Issue 130

November 2008



  • Attack of the Green Tech Geeks

    Jetsons-style applications, from companies like RecycleBank and Agilewaves, that measure just what we're consuming have become the hottest trend in sustainable business. Such systems give people information that rivals what Wal-Mart has of its supply chain. But can the energy savings trump the privacy hit?

  • Lojack for Laptops

    Companies lose billions of dollars a year in hardware and data. Here's how the good guys try to get the stuff back.

  • MTV Plants Its Flag in the Digital World

    The network famously missed its chance to buy MySpace. Lesson learned. Now its president, Van Toffler, is investing in dozens of digital media projects. Its 2006 acquisition of Harmonix Music Systems, the maker of the video game Rock Band, could soon develop into a billion-dollar business. And more digital developments seem to surface almost daily, including the launch earlier in the week of, MTV's first serious attempt at a full-fledged music-video site; and today's announcement of a deal that will bring the Beatles' music to the Rock Band format.

  • Director of Homeland Happiness

    At Rudy Karsan's company, people grin at one another all day long. He's the founder and CEO of Kenexa, the leading human-resources-services company in America. Sixty percent of the Fortune 100, including Caterpillar, General Motors, Time Warner's, and Wachovia, hire Kenexa to help get inside the minds of their employees and build worker loyalty. Karsan's firm has pioneered new ways to blend psychology and technology. But his real secret is much more simple: A conviction that employees just want to have fun.

  • Can Design Solve Social Problems?

    Can design save the world? Hilary Cottam thinks so. Her design team, Participle, includes anthropologists, economists, entrepreneurs, psychologists, social scientists, and a military-logistics expert. But it is driven by design techniques and headed by Cottam, who has used such strategies to tackle societal issues — starting with addressing the shortcomings of Britain's school and health systems.

  • Peter Gabriel’s YouTube for Human Rights: The Hub

    Peter Gabriel's human-rights group Witness embraces social media, creating a YouTube for unseen atrocities. With camera-equipped cell phones, ordinary people suddenly have the means to document their lives and share evidence of rights violations. The Hub allows anyone around the world to submit such clips to a central site where its target audience of activists can connect and take action.

Fast Talk

  • Business Travel Gets an Upgrade at the Airport

    Travel has never been worse — US Airways now charges two bucks for a can of soda?! Meet the highfliers working to make the terminal experience bliss: from the woman that lead the team behind JetBlue's new terminal in New York's JFK Airport, to the VP the brought Best Buy's Express kiosks selling earphones, videogames and other gadgets to airports nationwide.


  • Updates

    Updates on people featured in past issues of Fast Company.


  • Movie Ratings: Running the Numbers

    On November 1, 1968, bowing to howls that movies were corrupting youth, the film industry unveiled a voluntary rating system, which told youth what to see to be corrupted. The ratings have evolved (X is now NC-17, though we still say "X" since "triple-NC-17" sounds lame), but kids' desire to sneak into R movies hasn't changed. Here's a look at the system and its stats.


From the Editor

  • Editor's Letter: Comedy & Tragedy

    Two years ago, while an editor at another business magazine, I worked with a writer on a major feature about the then-thriving Lehman Brothers. He was enamored of CEO Dick Fuld and his purported mastery of bond-market risk. "Fuld's magic," the writer asserted, "has in part been to ignore doomsday predictions."