In a lot of ways, the people of Kannapolis, North Carolina, are lucky.Eleven years ago, the community, about 25 miles northwest of Charlotte, was the scene of the largest single layoff in North Carolina history. All in one day, some 4,300 locals—a tenth of the town’s population—lost their jobs when the textile mill at the center of town closed its doors.
What is your dream? demanded a booming voice. The ballroom went dark and the audience settled in for a fifteen minute video catalogue of the stuff dreams are made of: a blur of luxury cars, sprawling mansions, frolicking children, pristine beaches, hot-dogging jet-skiers, private helipads, and zooming jets—all set to caffeinated, John-Teshy instrumental music.
On May 23 of this year, things were finally coming together for Rap Genius. Launched in 2009 by three Yale alums — Mahbod Moghadam, Tom Lehman, and Ilan Zechory — and refined during a stint with the well-known startup incubator Y Combinator, the company was completing the details of a massive $40 million funding round by one of the top investors in tech, a piece of news they had agreed to announce as part of a profile on Business Insider
One morning a few months ago, New Yorkers opened their eyes to a city that, seemingly overnight, had been blanketed in advertisements for a company called Airbnb.