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The game went viral. By February, it was topping the charts in more than 100 countries and had been downloaded more than 50 million times. Nguyen was earning an estimated $50,000 a day. Not even Mark Zuckerberg became rich so fast.

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Less than a year into his return as C.E.O., one thing is clear: the company’s fortunes are indelibly tied to those of its controversial co-founder. I'm leaving the company in two weeks,” Dick Costolo said abruptly, his face stricken, his fingers banging the wood-slab table before him. Costolo, the bald and lithe chief executive of Twitter, was sitting in the Waterthrush conference room on the 11th floor of his company’s headquarters, in the old Western Furniture Exchange and Merchandise Mart, in downtown San Francisco.

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Uggs are certainly ugly, or at least inelegant. They look like something Frankenstein’s monster would wear if he were an elf. The shapeless, unstructured boots, pulled on in a hurry, can make anyone look like a slob, which has made them the target of special scorn. For as long as Uggs have been popular, it hasn’t been hard to find someone furiously denouncing them. “Ugg boots are not sexy,” the Independent declared in 2003, “unless you’re Mrs Bigfoot on a lone mission across Antarctica to find Mr Bigfoot.”

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The grand opening of Target Canada was set to begin in one month, and Tony Fisher needed to know whether the company was actually ready. In February 2013, about a dozen senior-level employees gathered at the company’s Mississauga, Ont., headquarters to offer updates on the state of their departments. Fisher, Target Canada’s president, was holding these meetings every day as the launch date crept closer. The news was rarely good.

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Will the home-cleaning revolution be Uberfied? How one company tried, and spectacularly failed. The online home-cleaning startup was in the midst of an explosive expansion and only shut its doors two days each year: Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

But on this particular holiday, a booking had slipped through unnoticed, due to a website malfunction, according to a former employee. Rather than cancel an appointment at the last minute, Homejoy’s cofounder and CEO Adora Cheung grabbed a toilet brush and a vacuum cleaner. Then she headed to San Francisco’s Mission Dolores neighborhood and scrubbed.

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This is a grim fairy tale about a mythical company and its mythical founder. As I’ve seen over many years and many deals, in all but the most glorious outcomes, terms will matter way more than valuations, and way more than whatever your cap table says. And yet entrepreneurs – often with the encouragement of their stakeholders – optimize for the wrong things when they negotiate their financings.

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Philly was one of the last big U.S. cities to get UberX, likely because of the Philadelphia Parking Authority's (PPA) ferocious reputation. Even though it's popular and widespread (in April, Uber celebrated its millionth Philly UberX ride), UberX is still not legal here.

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Aboard the Italian-themed cruise ship Costa Atlantica, two days’ sail from the coast of China, at a special dinner for high-paying passengers, head chef Daniel Martinez began by explaining the concept of bread. “The bread, for us,” he said, “is like for Asian people, the rice.”

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