Cover Story: Ashton Kutcher Is Taking Over the Media World. Really. By Ellen McGirt, page 74 The 31-year-old star of That 70s Show and Punk'd is pioneering a new kind of media business, leveraging Twitter and Facebook for clients including Nestlé, Pepsi, and Kellogg. Senior writer Ellen McGirt reveals Kutcher's bid to break down the walls between Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and Madison Avenue.
Whole Foods' Miracle Worker, by Danielle Sacks, page 82 CEO John Mackey says that capitalism-or, more precisely, what he calls Conscious Capitalism-can cure the world's ills. Yet his interpretation of what constitutes a higher purpose for business can be perplexing.
The Rise and Fall of Design Within Reach: A Modern Mess, by Jeff Chu, page 90 Furniture retailer Design Within Reach helped create a new appreciation for the modern aesthetic. But as Jeff Chu reports, the company is in dire straits, despite the fact that design is more mainstream than ever. Can a new ownership team-which fired the CEO in the wake of Chu's probing-right the ship?
MIT's Justice League, by Ryan Blitstein, page 98 A global network of economists called J-PAL is using randomized trials and experimental methods to determine which development policies work and which ones don't. The data, says Fast Company contributor Ryan Blitstein, could change the world.
Jeffrey Katzenberg Has Layers: The Redemption of an Ogre, by Mark Borden, page 104 "As a young prince, Jeffrey Katzenberg made billions for the Magic Kingdom, but his ambition got him banished," writes Mark Borden. Yet as the CEO of DreamWorks Animation, Katzenberg has defied expectations, outearning rival Pixar at the box office, launching products for the likes of Intel and HP-and redefining his personal mission "to live happily ever after."
Special Report: Bloody Shame, by Joshua Hammer, page 110 Zimbabwe's newfound diamond fields could have helped lift the beleaguered country from its misery. Instead, they have fueled a vicious cycle of government-sanctioned corruption, murder, rape, and thievery. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, charged with getting "blood diamonds" off the market, has done nothing to help. "As the terrifying events in Zimbabwe over the past year attest, greed, criminality and violence remain pervasive," Hammer writes.
For more of the December 2009/January 2010 issue of Fast Company, please visit www.fastcompany.com beginning November 24.
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