Articles on this Page
- 09/27/18--01:00: _Segway is back, and...
- 09/27/18--01:00: _TiVo’s new Bo...
- 09/27/18--02:00: _A food hall opens i...
- 09/27/18--02:00: _The problematic ori...
- 09/27/18--02:52: _The Google Doodle i...
- 09/27/18--03:00: _How to make an East...
- 09/27/18--03:00: _Poo-Pourri celebrat...
- 09/27/18--03:30: _This comic’s ...
- 09/27/18--04:00: _You can still be au...
- 09/27/18--04:00: _Business owners, be...
- 09/27/18--04:21: _TV streaming servic...
- 09/27/18--04:35: _For refugees, the b...
- 09/27/18--05:01: _YouTube yanks viral...
- 09/27/18--05:30: _As we discuss big s...
- 09/27/18--05:59: _Annoyed by people i...
- 09/27/18--06:05: _Senator Grassley...
- 09/27/18--10:59: _Brett KavanaughR...
- 09/27/18--22:55: _Hacker says he̵...
- 09/27/18--23:00: _This beauty brand w...
- 09/27/18--23:24: _SEC: Elon Musk want...
- 09/27/18--01:00: Segway is back, and it’s coming for your last shred of dignity
- 09/27/18--01:00: TiVo’s new Bolt OTA joins a booming market for antenna DVRs
- 09/27/18--02:00: A food hall opens inside the building that birthed the cellphone
- 09/27/18--02:00: The problematic origins of common business jargon
- 09/27/18--02:52: The Google Doodle is even older than Google itself
- The first Doodle series launched in 2000 with Google Aliens, five Doodles by illustrator Ian David Marsden, which followed aliens encountering the Google logo, then hauling it off to Mars. These days, the Doodles are usually tied to some sort of milestone, but this series was just for the laffs.
- The first animated Doodle came to Google on Halloween 2000, created by guest artist Lorie Loeb. It featured two jack-o’-lanterns in place of the “Os” in Google and included a little something to keep arachnophobes up at night—a spider dangling from the “L.”
- The first interactive game Doodle featured marked the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man in 2010 and included the original game logic, graphics, sounds, and even the original bugs.
- The Doodle to mark the 44th anniversary of the birth of hip-hop in 2017 let users mix samples from legendary breakbeats and a hip-hop history lesson narrated by Fab 5 Freddy
- The first VR/360 Doodle was nominated for an Emmy in 2018 in a Doodle that celebrated the work of French illusionist and filmmaker Georges Méliès.
- 09/27/18--03:00: How to make an East Coast private school look cool
- 09/27/18--04:00: You can still be authentic and change your beliefs and values
- 09/27/18--04:00: Business owners, be aware of these hiring mistakes
- 09/27/18--04:21: TV streaming services—ranked by catalog!
- 09/27/18--04:35: For refugees, the best solution is often just cash
- 09/27/18--05:59: Annoyed by people in your open plan office? You need this sofa
- 09/27/18--10:59: Brett Kavanaugh’s entire hearing performance in one image
Segway is back. At least according to the 1,255 Indiegogo backers of the company’s latest product, the Drift W1.
The Segway product you’re probably most familiar with is the Segway PT, which the company launched in 2001. It became a record failure after only selling 30,000 units in the six years after its launch, and today it’s mostly synonymous with mall security guards, tourists, and Gob Bluth. Three years after Segway Inc. was acquired by Ninebot Inc. for $80 million, the company–now known as Segway-Ninebot–has launched a crowdfunding campaign for a new product it describes as “new-age e-skates.” Please, take a look:
The Drift W1, which you can get as a “super early bird” special for $369 but will otherwise cost $499, is a pair of eight-pound, electrically powered rubber wheels, each topped by a foot-sized platform. A bit like the hoverboards that took the world by storm in 2013, you balance on these platforms while the devices’ electronic gyroscopes interpret your body movements to steer. Going full speed, you’ll be cooking along at 7.5 miles per hour, or three times faster than walking, according to Segway.
Think of the Drift W1 as a marriage between the original Segway and hoverboards. But unlike the former, the Drift W1 is clearly being marketing to the young people who were wild for the latter; the company’s marketing material cites early reviewers describing them as “Hoverboard shoes,” and the industrial design features bright LED lights.
Unsurprisingly, as electric scooters, Onewheels, and longboards gain popularity amongst urban commuters, Segway is also angling for commuters as well as young people, pointing out that the skates are easy to carry and suited for trains and planes. Casey Neistat notes on the fundraiser page that they’ll be “amazing in an airport.”
While they may be easy to mock, who knows? Considering the way $150 hoverboards sold like hot cakes and current demand for alternative modes of transit in cities (not to mention the fact that the company has raised almost 3,000% of its original goal) it’s possible they’ll be a smash success. At the very least, if we’re lucky, we’ll eventually get to watch Will Arnett ineptly roll around on Drift W1s, too.
Streaming bundlers like DirecTV Now and YouTube TV have amassed an estimated 6 million U.S. subscribers by offering a cheaper alternative to traditional cable and satellite services. But TiVo would like to remind you that the four most-watched TV channels–NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox–are flying through the air for free.
The company’s new Bolt OTA (as in “over the air”), which it is announcing today, is a sleek set-top box that can record four simultaneous live shows from a digital TV antenna; has a 1TB hard drive that can store 150 hours of HD video; has apps for Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Amazon’s Prime Video, and many other streaming services; and can deliver those shows for viewing on multiple TVs and mobile devices.
While recording stuff off the air for free is certainly easy on the budget, TiVo says that the Bolt OTA offers uncompromised video quality. “When we record the programs onto the hard drive, we’re doing that in full HD quality that’s not compressed for playback on your TV,” says Ted Malone, TiVo’s VP for consumer products and services. “The [internet-based] providers are compressing that video–some fairly dramatically–in order to deliver it over the internet. For picture quality, it’s hard to beat an antenna.”
He’s right about the picture quality from a digital antenna. I have not yet tried the Bolt OTA for myself, but I have found digital antennas connected to TCL’s Roku-powered smart TV, Sling TV’s AirTV device, Tablo’s DVRs, and other devices to deliver noticeably better picture quality than services like DirecTV Now and YouTube TV, as well as traditional satellite and cable services. Video quality will likely be the biggest selling point for the Bolt OTA over streaming bundle services. (Relatedly, Hulu–including the Hulu with Live TV service that broadcasts live and on-demand programming–is experiencing a nationwide outage as I write this on Wednesday evening. Over-the-air broadcasts have no such issues.)
