ambitious plans here.

03.22.17 | 11:31 am

Turn off your laptop and write this down with a pen

If you care about things like comprehension and information recall, taking notes in longhand is superior than typing them out on a computer. That's one of the takeaways from a helpful Fast Company feature story today by Belle Beth Cooper, which looks at the right and wrong way to take notes. According to the story, there is ample evidence to support the pro-pen camp, including a recent study in which students who wrote notes in the physical world outperformed those who used a laptop when it came time to take a quiz. In other words, the pen is mightier than the—oh, come on, you already knew that. 

Photo: Thom via Unsplash

03.22.17 | 11:15 am

LinkedIn’s new trending feature will keep you up to speed on the day’s news

LinkedIn unveiled "Trending Storylines" today, which is similar to Twitter Moments. The feature displays headlines of the day's top news. Tap into them, and you'll get a link to a story that goes into more detail, as well as commentary from other LinkedIn users and links to articles with opposing views. The feature builds off of a new focus on content for LinkedIn. Content posted on the network drives a tremendous amount of traffic to LinkedIn, and sponsored content is a huge part of the company's current advertising strategy. Read my Fast Company story on the new feature here.

03.22.17 | 10:52 am

Introducing the new Google Maps feature that all cheaters will want to keep turned off

Starting today, Google Maps will give people the ability to share their movements and real-time location data with friends and family. The popular mobile app already monitors the whereabouts of its users, but this new feature will make it easy to broadcast that information with just a few taps. As Google pitches it in a press release today, the feature is a way to cut down on those annoying "What's your ETA?" texts you exchange with friends when making plans. This is an opt-in service, meaning it won't share your location with boss or significant other without your permission. Google says you have to actively choose who to share it with, and a reminder icon will let you know you're live. But let's face it—some people don't want to be found, and that's getting harder and harder to pull off these days.

03.22.17 | 10:49 am

Direct-to-consumer denim brands like Mott & Bow are growing like gangbusters

Mott & Bow, which launched in 2014, is part of a new generation of denim brands that are bringing high-quality materials and manufacturing at affordable prices due to a direct-to-consumer model and an integrated supply chain. Founder Alejandro Chahin grew up in Honduras to a family that owned a denim factory and the brand Pepe Revolution & Co. Chahin began learning the ins and outs of the business from the age of 14 and decided that there was a way to bring high-quality denim to consumers at cheaper prices by cutting out the retail markups. 

Today, the brand announced that it is now producing a line of denim shirts made of Italian cotton. The brand went through 14 prototypes before landing on this model. Like many of its competitors, including DSTLD and Articles of Society, Mott & Bow's lean business model is working, allowing the brand to expand. The company has been growing at a rate of about five times a year. These direct-to-consumer brands tend to do well among urban millennials.

03.22.17 | 10:12 am

Instagram keeps fleshing out new opportunities for merchants

Over the last two years, Instagram has bulked up its ad offerings with the introduction of shoppable and interactive posts. Now it's delving into more business services through appointment booking. In the coming months the photo-sharing platform will give users the opportunity to book everything from blowouts to table reservations, according to Bloomberg.  

Roughly 80% of users follow a business, reports Bloomberg. But conducting business has remained confined to direct messaging. This move reinforces Instagram's firm focus on fleshing out opportunities for merchants, which may ultimately drive engagement (read: money) for the platform.