Fast Company

Now: September 2010

September

Week 1

Wed, September 01
Define
Photoshop World 2010

Much like Google and Xerox, photoshop has become a synonym for the product's function -- just don't use the word that way at this Adobe gathering. "Photoshop refers to the product; we don't use it as a verb!" says Kevin Connor, VP of product management. Adobe execs fear the trademarked name will become generic lingo (hello, ping-pong). "Some companies aggressively resist generification," says Graeme Diamond, new-words editor at the Oxford English Dictionary, which includes the verb photoshop. "We don't much care since we reflect language as it's actually used." -- AUSTIN CARR

Thu, September 02
Read
Selling the Fountain of Youth

Wrinkles, fat, and low libido start to sound pretty good after reading this unnerving exposé of America's $88 billion anti-aging industry by journalist Arlene Weintraub. Her elixir of deep research and smooth storytelling delivers a sometimes-gag-inducing dose of reality about the seedy pseudoscience of growth hormones harvested from cadavers, injection spas in Mexico, and bogus anti-aging cocktails (urine, anyone?), as well as the physician entrepreneurs and whack Internet pharmacies now burgeoning to make a buck. Our advice: Take her medicine, not theirs. -- LILLIAN CUNNINGHAM

Week2

Wed, September 08
Stay Home
Not-Back-to-School Days

"School is no place for kids," says Helen Hegener, publisher of Home Education Magazine and proud mother of five home schooled children. "Strap young growing minds in a seat for eight hours a day? I don't think so." Roll your eyes, maybe, but homeschooling is on the rise: Since 2000, the number of homeschooled students in the U.S. has doubled to 1.82 million, or 3% of all children, some of whom will travel to Disneyland for this fourth annual home-education conference. The best way to combat skeptics? Outsmart them, says Hegener. "When my daughter was 14, school kids tested her on the multiplication tables. They hit 12 x 12 and had to stop, because their little song ended. But my daughter was able to keep going." -- STEPHANIE SCHOMER

Fri, September 10
Splurge
Fashion's Night Out

Created to encourage spending in a sinking economy, last year's inaugural Fashion's Night Out delivered a star-studded night to shoppers -- the Olsen twins even served drinks at Barneys New York. Its success -- a 3.4% increase in that day's retail traffic nationwide and nearly 50% in Manhattan -- made its return a no-brainer. But, of course, each year has to be more fierce and fabulous than the last. To that end, 16 countries have signed on to host a 2010 Fashion's Night Out, creating a 10-day worldwide event. "If you're a globe-trotter, you could potentially hit every country," says Susan Portnoy, the event's spokesperson. "It's possible." And you thought the fashion industry was excessive. -- STEPHANIE SCHOMER

Fri, September 10
Grease
50th Anniversary of OPEC

On September 20, BP hits the five-month mark since its Deepwater Horizon spill began ravaging the Gulf of Mexico. But five months of oily controversy is nothing on five decades. Today, oil behemoth OPEC blows out the candles on 50 years of rows, rumors, and rants over its dominance of the global petroleum market. The cartel, started by five countries at the 1960 Baghdad Conference and now 12 members strong, controls roughly 40% of world oil exports -- and will celebrate its birthday by greasing a new generation of consumers. Among its anniversary efforts is the publication of an illustrated children's book on the history of oil: We're guessing BP -- drenched dolphins didn't make the cut. -- LILLIAN CUNNINGHAM

Sun, September 12
Croon
KaraokeFest

Although more than 100,000 amateur singers will gather in Pomona, California, to celebrate karaoke with classics such as MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This" and Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe," the industry itself is singing the blues. Annual U.S. sales of karaoke music and machines have fallen a whopping 80% off their early-aughts peak to just $40 million. The culprit: piracy. "It's gotten a lot worse because of the rise of the Internet," laments Rick Priddis, president of Utah-based karaoke company Priddis Music. "But we're all just continuing on and hoping for the best." As a drunken Journey fan might advise in a bar: "Don't stop belieeeeevin'." -- DAN MACSAI

Sun, September 12
Protest
Taxpayer March on Washington

"Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and paying taxes," Ben Franklin once said. The Tea Party would dissent -- why are taxes a must? Last year, tens of thousands of members, along with folks from FreedomWorks and the Institute for Liberty, heeded conservative pundit Glenn Beck's call to action and took to the streets of Washington, D.C., in what organizers called the largest gathering of American fiscal conservatives to date. This year's crowd is expected to be just as big -- and its message no more cohesive, ranging from anti-tax cheers to signs picketing health-care reform and the Obama administration. Pressed for insight, attendee Jennifer Bernstone explains, "We went to D.C. because it was the right thing to do." Um, thanks. -- SUZY EVANS