The $250 Bolt OTA is a cheaper variant of the $300, cable-ready Bolt Vox ($300) and replaces the aging $400 Roamio OTA, which TiVo is discontinuing. The new DVR’s programming guide costs $7 a month, versus $15 for the Bolt Vox. While the pricier Roamio OTA didn’t carry a monthly fee for its guide, the Bolt OTA’s service charge is comparable with the programming services for Channels ($8 a month), Tablo ($5), and Plex ($5).
Unlike the Roamio OTA, the Bolt OTA comes with the latest version of TiVo’s iconic remote, which includes voice control. It also offers the nifty commercial-zapping feature called SkipMode that allows you to skip an entire commercial break in a recorded show by hitting one button. TiVo builds metadata into its programming guide that knows where the commercials are for most shows on the major broadcast channels so it can zap them.
“The Bolt has been in the market for a couple of years as our high-end product–4K, multiple tuners, HDR support, a fast processor, etc.–and we maintained the Roamio as a product focused on OTA,” explains Malone. “With the streaming market moving to 4K video, the Bolt gives us a single device and remote and experience for broadcast and streaming.”
The broadcast TV channels are popping up in so many new places and so many different combinations that it’s hard to keep up with them all. The Big Four broadcast networks are available in most markets on DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, and PlayStation Vue. CBS has its own streamer called CBS All Access. FuboTV, which is oriented toward sports viewers, has CBS, NBC, and Fox in most markets but does not have a carriage deal with ABC (or its ESPN channels).
And then there are the solutions that involve a piece of hardware. Sling TV has NBC and Fox in some markets but has a device called AirTV that can record broadcast shows, and there are devices like HDHomeRun, Tablo, and Nvidia Shield that will record and play TV recorded from a digital antenna. (My Fast Company colleague Jared Newman has a recent review of Sling TV’s AirTV here and a handy comparison of the various recording-device competitors here.)
Just last week, Amazon announced its own over-the-air DVR, the Fire TV Recast, including 1TB ($280) and 500GB ($230) models. Due to begin shipping in November, it will integrate live and recorded broadcast TV into your Amazon ecosystem of Fire TV, Fire, Echo, and Alexa devices.
Most smart TVs include antenna support, but none that I’ve seen have anywhere near the level of sophistication or integration of the current crop of stand-alone boxes. “Several years ago, TiVo was the operating system inside an Insignia television,” Malone says. “It didn’t do very well, and I think we may have been ahead of our time.” Smart TVs with built-in four-tuner antennas and hard drives will presumably come along and could make investing in separate hardware such as a Bolt OTA less tempting. Malone is noncommittal on whether TiVo is headed that direction. “It’s something we’re thinking about,” he says. “But we don’t have anything to announce.”
Imagine it’s 2080. Apple, long past its prime, has sold off its once-groundbreaking, but now aging, headquarters designed by Sir Norman Foster over 60 years ago. The community of Cupertino is faced with a dilemma: What to do with this hulking, empty glass-and-concrete mega-complex?
It’s difficult to imagine for multiple reasons (as if California won’t be ravaged by climate change in 2080!), but that’s, essentially, the story of the Bell Labs headquarters in Holmdel, New Jersey. Designed by the visionary architect Eero Saarinen in the late 1950s, it was a research hub for thousands of scientists and engineers who produced the Nobel Prize-winning technology that gave us everything from satellites to cellphones–the “Googleplex of its day.” If there’s one American building we have to thank for our current technological reality, it’s probably Saarinen’s sprawling, glassy monument in the New Jersey suburbs.
Yet, when the building was sold in the early 2000s, it was unclear if its two million square feet of empty office space could be saved. A plan to turn the building into the cornerstone of a mixed-use “metroburb” called Bell Works, with entertainment, office space, and community amenities, seemed ambitious and far-flung. Yet in the years since, a scrum of developers have succeeded in transforming the bones of Saarinen’s building with coworking, a library, a cafe, and a large atrium that now hosts farmer’s markets, yoga, and fairs.
On Tuesday, the group opened a major pillar of the project: A food hall designed by the Manhattan-based Nemaworkshop, featuring five vendors, complete with wood-fired pizza ovens, poke bowls, and a small indoor farm. More is planned: A 200-room hotel on the top level was approved earlier this year. The building’s coworking operation, which includes a design-focused office called the Design Lab, is growing.
The creators of the project cite it as an example of young people’s hunger for walkable suburbs–the hangar-like building is meant to be a bit like a reshuffled retail main street. The official tagline for the public atrium is “everything you’d find in a great downtown,” or as developer Ralph Zucker puts it on Bell Works’ website, “everything you would find in a metropolis but in a great suburban location.” In a way, the building has mirrored two generations of information workers in suburban America: People who commuted to a mega-office in the 1970s now co-work, eat, and socialize at the same building in 2018. As Fast Company‘s Eillie Anzilotti pointed out this year, Bell Works is more of a shopping mall than a main street.
Architecturally speaking, it’s a happy ending for many preservationists who dreaded the demise of Saarinen’s austere but undeniably beautiful office complex. Time will tell if today’s generation of corporate campuses will enjoy their own second life.
No doubt you’ve been at least a little guilty of “circling back” to “touch base” with a colleague to find some “synergies” that will allow you both to “leverage” your shared “intel” to “optimize your goals.” Okay, maybe you haven’t packed all that office jargon into one sentence, but perhaps you’ve also found yourself using a turn of phrase like “chop chop” as a verbal shorthand.
While it’s perfectly natural to exercise corporate vernacular in the workplace (everybody’s doing it), some of these innocent-sounding quips actually have problematic, or even racist origins. Remember the next time you are tempted to let the corporate speak fly, that one study indicates the words you use most often tend to shape how you think about the world. These seemingly innocuous phrases indicate just how systemic racism and oppression have wormed their way into our everyday language. And continue to propagate with consistent use in daily speech.
Here is a roundup of some of the more troubling roots.
Open the kimono
A euphemism for exhibiting (ahem) radical transparency, this is a phrase that many love to hate (our readers voted it their most loathed a few years ago). It may have come into wide use at Microsoft in the ’80s and ’90s but didn’t originate there. As the New York Times reports:
Probably stemming from the rash of Japanese acquisitions of American enterprises in the ’80s, that has been adopted into the Microspeak marketing lexicon. Basically, a somewhat sexist synonym for ”open the books,” it means to reveal the inner workings of a project or company to a prospective new partner.
If only it were a relic of the past–Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase used in it 2012 when he said his company was “open kimono” with regulators. And most regrettably, Marie Claire used the phrase in 2014 when writing about demographic numbers at Netflix.
According to the Anglo-India dictionary Hobson-Jobson published in 1886, the phrase originates from the Cantonese word kap, which means “make haste” and converted to pidgin English that was often used on sailing ships. However, as NPR reports, “The utterance ‘chop-chop’ would also become closely associated with class over time, and was almost always said by someone powerful to someone below.”
