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Table of Contents | July/August 2007


Al Gore's $100 Million Makeover
Not long ago, he was the butt of jokes--lockbox, earth tones, a postelection beard. Then he dusted off an old slide show and jumped with both feet into the private sector. The untold story of how an epic loser engineered what may be the greatest brand makeover of our time. By Ellen McGirt
Al Gore Inc.
"I have really enjoyed the business world much more than I expected," says the former Vice President. Among his business and financial interests: By Fast Company Staff
An Inconvenient Portfolio
Al Gore's financial-services startup, Generation Investment Management, buys shares in companies that fit its founders' definition of sustainability. The firm doesn't disclose holdings, but public filings reveal some familiar names--Whole Foods, Staples, and General Electric. Here's a sampling of seven other lesser-known stocks in the portfolio as of March 31. By Fast Company Staff
Video: The Future of Online Advertising--Current TV VCAM (viewer-generated commercial)
Current TV is tapping into the future of online advertising, working with advertisers to create viewer-generated commercials like this SONY HDV ad created by a 16-year-old. To date, some 32 VCAMs have hit the air. T-Mobile has selected three VCAMs already, and Pop Secret, Sony, and L'Oreal are also using VCAMs. By Fast Company Staff
Knight Job: The Nike Boss's Unlikely Father-Son Venture
Living a quiet life as an animator, Travis Knight never dreamed he'd work for his father. Then the Nike founder gave him an offer he couldn't refuse. By Chuck Salter
Fast Cities 2007
The 30 Fastest Cities In The World. Plus: 5 Cities Too Fast For Their Own Good and 5 Cities That Are Too Slow.
Fast Cities 2007
We scoured the globe in search of places that best embody economic innovation and opportunity. We found creative-class meccas, R&D hot spots, even cities so fast they're scary. Is your hometown on the list? By Andrew Park
Too-Fast Cities
Five spots where the risks outweigh the upside. By Fast Company Staff
Slow Cities
Urban centers that are going nowhere…slowly. By Fast Company Staff
Cities On The Verge
These great urban centers almost made our list of the most innovative cities. By Fast Company Staff
SlideShow: The World's 30 Fastest Cities To Work, Live, And Play
By Fast Company Staff
Interactive Map: The Top 30 Cities for Business
By Fast Company Staff
Interactive Map: Readers' Favorite Fast Cities
By Fast Company Staff
Submit a Fast City
Enter your favorite city and view it on the map.
Pininfarina: More than Just Design
Pininfarina's legendary craftsmanship helped put ailing Maserati on the road to recovery. But for the $1 billion Italian studio, design is only the most visible arm of a far bigger machine. By Bill Breen
Past + Future = Present
Maserati has an iconic name, but over the past quarter-century it had lost a unified design sensibility. Pininfarina's task was to revive the brand's DNA by charting its next evolutionary stage. By Fast Company Staff
Slideshow: Pininfarina: Taking Design Vertical
By Fast Company Staff
An Oral History of The Design Behind Maserati's 2008 GranTurismo
Here is the story of the birth of the GranTurismo's look and feel, in the words of Maserati managing director Roberto Ronchi, Pininfarina CEO Andrea Pininfarina, and others who were there. By Bill Breen
Everything You Never Wanted to Know about Bottled Water
Americans spent more money last year on bottled water than on ipods or movie tickets: $15 Billion. A journey into the economics--and psychology--of an unlikely business boom. And what it says about our culture of indulgence. By Charles Fishman
Waterworks: An Interactive Timeline
An anecdotal journey through the ancient origins and fantastical growth of the bottled water phenomenon. By Alex Pasquariello
The Bottled Water Quiz: Do You Really Know Your Bottled Water?
Do you really know your bottled water? Test your knowledge… By Fast Company Staff
SlideShow: Has Pepsi Got Your Number?
By Fast Company Staff
Podcast: Stop and Think Before You Drink
Get Fast Company Senior Writer Charles Fishman's take on why bottled water is such a booming business, what its local and global environmental implications are, and how a whole industry has grown up around supplying us with something that we do not need.