Sun, September 12
Power Up
World Energy Congress

Week 3

Mon, September 13
Fly
International Manufacturing Technology Show

Fly fast, look good, and make money -- is there anything more to ask for? How about getting oohed and ahhed over by your industry peers? Aerospace giant Lockheed Martin recently secured a $5 billion contract with the Pentagon; Uncle Sam plans to buy as many as 2,443 of its F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike fighter planes, which Lockheed boasts have "unmatched lethality and survivability." A full-scale model of the $65-million-plus jet will be front and center at this biennial Chicago show. "That aircraft is the aircraft of the future," says John Krisko, IMTS director of exhibitions, and it's a top-notch example of "the end result of what our machines make." Pretty fly. -- RACHEL ARNDT

Wed, September 15
Visit
Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen

Think of Grete Schütte-Lihotzky as the mother of today's hypermodern prefab kitchen styles. In the mid-1920s, Germany was struggling to meet affordable housing needs, and kitchens in general were dank, crowded hubs of family activity. The Austrian architect used a stopwatch to time everyday culinary activities and created an über efficient (and lower-cost) layout complete with integrated storage. Ten thousand models of the Frankfurt Kitchen were installed between 1926 and 1930. This avant-garde reimagining of the kitchen as lab anchors this exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. "The kitchen allows you to look at modernist design from the inside out," says curator Juliet Kinchin. We'll toast to that. -- EMILY ZILBER

Thu, September 16
Engage
01SJ Biennial

Back to calendar

Sat, September 18
Toast
200th Anniversary of Oktoberfest

Bavaria's Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese threw themselves a royal wedding party in the meadows of Munich two centuries ago, and the boozy nuptials gave birth to the yearly drinking celebration we have today. The noble couple may not have much affected political history books (Ludwig who?), but they've made a lasting impact on the German economy: A typical Oktoberfest in Munich brings in 6 million visitors and 955 million euros, spread across 104 acres of beer tents and party grounds. -- LILLIAN CUNNINGHAM

Week 4

Mon, September 20
Skim
National Health Care Reform Conference

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is 2,074 pages. That's more than 20 pounds of paper. President Obama used 22 pens to sign the thing, and we're betting fewer than 22 people have read it in full. Thank God for this Los Angeles conference, then, where 800 doctors, insurance agents, and HR reps can learn how to apply the changes to their companies. "It's like speed dating for health professionals," explains meeting manager Maureen Ross. Except, you know, unbelievably less sexy. -- CASSIE KREITNER

Mon, September 20
Reach
United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit

A decade ago, world leaders created a list of eight extraordinary to-dos by 2015, among them, "eradicate extreme poverty" and "achieve universal primary education." Feasibility remains an open question. Standout gains in one country are often overshadowed by losses overall: Nicaragua has reduced its hunger rate by more than half, yet the number of hungry people globally rose more than 20% in the past 20 years. With this New York summit, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon pushes forward, warning in June, "If we fail, the dangers of the world ... will all be multiplied." -- JENNIFER VILAGA

Back to calendar

Wed, September 22
Glide
Monaco Yacht Show

Eco-friendly super-yacht? Surely you jest: "99.9% of superyachts are not environmentally friendly," concedes Alev Karagulle of Burgess Yachts. "They're gas-guzzling machines." But this year, the Monaco Yacht Show, bless its oversized and elitist heart, will crown one eco-yacht pioneer "the greenest superyacht," based on criteria such as building materials and CO2 emissions. Too bad Alastair Callender's not eligible. At last year's show, he wowed attendees with his Soliloquy design concept, a zero-emissions 190-foot supergreen superyacht powered by renewable and hybrid energy. -- SUZY EVANS

Sun, September 26
Say Cheese
World Dairy Expo

The quickest way to sour the mood at this five-day fete-à-feta in Madison, Wisconsin? Mention a nondairy milk. In April, the National Milk Producers Federation sent a letter to the FDA, urging it to crack down on the misuse of dairy terminology for products not flowing directly from a teat (see: almond, soy, hemp, and coconut milk). Dairy execs argue that the U.S. dairy industry's $80.4 billion annual revenue is being milked away by imposters, especially soy milk, which shows 20% annual growth on $800 million in sales. Sounds udderly unfair. -- CASSIE KREITNER

Week 5

Wed, September 29
Erect
Urban Green Expo

The U.S. Green Building Council has LEED -- certified fewer than 6,000 commercial developments in the past decade and awarded its platinum rating twice. "Right now, you have to be one of the lucky few to live or work in a green building," says Russell Unger, director of USGBC's New York chapter and expo host. But those figures mask the green truth: Due to LEED's rigorous (read: slow) approval process, more than 27,000 projects await certification -- up from eight projects 10 years ago -- and it's predicted that by 2015, 50% of all nonresidential construction will be green. And perhaps still waiting for that green rating. -- AUSTIN CARR

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