No can do
And speaking of pidgin, the Oxford Dictionary says this phrase also originated there. “The phrase dates from the mid-19th to early-20th centuries, an era when Western attitudes toward the Chinese were markedly racist.”
Long time no see
Some say this when they see someone in person, but many others use a version of this in digital communications like “long time no email.” In any case, the Oxford Dictionary tells us, this too is a form of pidgin English, adapted from Native American origins. “Long time no see was originally meant as a humorous interpretation of a Native American greeting, used after a prolonged separation. The current earliest citation comes from W.F. Drannan’s book Thirty-one Years on Plains (1901): “When we rode up to him he said: ‘Good mornin. Long time no see you.'”
Drink the Kool-Aid
You’ll hear this often among business people (who also often eat their own dog food as it relates to the team actually using whatever solution they’re building themselves) who use it as a way to convey faithful following. While not racist, the term originated when political cult leader Jim Jones ordered his followers to protest by committing suicide by drinking a grape-flavored beverage laced with potent drugs. One small point: the 900 who died weren’t actually drinking Kool-Aid. It was actually a competing juice brand called Flavor Aid, but the market leader stuck in everyone’s mind.
Grandfather clause, or grandfathering in
Sounds like an innocent way to indicate there’s a way to let some people avoid change because they were there before that change was enacted. But the term itself started in the wake of Reconstruction in the American South to allow potential white voters to circumvent literacy tests, poll taxes, and other tactics designed to disenfranchise Southern blacks after a brief period of relatively open voting.
Google Doodles have been a part of the search engine’s world since before the company even launched. A few days before Google officially incorporated as Google, founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stuck the (wait for it . . . ) Burning Man logo on the Google homepage to let potential users know that they were into Burning Man before it was cool (and because they were going to be out of town for a few days). From that humble and tech bro-ish beginning, the Doodles were born.
Now, to mark Google’s 20th anniversary, the company is taking users on a visual trip down memory lane just like that visual trip they undoubtedly took at Burning Man so many years ago. Here’s a few of the highlights:
Check out the video showing the evolution of the Doodle. If you want more information on any of them, just Google it.
You’ve probably heard the name Quinnipiac, even if you’re not exactly sure of its origins. Founded in 1929 and located within 10 miles of Yale University in Hamden, Connecticut, the private university has historically been dwarfed by its older Ivy League neighbor. While its name carries national recognition–it’s the home and namesake of the Quinnipiac Poll, a leading political poll in the United States–the institution sought to craft a new, elevated brand to amplify its reputation as a nationally recognized university with more than a regional presence.
As it looks ahead to its centennial in the coming decade, the university commissioned design agency Pentagram to create a new visual language for its next chapter. In 2018, of course, U.S. institutions of higher learning are business entities, vying for students’ dollars, and by revamping its look, Quinnipiac sought to telegraph that aspirational sense of place. The United States is one of the most expensive places to pursue higher education in the world. To persuade parents to spend their savings at its school instead of, say Yale and Harvard, Quinnipiac is positioning itself as every bit as elitist as the Ivies–while updating its look to win cred with Gen-Z kids.
As in sports, fashion, publishing, and arts institutions, logos and brands play an important role in conveying prestige to customers and potential audiences. Institutions of higher education are no exception. In an increasingly hyper-visual digital landscape, it can also be difficult to avoid the pitfalls of sameness. “One of the things that sort of bothered us was the aspect that if you’re going to an elite college, you must feel and look elite,” says Pentagram partner Eddie Opara, who led the rebranding. While other big universities, including the University of California system, have been criticized for overtly trendy branding, Opara believes more schools could rethink the stodgy, old-fashioned sans-serifs and seals that have become the norm.
With the university’s previous logo, set in a nondescript sans-serif font, “The visual tone of voice was not appealing to that type of higher standard education,” he says, and his team looked at the possibility of dropping University from the formal branding assets–“a bit like how Harvard or Yale or Stanford look at themselves verbally. People do not say ‘Stanford University.’ They say Stanford. That type of voice, of importance and tradition, needed to be better relayed,” he says. Owning its name, the new revamped brand sheds its qualifier and stands on its own, set in Portrait Q, a bold and weighty, specially customized version of the neoclassical serif font Portrait, designed by the foundry Commercial Type.
A logo for the ages
A university that starts with the letter “Q” is unusual, so Opara decided to capitalize on it for the logo. Previously, the university had used Qu (inconsistently) as an abbreviation in various materials, but Opara felt was redundant: In common English, the letter Q is rarely not followed by the letter u, and in terms of pronunciation, “Qu” reads the same as the letter Q on its own.
Opara’s team decided to heighten the “rarity, the distinction of the letter Q,” by creating a bespoke, scripted monogram, which appears in calligraphic and solid variations, for versatile use on apparel, print stationery, and online collateral.
New-school plaid, reinvented
To further elevate its presence as an elite East Coast private school, Opara created a custom tartan, called the Quinnipiac plaid, as an overarching visual component to the brand. For many, the thought of plaid evokes a pretentious, Old Boys Club era of private school–but for Opara, the overlapping planes of pattern and color could be tweaked to serve as a metaphor for diversity. Set on print material, explored in striped variations, and exploded to scale as supergraphics that will be rolled out on a variety of media this fall, the Quinnipiac tartan is far from your grandfather’s plaid.
“As a graphic device, it’s not meant to be static,” he says. “You can actually play with it, crop it, rotate it, explode it, separate it out.” Translating a traditional pattern to a web-friendly aesthetic, Opara’s Quinnipiac plaid is a cheeky dismantling of East Coast prep, even as it leans in to evoke it–a winking and slightly irreverent take meant to please parents and students alike. With the new brand identity, he and the team are banking that the brand will not only serve to enrich Quinnipiac’s wider community, but become both a visual and intellectual symbol they’ll be proud to wear on their sleeve.
Pinch a loaf. Drop a deuce. Lay cable. Grow a tail. Have a grumpy. Take a smash. Drop the kids off at the pool. See a man about a horse.
However you talk about the physical act of defecation, chances are if you’re talking regularly about it at all, you’re a dude. The pop cultural realm of the poop joke has historically been told from the male perspective.
This is obviously unfair.
Poo-Pourri, the scent-stealing toilet deodorizer, knows this–and with its latest campaign called #GirlsDoPoop–set out to prove that women have just as many insanely funny, gross, and entertaining poop stories as the guys. In fact, by acknowledging poop equality, perhaps men can see that women aren’t just objects of desire, but three-dimensional, full-fledged human beings . . . who may, on occasion, shit themselves in an elevator.
“It’s really an equality issue,” says Poo-Pourri founder and CEO Suzy Batiz. “Men talk about poop all the time, and good for them. But women don’t feel like we can do that for whatever reason. So we felt inspired by that, and the result was this campaign.”