Fast Talk: The New Music Moguls

Coffee Maker Brews Fans
By Cora Daniels
Gamer Controls Music 2.0
By Cora Daniels
Band Plays a Brand-New Game
By Cora Daniels
Hip Car Hits the Clubs
By Cora Daniels
Card Maker Tunes the Holidays
By Cora Daniels
Adman Jangles for a Hit Jingle
By Cora Daniels


Can CEOs Cure Cancer?
Big Pharma execs may not know more about the disease than the rest of us, but a group of them are using their power to fight it. By Tinker Ready
"Going on the Gold Standard"
What it takes for your company to join the cancer fight. By Fast Company Staff
How Does Costco Keep Costs Down?
The big box is fueling its revenues with its gas business and freaking the competition. By Amy Feldman
Join the Pump-House Gang
If you don't have a Costco near you, there are two popular--and populist--sites to help you find cheap gas. Here's our tale of the tank. By Michael A. Prospero
Building the Cable Company of the Future
Brian Roberts's small bets may not only save the cable business but set him up to be an Internet mogul too. By Miriam Hill
Big Media Try Something Different
In a me-too business, the video titans' Web strategies reveal some fresh experimentation. By Michael A. Prospero
Email Is Dead …
But communication isn't. Reuters, Capital One, and Union Bank reclaim productivity by rethinking the inbox. By Doug Beizer
Staples Uses Robots to Simplify Operations
Staples discovers that a team of super-retrievers--in day-glo orange--can keep a warehouse humming. By Evan West
Video: Staples Enlists Robots to Boost Efficiency
Staples has drastically increased its output in the last year with the help of product retrieving robots from a company called Kiva Systems. Get an inside peek at how this band of orange mechanical marvels ride effortlessly around to make the office supply giant's functioning a whole lot easier.
Slideshow: Elizabeth Arden Spas Product Packaging
The spa for ladies who lunch goes for younger, more contemporary women with a new line of hair-care products. The brand-identity designers at Alexander Isley Inc. created the packaging to speak to that audience. By Alissa Walker
Drink Better Coffee, Save The World
Clean up your coffee. By Jennifer Boulden
How -- and Why -- to Support Local Farms
Cultivate a farmer. By Jennifer Boulden
How to Cut Your Air Travel Costs
New Web 2.0 services reveal airline secrets so you'll never overpay for a flight again. By Alison Overholt
Radio Active
Next-generation technology and smart design are reinvigorating the airwaves. By Michael A. Prospero


Made to Stick: Learning to Flex Your Leadership Muscle
How is your attitude about your abilities affecting your success? By Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Scoble on Tech: The New Web War
Inside Adobe, Microsoft, and Sun's fight to power the next wave of rich Internet applications. By Robert Scoble
Scoble on Tech on
Robert Scoble is a technology enthusiast and video podcast evangelist. Here you will find his magazine columns and web exclusive videos, as well as excerpts from his blog citing the best of the tech web.
Video: Scoble on Tech: A Richer Internet
Robert Scoble talks to Ed Sussman, president of Mansueto Digital, about the fight to enrich the Internet. Will Microsoft's Silverlight challenge leader Adobe's Apollo program? And can Google Gears or Sun's Java compete?
Open Debate: The Mommy Track Debate
Leslie Bennetts, Author, The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much?; contributing editor at Vanity Fair, and Vivian Steir Rabin, Vice president of search firm Salovey & Associates; coauthor, Back on the Career Track, hash out the great mommy track debate. By Leslie Bennetts and Vivian Steir Rabin
Slideshow: Female Friendly Companies
Just how female friendly is your company? If you're looking for an organization that pays women well, has female board members, has a high percentage of women senior managers, or just offers a comprehensive child care program, check out our slideshow of ten companies that the National Association of Female Executives and Working Mother Media have identified as winners in these fields for 2007 and 2006, respectively.
Final Word: Great Moments in Self-Promotion
If you think being ad savvy is a modern phenomenon, think again. By Rob Walker

More Great Stuff

Letter from the Editor
Cultural Conflicts By Robert Safian
By Fast Company Staff
Letters. Updates. Advice.


The Wal-Mart Effect
As Wal-Mart and its controversial labor and management practices emerge as issues in the presidential campaign, check out this classic Fast Company story, by Charles Fishman, about the high cost of low prices.