Al Gore’s $100 Million Makeover, p. 70
We all know the Al Gore who is being hailed as a visionary who was right about everything from global warming to Iraq. What no one is talking about is how his remarkable success as a businessman since 2001, has fueled his comeback. Gore has become a millionaire many times over, bringing him, in financial terms, shoulder to shoulder with the C-suite denizens he used to hit up for campaign cash. Fast Company reveals the untold story of how he become an insider to two of the hottest companies on the planet: at Google, where he signed on as an adviser in 2001, pre-IPO (and received stock options now reportedly worth north of $30 million), and at Apple, where he joined the board in 2003 (and got stock options now valued at about $6 million). He enjoyed a big payday as vice chairman of an investment firm in L.A., started a cable TV company, and an asset-management firm, both of which are designed to transform their industries. Senior Writer Ellen McGirt is available to discuss how an epic loser engineered what may be the greatest business brand makeover of our time and how he has become a more effective agent of change as a private citizen than he was as a public official.
Bottled Water: $15 Billion Down the Drain, p. 110
Thirty years ago, bottled water barely existed as a business in the United States. Today, it has become an indispensable prop in our lives and culture. Last year Americans spent more money on bottled water than on iPods or movie tickets – $15 billion and our consumption has increased 1,000 fold. This sales power has been fueled by the artful story water companies tell us about the water itself: where it comes from, how much healthier it is for us, and what it says about us. But is the marketing image of total purity accurate? Is it really healthier and safer than tap water? Does bottled water really provide clean, safe water to those who really need it? Senior Writer Charles Fishman, well known for his investigative pieces and author of last year’s New York Times bestseller “The Wal-Mart Effect,” is available to discuss the facts and myths about bottled water, as well as the economics and psychology behind this $50 billion worldwide industry.
Fast Cities, p. 92
What city planted 2.5 million sq ft of heat-reducing rooftop gardens since 1999? What city ranks dead last on CityVitals’ “Weirdness Index” measure of passion and engagement? Fast Company magazine scoured the globe in search of places that best embody economic innovation and opportunity. We call them Fast Cities – cauldrons of creativity where the most important ideas and the organizations of tomorrow are centered. They attract the best and the brightest and are great places to work and live. Fast Company sifted through the data to identify 30 Fast Cities around the world and has presented them in nine, categories from Creative-Class Meccas to Green Leaders. The magazine also discovered 20 locales on the verge of Fast City status, plus 5 Slow Cities and 5 too fast for their own good. Executive Editor Keith Hammonds is available to discuss those cities that made the list and the indicators that identify them as environments of creativity, fresh thinking and action.
Cheap Gas Causing A Stir: The Tiger in Costco’s Tank, p. 38
When gas prices are high, as they are now, you can count on two things: Drivers will feverishly, even irrationally, seek out the lowest price – and one of Costco’s 268 gas stations will have it. Costco’s gas business now accounts for well over $3 billion in revenues, about 5% of the warehouse chain’s total revenues. And those fuel revenues are growing faster than the company as a whole. Yet, while Costco is fueling its revenues, traditional service stations are feeling the squeeze. The July/August issue of Fast Company reports on how some of the service stations crying in their tanks are now fighting the new competition with litigation. How does Costco offer such cheap gas? How are traditional service stations reacting? Senior Editor David Lidsky is available to discuss how this debate might impact prices at the pump, how Costco keeps its cost-per-gallon edge, the impact Costco could have on independent station owners, and other big box firms who are following its lead.
Can CEOs Cure Cancer, p. 35
While big Pharma execs may not know more about cancer than the rest of us, a group of them are using their power to fight it. The CEO Roundtable on Cancer, an association of bigfoot leaders mostly from pharma companies, have joined forces to create a “Gold Standard” of corporate anti-cancer policies. Among other things, it requires companies that sign on to cover the full cost of cancer-related treatments that traditional insurance plans often balk at, from cancer screening to nutritional counseling to experimental treatments. It’s estimated that companies that follow the plan will save $2.35 to $3.75 per employee per month. So far, 13 companies have gone for the gold, including J&J, SAS Institute, and Novartis. Senior Editor David Lidsky is available to discuss the philosophy behind the group’s mission, its best practices, and the impact its initiatives have had on employees and the bottom-line.
The New Web War, p. 65
A new, more interactive, graphical, and visceral Web is bubbling up all over. The only question is, who will build it? Adobe, Microsoft, and Sun Systems have all announced new platforms this spring and are the leaders to watch in this next-generation Web War. Senior Editor David Lidsky is available to discuss the next wave of rich Internet applications and to guide buyers through some of these Web leaders’ new features and offerings.
New Web 2.0 Tools Designed to Beat Airline Fares, p. 58
Just in time for summer travel. A Fast Company editor is available to discuss new Web 2.0 services that reveal airline secrets designed to help you beat any fare.
Tips to Reclaim Your Inbox, pg. 46
A Fast Company editor is available to discuss three ways companies such as Capital One, Union Bank, and Reuters are helping their employees rethink their inbox.