The campaign features a spoken-word anthem–basically Al Pacino’s locker room speech in Any Given Sunday but for BM–and six individual women’s rectal revelations. Among them is Brittany, who couldn’t quite get up the stairs and into her apartment on time. There’s Kelley, who found the perfect secluded washroom at work, only to underestimate the force of that second burrito. And Maryann, whose first overnight visit to her boyfriend’s parents’ house would make Spud from Trainspotting proud.
To find the stories, Batiz and her team held an open casting call in New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Chicago, and got scatological stories from more than 400 women. Thing is, a lot of the time, shit got a little too real. “We found there were a lot more great stories than storytellers,” says Batiz. “Some of the stories got really gross, really fast.”
So the brand ended up casting stand-up comedians to tell a selection of stories. “Not all poop stories are funny or created equal,” says Batiz. “Our brand’s been built with humor, so when we were looking at these auditions we knew we had to go more for the funny stories. What the standups could do was really focus on the arc of a story, the buildup, but they were all true.”
We will never be truly equal until we can look each other in the eyes with trust and understanding–and tell our absolutely craziest poop story.
Somebody finally used comedy to address the current, most glaring problem in comedy.
After Louis C.K. returned from his roughly nine-month listening tour to tell rape-whistle zingers in front of a captive audience, a lot of women were justifiably upset–including many in the comedy community. As a counterbalance, Fast Company found some male comics speaking out against this too-soon return to the stage, showing their female peers they were not alone in this. Now, Ted Alexandro has gone a step beyond tweeting, devoting six minutes of a recent set to his thoughts on Louis C.K. and Bill Cosby.
“Thanks for clapping until I almost get to the stage,” Alexandro says at the beginning, in a clip he posted online this week. “What, does a guy have to be convicted of sexual assault to get an extended ovation?”
As if it weren’t clear enough to whom he was referring, he makes it explicit next: “What do I have to do, do I have to take my dick out?”
Over the next several minutes, he follows in the footsteps of comedians like Cameron Esposito and Hannah Gadsby in addressing this important cultural moment from the stage. Alexandro’s words carry an extra bit of heft because he is saying them on the very stage that Louis C.K. returned to last month: the Comedy Cellar. This legacy venue is more than just the place C.K. performed that night–it was his home base in Manhattan, and it served as a prominent setting in his FX show, Louie. Telling jokes about his proclivities here is like delivering a sermon about inclusivity at a Klan meeting.
Alexandro thoroughly lambasts our comedy icons who have become known as sexual predators, but perhaps more importantly, he mocks the people who see political correctness as a scourge and worry about the fallout for abusers.
“People go, ‘He’s lost everything, it’s not fair that men should lose everything in a flash,'” Alexandro says near the end of the segment. “And by ‘everything,’ I mean ‘hardly anything,’ and by, ‘in a flash’ I mean, ‘a decade later.'”
The laughs he gets aren’t uproarious but they sound relieved—and the loudest are from women.
A man in the comedy community is finally saying it.
Watch the full clip below.
It is a common exhortation: Live authentically. But what does authenticity actually mean? As a psychological concept, authenticity simply means embracing who you really are, at your very core, and acting in accordance to your own values and beliefs. Many social psychologists, such as myself, also take a layperson’s approach to the definition. In other words, authenticity is a subjective judgment. Only we ourselves are privy to when we are behaving authentically or not.
Do people judge themselves to be more or less authentic over time? My inclination is that people believe they are becoming more of their true self as time passes. After all, most of us would like to think that we are growing and changing in positive ways. And the constant bombardment of messages to be “true to ourselves” can suggest that some force prevents us from fully expressing who we really are. As we get older, perhaps we experience more freedom to be the real us–the freedom to overcome whatever it is that compels us to hide behind a façade and to become more of the true self we see ourselves to be.
In our recent research, my colleague Rebecca Schlegel and I set out to test whether people believe their sense of authenticity changes over the course of their lives. Driven by the intuition that finding and expressing one’s true self is a common goal, we predicted a positive progression of authenticity across time. People would see themselves as becoming closer to their true selves over their lifespan.
There are also different forms that changes in authenticity might take. One possibility is a simple linear progression of authenticity in which people perceive themselves as becoming more their true self as each day, week, month, year and decade passes. This is based on our tendency as humans to self-enhance: We have a strong and natural desire to view ourselves positively. Alternatively, it is possible that people perceive an authentic progression and then a subsequent plateau. This is what researchers refer to as the “end of history” illusion where people believe they have become more authentic from the past to the present, and at a certain point will change relatively little in the future. They will reach a point of “peak authenticity” in their lifetime. We tested these competing possibilities in a set of studies published in the journal Self and Identity.
In our first study, participants from a large university were asked to think about how their true selves relate to three temporal self-concepts: past self (who they were when they graduated from high school), current self (who they are right now), and future self (who they will be at the end of the academic semester). They were then presented with pictorial representations that consisted of eight pairs of Venn diagrams that displayed an increasing amount of overlap between their “true self” and the temporal self-concepts. The greater the overlap between the two circles, the greater each temporal self-concept encompassed one’s true self-concept.
Participants reported the least true self overlap with their past self, followed by the current self and future self. In other words, people believe they are becoming more authentic over time and will continue to do so in the future. This is particularly remarkable, from our vantage point, given that these self-evaluations were made over a short period of time in people’s lives (i.e., five to six months).
In our second study, we examined whether people perceive increasing feelings of authenticity across the entire life span. We recruited a diverse age range of participants from Amazon Mechanical Turk, and asked them to think about their life as if it were a book or a novel, organizing periods in their life story into chapters like a book, and completing true self and authenticity measures for each chapter of their life story. Following this task, we asked participants to contemplate what comes next in their life story: the future chapters in their life story. They completed the same true-self and authenticity measures for their future chapters.
Time turned out to be associated with greater perceptions of authenticity. The pattern was cubic in nature, meaning that perceptions of authenticity sharply increased in the few chapters preceding the current chapter and continued to increase through the first few future chapters. Although this trend was somewhat unexpected, I personally suspect that this reflects a period of self-exploration where people are searching and perhaps succeeding at “finding themselves.” Similar to findings in our first study, people tend to believe that they are getting closer to their true selves over the course of their lives. Evidence from both studies favors the self-enhancement explanation of perceived authenticity across time.
