For Love or Meat Snacks

On a cloudless mid-April morning in Texas's Hill Country, about 60 miles west of Austin near a legendary honky-tonk town called Luckenbach, Katie Forrest and her husband, Taylor Collins, eye a herd of bison grazing in a pasture on the 900-acre ranch they purchased last year. About a dozen of the giant beasts have formed a protective circle around two baby bison as they amble, en masse, in their owners' direction. "Oh, my god, I can't believe they're coming over here!" Collins marvels, in the hushed, conspiratorial tone of a nature-show host. "This is crazy. This is as close as anyone will get to a week-old baby bison."

The Race to Reinvent Everything

James McKean wants to revolutionize the manual tooth­brush. It's January 2018. The 31-year-old MBA candidate at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School whirls his laptop around to show me the prototype designs. Bristle, as the product might be called, has a detach­able head and a colorful pattern on the handle--like faux wood grain, flowers, or plaid. Cus­tomers would pay somewhere around $15 for their first purchase, and then get replacement heads, at $3 or $4 a pop, through a subscript

The Untold Story of How Massive Success Made GoPro's CEO Lose His Way. Can He Recover?

Nick Woodman is crying. Red-tailed hawks wheel around the sky outside the wall of windows of the GoPro founder's hilltop office in San Mateo, California. A few miles east and far below, the San Francisco Bay twinkles in the late-September light. Mementos of a life spent surfing around the world, driving racecars, and hanging out with his heroes, like surfing legend Kelly Slater, line the credenza behind Woodman's desk. A day ago, the 42-year-old Woodman stood center stage in the planetarium at the California Academy

They Started With $10,000. Now They're Taking on ESPN

At any moment, I'm sure of it, Martin Floreani is going to leap out of his chair, launch himself across the table that separates us, clothesline me backward out of my chair, and pin me to the floor. At least, that's the look in his eyes, a barely contained animal ferocity. It's not clear whether he combed his hair this morning, he certainly didn't shave, and he has the kind of fixed stare and clenched jaw that you see on boxers when they meet in the middle of the ring before the opening bell.

The Shelf Life of John Mackey

Monday, April 10, was going to be a big day for John Mackey, but he had no idea how big it would turn out to be. The co-founder, CEO, and spirit animal of Austin-based Whole Foods Market was flying to New York to launch a tour to promote the publication of his second book, The Whole Foods Diet (summary: Go vegan, or mostly vegan). He was set to lead things off at the Lower Manhattan headquarters of Goldman Sachs, in a gleaming tower overlooking the Hudson River, as part of a speaker series at th

The Warby You Don't Know: A Beloved Startup Gets Aggressive

If Wes Anderson made a movie about startups, Warby Parker's New York City headquarters would be the set. Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa, the bespectacled and boyishly handsome co-founders and co-CEOs of the eyeglasses purveyor, sit in wood-and-leather mid-century chairs around a long library table in a room lined to the ceiling with books shelved according to the color of their spines to create a rainbow effect. Everything at Warby's offices in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan is as impeccably styled as this--a mashup of Mad Men-era ad agency and Ivy League reading room, with hidden doors to

Kids Inc.: Inside the Movement That's Training Kids to Be Entrepreneurs

On a cloudless October morning in Austin, hundreds of people stroll the grassy aisles between a half-dozen rows of white tents, where entrepreneurs sell everything from iced coffee to pottery to handmade dog treats, pickles, and gluten-free baked goods. One booth sells security software, and one sells wooden virtual reality headsets. At another, Baker Bros Designs, which sells stationery and change jars printed with psychedelic paint swirls, a handsome young man introduces himself and gestures

The One That Got Away. And the Lessons Learned

It's a rainy night. A man stands on the side of the road, pushes a button on his phone, an app pops open, he enters his location, and, voilà, the app tells him a car is coming to pick him up and shows him how far away it is. No searching for the local cab company's phone number and waiting on hold, no stepping out into traffic to wave around, no need for cash. It's 2008. Uber's ridesharing service doesn't exist. The app making this promise? Taxi Magic. If you don't recognize the name, that's bec

How Drones Are Changing Your World

Depending on what you’ve read, drones are devastatingly effective weapons of war, the next big threat to personal privacy, a revolutionary leap in video technology, or hazardous toys capable of chopping your fingers off. To be fair, there’s a measure of truth to all those statements. But you might be surprised to learn that drones will soon affect our everyday lives in a host of useful ways. People are already using them to deliver fast food to hungry teens in Virginia, improve the productivity of Midwestern farms, and even protect rhinos and elephants in Africa from poachers.

