Ross Ulbricht’s last moments as a free man were noisy enough to draw a crowd. Employees at the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco library heard a crashing sound and rushed to the science fiction section, expecting to find a patron had hit the floor. Instead, they found a handful of federal agents surrounding a slender 29-year-old man with light brown hair and wearing a T-shirt and jeans.
Before it all came crashing down, Marc Collins-Rector had convinced almost everyone that he was a visionary. By 2000, he had raised millions for a precursor to YouTube, called Digital Entertainment Network, or DEN, with the pioneering idea to distribute video entertainment not through theaters or television but on the internet.
Every time you set foot in a Whole Foods store, you are stepping into one of the most carefully designed consumer experiences on the planet. Produce is stacked into black bins in order to accentuate its colour and freshness. Every detail in the store, from the font on a sign to a countertop’s wood finish, is designed to make you feel like you’re in a country market.