Given that authenticity is a subjective judgment about how closely one’s everyday actions mirror the true self’s values and beliefs, these studies suggest that our perceived sense of authenticity is continually changing. We do not think of ourselves as stagnant beings. Moreover, people hold positive expectations that they are constantly moving toward becoming their true self, and they place immense value on knowing and expressing who they really are, so much so that they believe their future selves will be a more authentic version of their current selves, and their current selves are more genuine than their past selves. Finally, it is important to note that our sample consisted only of participants from the United States. While authenticity might be thought of as a uniquely Western notion, previous research has shown that the experience of state authenticity (and state inauthenticity) are similar in both Western and Eastern cultures. This means that it is likely that these feelings of authentic progression over time are universal.
Authenticity will continue to be a buzzword for centuries to come, and people will never stop promoting the importance of being one’s true, authentic self. The only possibility of this happening is perhaps when our subjective review of authenticity finally tells us that we are the closest to who we see ourselves to be.
This article was originally published at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons.
When you run a small business, you can’t afford to make mistakes. Every client interaction, product, and invoice reflects on you and your company, and one bad experience can make or break your reputation. And that’s why, even though growing your business is a good thing, it’s natural to feel a lot of pressure when you’re hiring new employees who will represent your company to the world.
We chatted with several small business hiring experts, who suggest you avoid the following seven mistakes:
1. Hiring out of desperation
First, check your hiring motivations and make sure you’re planning ahead for your staffing needs. It’s one thing to realize it’s time to expand your team because you have a reliable busy season coming up in a few months and need the extra support. It’s another thing entirely to realize that busy season is upon you and you need extra help right now:
“The most common mistake I see small business owners make when hiring is making a hire out of desperation,” says global human resources consultant Heidi Lynne, founder of Heidi Lynne HR Consulting. “They hire the skills they need right now and neglect character, when skills are trainable and character is not. This ends up causing more frustration and a clash of personalities because in the long run they find themselves with a diverse range of personalities on staff that are not aligned with the mission, vision, and values of the company–and have no real investment in the company.”
2. Hiring without a clear job description
The first step in hiring intentionally is to prepare a clear job description that outlines what you’re looking for in a new employee and what they can expect from the job. But you’ll quickly find that this step has major benefits for your whole company, not just your new employees:
“Sometimes the first step in making a new hire is understanding how your current staff is performing,” says Diana George of By George HR Solutions. “If you feel that your current staff is not getting the results you expect, you need to focus on developing a clear job description that you can use to make new hires. Unfortunately, many small business owners have everything in their head and expect the employees to be able to do the job even though it is not documented anywhere how to do the job correctly.”
3. Improvising the hiring process
Speaking of job descriptions, they should be the first of several steps toward formalizing your HR process, even if you’re only hiring one or two new employees–otherwise, you might find yourself rushing through the process and making bad hires simply because you weren’t thorough enough at the start of the process:
“When you’re starting a small business, you always have a lot on your hands, so it’s tempting to want to rush the hiring process to get the wheels in motion,” says Jerry Haffey, founder of Ambrosia Treatment Center. “But, too many new or small businesses fall short when hiring their first few employees because they skip crucial steps in the process, like background checks, following up with references, and multiple interviews. It can be annoying to follow HR protocol when the candidate feels like the right fit right away, but it’s well worth it to catch bad hires before they slip through the cracks.”
4. Hiring a “mini-me” of the business owner
A powerful side benefit of building out a formal hiring process? You’re more likely to hire based on talent, drive, and potential–not because you see yourself in potential hires:
“I see it happen all too often that a small business owner will try and build a team of people just like herself,” says Noelle Johnson, founder of My Interview Buddy.“But new hires will never be her–so she is constantly disappointed when the staff is unable to live up to her unrealistic expectations. Over time, important pieces fall through the cracks because the business doesn’t have people in place that are strong where the owner is weak.”
5. Not hiring enough positions
If you’re like most small business owners, you waited to grow your permanent staff until you were sure you could keep them busy for the long term. But once you decide to expand, make sure you’re bringing on the number of team members you really need, not just the number you can get by with:
“Small business owners often push their existing employees too far before they bring in new hires,” says HR Analyst Laura Handrick of Fit Small Business. “Then, because they’re understaffed, service suffers, existing employees get burned out, and new employees aren’t given enough time for training before they’re thrown into daily operations. The new employees are likely to fail, existing employee are overwhelmed, and the culture and business suffer.”
6. Not anticipating churn
One thing small business owners often don’t realize when they first start hiring new employees is that even high-quality new hires may decide to leave the company within a few months or years–and you shouldn’t take it personally:
“I’ve seen it time and time again that companies hire for culture when they are 10, 20, or 30 employees, but then that culture changes dramatically when they grow to 100, 125, or 150 employees,” says Mike Astringer, talent acquisition and human resources consultant at Human Capital Consultants, Inc. “There is a particular mindset of the person who goes to work in a startup or rapidly growing small company that may not work as well as your organization [matures]. And so for all of the reasons someone joins a startup, they’ll want to seek that out again in another small company and may not stay with yours.”
7. Misclassifying employee status
This hiring mistake can be particularly devastating for small business owners who aren’t up to date on employment law: misclassifying employee status as exempt when they’re non-exempt, or vice versa:
“Misclassification of employee status can be one of the most costly mistakes business owners can make when hiring their first few employees,” says Ivelices Linares Thomas, Founder & CEO of HR & Beyond. “One situation I see frequently is a business misclassifying an employee as exempt and ineligible for overtime pay, yet the position is really a non-exempt position. In this example, a business will not have paid the misclassified employees correctly, especially when considering any missed overtime payments for hours worked over 40 hours. The penalty for failing to pay overtime can equal up to double the total overtime owed, and the Department of Labor has the ability to issue additional penalties per violation, which can add up very quickly.”
Reelgood, a website for searching across different streaming video services, has analyzed the catalogs of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO, and Showtime to see how they compare on value. The results may not surprise you.
For its analysis, Reelgood looked at the 20,000 most popular movies and TV shows tracked by its website, then divided them three categories. “High quality” movies have an IMDB score of at least 6.5 with at least 300 votes, while “quality” movies have at a score of at least 6.0. “High-quality” shows have a score of at least 8.0, and “quality” shows have a score of at least 7.5.
It turns out that Netflix and Amazon Prime Video offer far more movies than any other service, and that applies to all quality levels. Amazon has a slight edge in quality movies, though it’s tied with Netflix in high-quality ones and is peddling a lot more junk:
Meanwhile, Hulu fares far better on TV shows, probably thanks to all the next-day network TV programming that it offers, though Netflix holds its own in quality programming:
Things get more interesting when you factor in the price of each streaming service. With Amazon charging $8.99 per month for Prime Video alone, its edge over Netflix becomes more pronounced. (We’re not counting the $12.99 per month Prime service, which includes non-video benefits like free two-day shipping.)
Hulu does well on value when you factor in its low price of $7.99 per month, but that’s for the version with commercials, which none of these other services have. Calculate for Hulu’s ad-free service instead, and Netflix’s value gets a bit closer.
