Tag Archives: fast company 50

Amazon: My Favorite Alpha Company Among Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative

I was thrilled to find out that Knewton made FastCompany’s list of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies, along with one of my favorite companies, Amazon.

It’s hard to imagine my life without Amazon. I bought a Kindle for everyone close to me, I order hundreds of books every year. I’m always on the look-out for something new–the random, the obscure, the contrarian, the overlooked classic–and Amazon facilitates my search through its exhaustive lists and recommendations. It’s an addiction I don’t hesitate to indulge in. It’s ferociously entertaining. It’s cheap, it’s good for you, it’s fun: what could be better?

As a writer who constantly experiments with different literary forms, I love how Amazon has encouraged long-form journalism, novellas, essays, and humor through its Kindle singles (short-reads priced at $1.99, “compelling ideas expressed at their natural length”). After all, not everything should be a novel or a full-length book. And finally, as a compulsive reader and knowledge maniac, I appreciate the price point of Amazon products. At any given point, I need to be reading 7 books at once and the aggressively low prices on Amazon allow me to do this. There is nothing in the world I prefer to spend my money on–I love how I can show my support for so many artists at once.

Fast Company Goes Electric With Tesla Motors

Named after the visionary inventor portrayed by David Bowie in what is widely considered the best magician movie of 2006, founded by a man who inspired Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark in ‘Iron Man’, and now lucky #13 on Fast Company’s World’s Most Innovative Companies list (along with #47 Knewton!), Tesla Motors is Silicon Valley meets Henry Ford meets ‘Back to the Future.’ (Just look at the doors on the Model X – I wouldn’t be surprised to find a Flux Capacitor inside.)

Two years ago, I had the distinct pleasure of driving a Tesla Roadster around a New York City block, twice. Pressing the accelerator can only be compared to watching the stars turn into starlines after Han and Chewie get the Millennium Falcon to jump into hyperspace. Mr. Musk and company are unabashedly swinging for the fences with Tesla Motors – but you know you’re onto something when the inventor of the internal combustion engine, Daimler, invests in your electric vehicle company. When I’m driving my Tesla Roadster on the SolarCity-powered Space-X Mars colony in 2050, I’ll be thinking of you, Mr. Musk.


 

We Made Fast Company 50 With … Starbucks!

I get a warm, cozy feeling from Starbucks. It’s very much like the warm, cozy feeling when I think about the fact that we’re on the same Fast Company list with them (they’re #24). Everyone knows that Starbucks is a giant in the corporate world. But not as many people know about its humble beginnings on a cobblestone street in the middle of Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington. I was fortunate enough to grow up right near Pike Place Market, where visiting the very first Starbucks location for my morning cup was a common occurrence. Only the old-fashioned sign and a small gold plaque give away the significance of the shop – well, that, and the line of tourists clamoring for a picture in front of the window.

Today Starbucks is much more than a charming spice, tea, and coffee vendor – it constantly pushes the frontiers of technology/corporate partnerships, from the in-store music promotions to the extremely cool augmented reality Cup Magic App. Starbucks will always have a hometown spot in my heart, and now, I’m excited to see it recognized as the innovative company it truly is.

Fast Company’s ’50 Most Innovative Companies': Knerd Favorites

Knewton Knerds are abuzz with excitement after hearing the news that Fast Company included us on their list of the world’s 50 most innovative companies. People are tweeting and “facebooking” how cool it is that we’re on a list with such greats as Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon and more. Some Knerds even decided to write little blurbs about the other companies on the list. Check it out!

Dropbox:

“When I’m not working at Knewton, I’m writing musicals. The team has a composer, arranger, orchestrator, director, designers, actors, producers, investors, stage managers, etc. We need to be able to share large music and text files with specific people at various stages of development. Dropbox allows us to do so very easily, and most importantly for us bohemians, it’s free! It always makes me wonder how anyone wrote musicals before the internet.”
-David Ingber, Video Team

Chobani:

“You’d think caffeinated beef jerky is the food of choice at tech start-ups. Nope. It’s fat-free yogurt. Large Chobani orders arrive at our office and are gone within minutes. Devoured. And for good reason: 120 calories and 13 grams of carbs gets you a whopping 16 grams of protein. 16! That’s 36% of your recommended daily value. Mix in a little peanut butter and you’ll have enough energy to keep up with the 23 year olds—except that they’re eating it, too.”
-Katie Kurtz, Business Development

Southern New Hampshire University:

“Southern New Hamshire’s online business feels nothing like the traditional undergraduate campus up the road. Physically, its office is a quirky mix of high tech and retro, with an open layout, scuffed wooden floors, and vintage neon signs advertising products like radios, refrigerators, and beer. Culturally, a visitor from conventional academe might be jarred by the sense that its staff members are selling beverages, at least judging by the office jargon: Professors are ‘procured.’ Programs are ‘flavored’ with concentrations like ‘social media.’ The education is called ‘a good product’. In many ways, it was hard to tell if we were on the SNHU campus or the Knewton office!”
-Ken Goldstein, Sales

Gogo:

“Goodbye overhead monitors and movies I didn’t pick; hello in-flight internet! Thanks to GoGo, in-flight WiFi access has come to the sky. Knewton signed a deal last year with Pearson, the world’s largest (by far) textbook publisher to power all of their higher ed content and find ways to partner on their K-12 and International efforts as well. Somehow I naïvely thought this would take some of the pressure off and reduce my travel schedule. HAH! Instead my travel schedule exploded; I took three week-long trips in January alone. I used to hate air travel. Now it’s the only time I have to myself to watch movies on my iPad and – because of GoGo – aimlessly surf the Internet. And when I do need to work at 30,000 ft, I can. Thanks GoGo!”
-Jose Ferreira, CEO and Founder