Hot-Wire Your Workout

That prickly sensation on the top of my skull? It’s just a couple of milliamps of positive electric current, roughly the same amount used to power your average household smoke alarm, flowing directly into my brain’s motor cortex. Suffice it to say: I’m a little uneasy about it. I’m sitting in a windowless lab, quietly gazing at stark white walls as my head continuously absorbs the tiny electric stabbings. No matter how hard I try, I can’t shake the image of a young Jack Nicholson thrashing his way through electroshock therapy in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. But unlike his electric current, mine is actually deemed safe, and the man administering my treatment is no Nurse Ratched.

The Mind Readers: Entrepreneurs Chase a New Tech Frontier

Deep in the bowels of Houston's 72,000-seat NRG Stadium, in a curtained-off makeshift room near the court where the Villanova Wildcats and the University of North Carolina  Tarheels are playing for the NCAA basketball championship, a small team of engineers and data scientists from a company called Lightwave huddles over laptops watching a stream of real-time data. But the engineers aren't looking at shooting percentages. The millions of data points show how excited the fans are every 10th of a

Unfinished Business: Why George Zimmer Can't Get Over Men's Wearhouse

George Zimmer, the Men's Wearhouse founder and besuited TV pitchman, looks a little startled as I enter his office. "Oh!" he exclaims in that famous languid and gravelly voice, and his hand darts up to his desk and shoves something small into a drawer while his assistant stifles a laugh. There's a distinctly skunky-smelling haze in the air, and the sounds of downtown Oakland, California, waft through the open windows. It's been almost three years since Zimmer was abruptly fired by the company h

Kevin Plank Is Betting Almost $1 Billion That Under Armour Can Beat Nike

"Have you seen Kevin's whiteboards?" If you spend any time at Under Armour headquarters, you'll hear that question again and again. Founder and CEO Kevin Plank really likes whiteboards, and his favorite use for them is to write out leadership maxims for his team. Inside and outside his office, whole walls of floor-to-ceiling whiteboards contain dozens of curt principles he's scrawled over the years: Expedite the inevitable. Perfection is the enemy of innovation. Respect everyone, fear no one.

Reclaiming Graniteville: After a Town Suffered a Terrible Tragedy, These Entrepreneurs Brought It Back to Life

It was just after 2:30 a.m., January 6, 2005, when everything changed in Graniteville, South Carolina. Norfolk Southern 192, a three-engine freight train pulling 42 cars, traced Horse Creek into a valley near the Georgia border and straight into the old textile town. At the center of Graniteville, population 2,600, lay a complex of industrial buildings owned by a company called Avondale Mills, at the time one of the nation's largest suppliers of denim. A short spur veered off the track a few doz

Do You Really Want Your Business to Go Public?

It doesn't sound like the start of a crisis. Last year, HomeAway co-founder and CEO Brian Sharples decided that his company needed to spend more money on marketing. It had been a few years since the online vacation-home-rental marketplace, which became publicly traded in 2011, had forcefully invested in its brand. Meanwhile, Sharples had watched competitor Airbnb become synonymous with the business of home-sharing, amassing a whopping $25 billion private valuation along the way. HomeAway suddenl

How to Build a Brand People Can't Resist

It was 2 in the morning when Bayard Winthrop woke up and, "clear as a bell," saw the solution to a business puzzle that had been giving him fits. He sat up and started scribbling as fast as he could on a pad he kept at his bedside, trying to get it all down before it slid away like a dream. This was back in 2010, when Winthrop was president of a San Francisco-based company called Chrome that made bags and backpacks favored by a pretty demanding clientele: bicycle messengers. He had been brought

The King of Kombucha

Within five minutes of meeting me, GT Dave, creator of the wildly popular fermented probiotic beverage GT's Kombucha, tells me the story of his conception: Late one night, his father rolled over and made love to his mother "in the lotus position, of all positions," he says. GT's meticulously coifed 69-year-old mom, Laraine Dave, is sitting across from us in the living room of her hilltop home, a white modernist affair perched above a steep canyon in L.A.'s exclusive Bel-Air enclave. She grins a

Welcome To The Maker-Industrial Revolution

This past February, in a nondescript industrial building near downtown Louisville, Kentucky, a few executives from GE Appliances set out to stage the division’s first hackathon. Louisville is home to the appliance manufacturer, but rather than hold the contest at headquarters, the executives decided to mount it offsite, in partnership with LVL1, a local hacker collective. For the past four years, the few dozen members—artists, mechanics, IT guys, retiree hobbyists, and even a few of GE’s own eng
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