None of these charts look particularly good for HBO or Showtime, though it’s worth noting that they’re the only services whose quality TV shows outweigh their lesser-quality ones. There’s less to choose from, but when you make a selection, chances are it’s going to be good.
Perhaps that’s why a minor freakout occurred in TV critics’ circles a couple months ago, when AT&T executive John Stankey floated the idea of making the newly acquired HBO a bit more like Netflix. Quality over quantity is important, of course, but looking at these charts, it’s hard not to argue that Stankey had a point.
A little less than a year ago, as the cash crisis in Venezuela kept making it harder to afford food and medicine, Yoleima del Carmen and her family made the move to neighboring Colombia. Her job as a dressmaker and her husband’s job as a mechanic hadn’t been bringing in enough money to pay bills. Her children were eating so little that they were perpetually sick.
In Colombia, a family member offered them a small piece of land. But like other Venezuelans who have made the same move–nearly a million people, by some estimates, have gone to Colombia over the last four years–they had next to nothing to start their new lives.
A new program offered the family a straightforward form of help: cash for three months. The nonprofit International Rescue Committee, working with local partners, identified the family as being in particular need of assistance, and then gave them transfers of $66 per person each month. Del Carmen invested the money to start a new mini market, so after the three-month program ended, she had a new stream of income.
The situation, the IRC says, is well-suited for cash transfers, a type of program that is becoming increasingly common in humanitarian aid, especially in programs in sub-Saharan Africa (though it was also tested in Houston after Hurricane Harvey). Instead of handing out food or other supplies, the programs let recipients decide the best way to spend money.
“It restores a degree of dignity just by restoring the ability to choose, which is really critical,” says Courtney Newell, who leads the cash program for the IRC in the country. Colombia doesn’t have a shortage of goods to buy, unlike Venezuela, where supermarket shelves are often empty. Handing out donations of food would also disrupt the local market.
Families can spend the cash however they want, though the nonprofit has seen several invest in a small business–buying a sewing machine or supplies to make and sell empanadas, for example. In the first round of cash transfers, which just ended, the majority of families used the money for food and rent, while others used some of the cash for medical expenses. Recipients reported that they felt less stress and were arguing less with family members.
The project is the latest example of IRC’s move to use cash transfers, which it has already started using in other countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, and the Philippines. In 2015, the organization was delivering 6% of its humanitarian aid through cash. By the end of 2017, that number was 17.7%. By 2020, it plans to deliver 25% of aid that way, and to have active cash transfer programs in three-quarters of its country offices.
In Colombia, almost 90% of the families in the first round of cash transfers were eating enough food after becoming part of the program. “That’s staggering, because a lot of times when we first meet families they’re feeding a family of six or seven on a dollar or two a day,” Newell says. The intervention also dramatically reduced what the organization calls “negative coping behaviors,” such as families sending children to beg on city streets. The results are preliminary because the program is new, but “they’re really, really impressive,” she says.
The program has worked with close to 1,000 people since it began a few months ago. Still, that’s a tiny fraction of the people in need. Of the 35,000 Venezuelans who cross the Simon Bolivar Bridge to Colombia every day, around 5,000 people don’t return. Hyperinflation in Venezuela, which reached 83,000% in July, is continuing despite the government’s attempts to slow it. Humanitarian organizations trying to help the wave of migrants are underfunded.
“There’s so much opportunity and there’s people here who want to do the work, and we just need to be able to get the resources to keep scaling up,” says Newell. “This crisis doesn’t really show any signs of abating.”
If one YouTube activist has her way, men may be a little more mindful of the space they take up on the subway.
Anna Dovgalyuk posted a now-deleted video to YouTube of a woman walking through train cars in the St. Petersburg, Russia, area on a crusade against “gender aggression,” specifically manspreading.
To fight this plague upon shared spaces, the woman took to the subway and poured what was supposedly a bleach solution onto the laps of manspreaders, opting for bleach because the liquid “eats colors in the fabric in a matter of minutes” and leaves stains on the clothes of the men with questionable seating habits. The young woman dedicated the video “on behalf of everyone who has to endure the manifestations of you declaring your macho qualities on public transportation.”
According to the Independent, at least one Russian news outlet, Rosbalt, and a whole bunch of YouTube commenters claim the video is fake and the men are actors, but Dovgalyuk denies it. We have no way of knowing for sure, but the clip went viral pretty quickly, racking up over 1.3 million views in just over a day online.
YouTube has since pulled it down for violating its policy on bullying and harassment and, well, yeah, that makes sense. We reached out to the company for additional comment and will update if we hear back.
The day after Andrea Learned, a transportation and urban design consultant based in Seattle, flew down to San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), cyclist Russell Franklin was struck and killed by a car while trying to navigate around an illegally parked truck on a street near event. It was the same day, and on the same street, that a group of local activists with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition had organized a protest calling for better bike infrastructure as a sustainability measure. “Protected lanes are climate action,” their signs read, and the death of Franklin demonstrated the human consequence of failing to take that action.
That was the first day of the GCAS. Throughout the rest of the event, Learned and other active transportation leaders looked out for more discussion of walking and biking, how cities could better support it, and the benefits of doing so. “What cycling advocates and bike share companies are doing supports cities for climate,” Learned says. “What if we had more safe streets people on the Global Climate Action Summit Stage?”
It would make sense: Research has found that if, globally, cycling rates can rise from their current level of 6% (around 1% in the U.S.) to around 14%, urban carbon emissions will drop 11%. Boosting walking would have similar benefits. But there was little evidence of these more human-scale endeavors on the main stage at GCAS. In the summit’s list of key challenges, sustainable transportation appeared as something of a footnote; discussion of cycling and walking was often drowned out by talk of the admittedly more futuristic and startup-friendly electric vehicles.
Writing in Curbed, Alissa Walker picked up the same sense. “At times,” she wrote, “the summit felt more like an auto show. The event concluded with a cross-country electric vehicle road trip. There was the hashtag #CitiesDriveElectric. The only main stage session completely dedicated to transportation was like a series of car-centric infomercials: Hydrogen fuel-cell SUVs! Charging stations! Batteries!”
To be clear: The shift to electric vehicles could not come soon enough. Investing in the development and deployment of EV infrastructure is critical–the transportation sector, after all, emits the most carbon out of all categories in the U.S. Setting goals for zero emissions from transportation–as cities like Los Angeles and Paris have done–will require a large-scale effort on the part of manufacturers and cities to make EVs both affordable and viable enough for consumers to widely adopt. But both Learned and Walker are concerned that the focus on electrifying transportation will grant a pass to cities, particularly those in the U.S., that have failed to create streets that actively encourage walking and biking.
