As Stephen Colbert or any great satirist will tell you, a key to satire is to always stay in character. In The Onion’s case, that “character” is an absurd, alternative world invented to comment on the real one. Every aspect of the fake world has to ring true for the trick to work. That includes the visuals. When nothing you publish is real, every single image has to be made from scratch. “We want to make sure that we’re making our Onion-world fully realized and very real,” says Ben Berkley, managing editor of The Onion. It’s all in service of the joke.
Coffee crusaders, backed by caffeine-buzzed venture capitalists, are taking aim at Starbucks with a $7 cup of joe. And you might even consider buying it.
The designer has built a $3 billion global brand by creating stylish, wearable clothing that always includes a piece of herself.
A 40-year tradition of fantasy gaming wants to claim back its throne.
Jack Dorseys dazzling startup promised to transform the credit and finance industry. After losing $100 million, has his company lost its edge?
Real-estate developer Jamestown has perfected the art of creating the Next Hot Neighborhood. This is its formula—and where you fit in.
It is Sunday in Brooklyn, the July air oppressive. You get on the subway, heading for the depths of the borough, someplace no one you know lives—yet.
Off the train, phone and maps app in hand, you walk toward the pedestrian underpass of the noisy Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, meandering through a mix of residential buildings, bodegas, factories, and abandoned buildings. And then you find it: a huge, shady courtyard between two towering manufacturing buildings, strung with twinkling lights and tricked out with bars serving sangria, a taco stand, a dance floor, and most importantly, a DJ table.
You’ve arrived at Mister Sunday, one of the best daytime dance parties in New York. A sweaty, multi-ethnic tangle of scantily clad twenty- and thirtysomethings in barely-there rompers and jorts rub shoulders and butts on the dance floor with young parents with babies on their hips and aging disco-era veterans.
This throbbing, vibrant scene will play out each Sunday afternoon through the fall at a place called Industry City, a hulking 16-building industrial complex that had fallen on hard times since peaking in the mid-1900s manufacturing boom.
The hundreds of people who show up each week to party at Mister Sunday are out for a good time. What the carefree fun-seekers likely do not realize is that they are also a part of a powerful real-estate developer’s plan to remake Industry City—and the Sunset Park community in which it sits—into the Next Hot Property (with rents, of course, to match).
At Vidcon, thousands of teenagers line up to see their favorite YouTube celebs—and learn how to be more like them.
Susan Wojcicki built Google into a $55 billion advertising giant. Now she’s running YouTube. Her job: Do it again.
When Susan Wojcicki took over YouTube in February, she received almost as much unsolicited advice as there are YouTube videos. One open letter not-so-subtly pleaded with Wojcicki, ”So please, I’m begging you, please, please, please, don’t f*** it up.”
Can Jim Mason solve the developing world’s power problems with a temperamental machine that runs on garbage?
It is a challenge just to find the door to All Power Labs, an upstart alternative-energy concern in the industrial wastelands of far west Berkeley, California, and it’s not unusual for visitors to circle the block several times before realizing that the only way in is through a rolling gate with a small sign. Beyond that is what appears to be a scrap yard filled with old shipping containers and rusty hunks of metal. Welding torches spark and flare; walnut fragments litter the ground. And all around are iterations of APL’s main product, the Power Pallet, a contraption consisting of a large silver barrel on top of various other metal parts, all connected with pipes and hoses. It looks like something you’d use to cook meth. In reality, the Power Pallet is a small refinery, which converts biomass (nutshells, wood chips, corncobs) to hydrogen-rich gas, attached to a four-cylinder engine, which burns the gas to generate electricity. The weirdest part: It is, potentially, the most important and transformative energy product that no one has heard of.
Some of the biggest innovations of our time were created after hours. Here, the compelling case for trying out stupid things on the side.
“The only way a side project will work is if people give themselves permission to think simple, to change their minds, to fail—basically, to not take them too seriously,” says van Schneider. “When you treat something like it’s stupid, you have fun with it, you don’t put too much structure around it. You can enjoy different types of success.”
CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s audacious bid to rewire the app economy—and make his social network more relevant than ever.
Although Zuck has outlined his three-, five-, and 10-year goals for employees, he has never crisply explained publicly how all of these recent moves fit together, and that has gotten tech watchers buzzing about whether he and the company have lost their way. But after dozens of interviews with current and former employees, rivals, advertisers, developers, and users, it becomes clear that Zuckerberg has launched Facebook on an aggressive and potentially brilliant strategy—one that has very little to do with the company you think you know based on your desktop use of its social network. [Facebook granted Fast Company access to several company executives, but not to Zuckerberg or COO Sheryl Sandberg.] To make Facebook more relevant than ever, the company has targeted the very core of the app economy to fulfill its vision for the next half-decade. As the six lessons that follow illuminate, the great social network of the early 21st century is laying the groundwork for a platform that could make Facebook a part of just about every social interaction that takes place around the world.
A tech war has raged in China, and a winner seems ready to emerge. It’s Tencent—a controversial, $139 billion company with nearly a billion users, which functions like Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, and Uber all rolled into one. Now it’s gunning for global expansion.
Space elevators, teleportation, hoverboards, and driverless cars: The top-secret Google X innovation lab opens up about what it does—and how it thinks. Read more>