The consequence of that failure became clear the morning of the summit’s first day, when Franklin was killed on his bike, and later that week, when a pedestrian was killed on the same street. Shifting to electric vehicles won’t make streets safer for people that choose to get around cities by foot or by bike, and missing the opportunity to draw the link between safe, multi-modal streets and climate action will set cities unnecessarily behind on climate goals.
For many leaders in the U.S., making the case for electric vehicles comes more naturally than advocating for bike and pedestrian projects. As a relatively young country, the bulk of the U.S.’s urban development, especially compared with that of, say, the Netherlands, happened contemporaneously with the rise of the automobile. And there’s a pull, in U.S. culture, toward the new and the innovative, and often, toward the flashy. That was certainly reflected in the commitments that arose out of the summit: California made good on Governor Jerry Brown’s pledge to launch a data-collecting satellite; 38 leaders at the country and city level pledged to adopt cutting-edge building technologies to get to net-zero emissions; battery storage and electric vehicle companies pledged to roll out significant new capacity in the next decade.
It’s easy to see how amid these promises, bike and pedestrian infrastructure could get lost. After all, it’s pulling from the past, when so much energy–whether it be around new high-speed rail networks or yes, electric vehicles–is geared toward the future, and what’s next. It’s telling, for instance, that when announcing the 12 new cities, including Honolulu and Oxford, joined the 14 who had already signed onto C40’s Green & Healthy Streets Declaration–a wide-ranging pledge to reduce emissions on city streets–the press around it largely focused on the leaders’ promises to procure only zero-emission buses beginning in 2025.
Embedded in the goal setting of 26 cities, though, are some promising bike and pedestrian infrastructure pledges that should be more valorized than they are–even if they require not innovation, but simply political will, to realize. Barcelona’s mayor, Ada Colau, for instance, has pledged to double its cycling network in 2019, and reduce all vehicle traffic by 21%. While the regulations target the most polluting vehicles first, there’s acknowledgement that streets need to be freed up for people, and the city’s strategy of creating superblocks and fully pedestrianized areas out of its current network is one that should be emulated elsewhere. In Seattle, Mayor Jenny Durkan just allocated over $46 million in the city’s budget for cycling and pedestrian improvements, and pledged to grow public transit service by 30%. Jennifer Keesmaat, the former chief city planner for Toronto and current mayoral candidate, has proposed lowering speed limits across the city, creating pedestrian zones around schools, and redesigning dangerous intersections to promote safety.
It’s both encouraging and not surprising that behind these more grounded human-scale projects are women leaders, who, as Jane Jacobs famously said, “have always been willing to consider little plans.” It’s a far cry from Harrison Ford, who, from the stage at GCAS, roared: “Let’s kick this monster’s ass!” but zeroing in on the street level, on small-scale, timeless interventions, may be as effective at tackling climate change as some of the more futuristic proposals to come out of the weeks of climate advocacy this month. Consider that, according to Project Drawdown, pulling the global mode-share of trips made by bike up to 7.5% by 2050 will avoid 2.3 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions, and investing in bike infrastructure over more roads will save municipal governments $400 billion in the same time frame. Walking 5% of trips currently made by car will avoid 2.9 gigatons of CO2. The work of slowing climate change will necessarily be multifaceted, and involve radical, innovative thinking–but human-scale streets are a solution that have been in front of us all along, and need a place on summit stages alongside their flashier counterparts.
Your open plan office probably isn’t completely open plan. More likely, it’s a hybrid, with mixes of desks crowded on communal tables and private spaces for people to hold meetings or take a break from the noise.
The Valencia, Spain-based designer Jaime Hayon has designed a new series of couches specifically for such hybrid offices. Unlike most couches, which have low backs, Hayon’s Plenum couches for the Danish furniture company Republic of Fritz Hansen have walls on three sides, giving whoever is sitting there privacy in an open space. It might be a good place to focus on work (or let you watch YouTube videos in secret).
Similar furniture exists for individuals, like these private work pods. But along with a version designed for a single person, Hayon has created a three-person couch and two-person loveseat with mini walls around them as well, turning a piece of furniture into a freestanding private conversation nook. It’s ideal for offices that don’t have tons of private spaces because the furniture can create a pop-up meeting room, no retrofitting required.
The idea is that having a sofa that’s comfortable and private enough to get things done at the office would make work feel a little bit more like home. But these pieces are also utilitarian: You can add on side laptop tables as well as USB and regular outlets at the base of the couch. Because as homey as they might seem, these sofas aren’t for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
The collection is available at Republic of Fritz Hansen, and range from $4,700 and $7,550.
Here’s a jarring fact: Chuck Grassley joined the Senate in 1981. That’s longer than I’ve been alive on this Earth. It’s also a year before the gathering where Christine Blasey Ford claims she was sexually assaulted by Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Many are questioning Ford’s ability to recall the incident, given the span of time that has elapsed. Yet few questions are raised about the amount of time people like Senator Grassley have spent as elected officials in Congress.
Which is to say that the number of jowls at today’s Senate hearing about Brett Kavanaugh’s fitness to serve a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court is blinding.
I’m not the only one to make this observation. What the hearing makes clear is that most of the senators leading this investigation, and grilling Ford about a traumatic experience from three decades ago, are very old. Which leads to the simple conclusion that senators need term limits.
We need term limits, y’all. Desperately. #KavanaughHearings
— Ebony Elizabeth (@Ebonyteach) September 27, 2018
Grassley kicks it off by making a great case for term limits.
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) September 27, 2018
We’re entering a new era of American politics and discourse, punctuated by movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter. It’s an era that requires care and understanding, as well as an updated methodology for approaching sensitive cultural issues. This is something that people like Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, clearly do not have. We saw this early on in the hearing when he unceremoniously interrupted his colleague Senator Feinstein when she was trying to introduce Ford. It was not the only instance in which he demonstrated his lack of decorum.
But while the country watches a group of old people ask un-delicate questions about trauma and sexual assault, it becomes abundantly clear that a political shakeup is necessary. Public dialog is progressing–making it possible for more women and marginalized people to tell their stories with even the slightest hope of being heard–but the people making the political decisions remain bygone and seemingly fastened. They are career politicians whose decisions may be swayed by the money funneling in, yet their cultural understanding is stuck in decades past.
Currently, the U.S. Constitution requires no term limits for senators, which is precisely why people like Chuck Grassley are able to hold such a position for for 37 years. But maybe now would be a good time to rethink this. While an overwhelmingly white, male, and old group of people interrogate a woman who voluntarily came forward with a harrowing story, the chasm between these senators and the people they represent becomes more than apparent.
Of course, it would take the senators themselves to put forward new term limits, which would put them out of a job. So we shouldn’t expect any changes on the horizon. But perhaps if more new blood gets elected, we can start to work toward this small but important change.
And you thought Brett Kavanaugh’s recent interview on Fox News went poorly.
During that wretched piece of reassurance theater, the embattled Supreme Court nominee presented his high school self as a virginal innocent and all-around Very Good Boy. During Thursday’s hearing, he took the opposite tact, putting his nasty side on display.
Throughout the whole process of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegations, and the subsequent others that have followed, Kavanaugh’s defenders keep bringing up his sterling character. This hearing offered viewers an opportunity to see that character in action.
Boy, did they ever.
During his time fielding questions, Kavanaugh revealed himself to be a bitter, bullying, temper tantrum-pitching sack of entitlement–truly the perfect Supreme Court nominee to reflect the Trump doctrine.
President Trump is "riveted" and telling people, "This is why I nominated him," in a positive way, per person close to him. Talking to lots of people inside WH about how he likes how Kavanaugh is fighting back. Admires the defiance.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) September 27, 2018
Kavanaugh came out swinging–or, rather, screaming–and went on to be combative with Democratic senators, refuse to answer certain questions, and give fishy responses to others. In one astonishing moment, after Senator Amy Klobuchar asked a very pertinent question about whether Kavanaugh has ever blacked out while drinking, the SCOTUS nominee turned the tables and asked her if she had. (A moment for which he would later apologize.)
In short, the uncooperative Kavanaugh embodied several derogatory terms men use to write off women: He was shrill, hysterical, and prone to pendulous mood swings. Don’t take my word for it, though. One photo captured the essence of Kavanaugh’s performance at the hearing better than I ever could, and it’s embedded in the tweet below.
every woman in this pic tho pic.twitter.com/6Y2SvY4YlU
— Gustavo Luis (@verygooster) September 27, 2018
The look of revulsion on those women witnessing the belligerent SCOTUS nominee defend his good name–women who were there to support him, I should add–were likely shared by millions of other women all over America.
And they vote.
A 24-year-old Taiwanese hacker named Chang Chi-yuan has posted on his Facebook page that he’ll begin a hack to delete Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page this Sunday at 6 p.m. local (Taiwanese) time, reports Bloomberg. Chi-yuan is a self-proclaimed bug bounty hunter who says he’s previously carried out successful hacks on Telsa and Apple. He says he plans to live-stream the attack on Facebook no less.
Announcing the upcoming hack on Zuck’s Facebook page, Chi-yuan said, “Broadcasting the deletion of FB founder Zuck’s account. Scheduled to go live.” The hacker has reportedly been sued before for his exploits after hacking into a Taiwanese bus operator’s systems, which enabled him to buy a bus ticket for just 3¢.
We’ve reached out to Facebook for comment on Chi-yuan’s upcoming hack and will update this post if we hear back.
Last year, Kevin Murphy, the Australian founder of the eponymous hair care company, was chatting with a couple of friends who had just returned from Bali. When they’d go to the beach in the morning, the sand would be pristine, but by the afternoon the beaches would be covered in plastic. “It comes in every day,” Murphy says. While locals attempt to clean up the plastic, it’s beginning to overwhelm the country, and it’s unlikely to stop: Up to 8 million tons of plastic make their way into the oceans each year. Over 5 trillion pieces of plastic currently litter the oceans, and by 2050, they’ll outnumber fish.
While innovators across the world are developing ways to unclog the waterway, like Boyan Slat, the young inventor whose giant Ocean Cleanup vessel just disembarked on its inaugural journey to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, some entrepreneurs, like Murphy, are realizing they can help. Kevin Murphy products are, after all, cased in plastic–around 360 tons of it are used in the production of the company’s bottles each year.
Starting next year, though, those 360 tons of plastic will come directly out of the ocean. Pack Tech, a Denmark-based packaging manufacturer that works with Kevin Murphy, has started sourcing ocean plastic, and working with partners to clean and shred it to the point that it can be reconstituted as a usable material. When Pack Tech approached Murphy and his team about the possibility of switching to 100% ocean plastic packaging, “we all made the decision really fast to move forward,” Murphy tells Fast Company. “It felt like kind of a no-brainer.” He announced it during the company’s annual industry conference in Las Vegas last week.
They did hit a slight snag, however, at the economics. Because sourcing ocean plastics is still relatively new and requires a complex supply chain–from commissioning the trawler boats to transporting the plastic to facilities where it can be treated and reprocessed–it’s around five times more expensive than virgin plastic. That, Murphy says, “was a bit devastating at first.” But the company’s financial team ran the numbers and determined that if the sale price of the products came up by 7%, the company could absorb the rest of the cost without damaging operations or drastically affecting its budget. “We have swallowed a lot of the cost ourselves to make this happen,” Murphy says, “but we feel the issue is so important to the future of the planet that we need to make that sacrifice.”
In the beauty landscape, which is dominated by large companies like L’Oreal, Kevin Murphy is still small–it has about 100 employees. But it’s growing quickly–at a rate of around 109% over the past three years–and distributes to salons internationally.
Murphy is confident that customers will be willing to pay the slightly higher price for the products in ocean-plastic bottles (the brand has somewhat of a cult following among high-end salons), and the company will be rolling out a social media scheme and a new label on the bottles indicating their origin next year.
Kevin Murphy is far from the first company to integrate ocean plastics into its packaging: Around 25% of the plastic that goes into the trays that hold Dell computers in place, for instance, now comes from the ocean, and the Lonely Whale foundation, which advocates for cleaner oceans, is working with other companies to help them integrate ocean plastic into their supply chains. Adidas, too, has developed a line of shoes made from threads spun out of reclaimed plastic waste. But Kevin Murphy is rare for going all-in: “Most other companies incorporate ocean plastic as a fraction of what they use, but we wanted to make a 100% switch,” Murphy says. The company is willing to act as a mentor for any other brand looking to make a similar shift.
After announcing that it has filed fraud charges against Musk for posting allegedly false and misleading tweets suggesting the Tesla CEO received funding to take his company private, the SEC held a news conference to discuss the charges further. And that’s where things took an unexpected turn, reports CNBC. During the news conference, Steven Peikin, codirector of enforcement at the SEC, said:
“We allege that Musk had arrived at the price of $420 by assuming a 20 percent premium of what Tesla’s then existing share price (was), and then rounding up to $420 because of the significance of that number in marijuana culture, and his belief that his girlfriend would be amused by it.”
While it’s unclear why the SEC believes that, Musk is definitely a fan of pot. We also assume the “girlfriend” the SEC codirector referred to is Grimes. While Tesla issued a short statement earlier about the SEC allegations, it has not commented on the supposed $420 stock price plot. We’ve reached out to Tesla for comment and will update this post if we hear back.
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018