Climate Change Refugees, Everlane Opens Up, and a Silicon Valley Giant Passes


American Climate Refugees
It’s a terrible milestone: the first community in the U.S. to end due to climate change (Bloomberg). Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana is sinking into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a small, atypical community — a few dozen houses, all on stilts — but it provides an early look at how local and state governments are trying to help doomed communities, in this case by moving the whole thing somewhere else.

Why Everlane Opened Up
Everlane is an iconoclastic fashion brand (no advertising, no discounting, no seasonal collections), but it’s also important for its emphasis on “radical transparency” before that became a buzzy term. For example, Everlane breaks down the individual costs for each product: materials, hardware, labor, duties, transport, etc. In Business of Fashion, founder Michael Preysman riffs on why that approach was a differentiator. “We didn’t have this notion of ‘radical transparency’ straight out of the gate. It emerged from helping customers understand who we were and why we were doing things in a certain way. We said, ‘Hey, we’re making a t-shirt that normally sells for $50 and we’re going to sell it for $15.’ But how do you actually explain that to customers in a way they get? How do you get them to understand that it’s a really high quality t-shirt and not a t-shirt that cost us $3 to make? So, we thought we’ve got nothing to hide. Why don’t we just tell people exactly what it costs us to make?”

Silicon Valley Mourns Andy Grove, Who Helped Create It
Andy Grove is dead. The Intel executive was born in Hungary, lived through Nazi occupation and Soviet tyranny, came to the U.S. in 1956, and was part of the team that invented Silicon Valley. There will be many remembrances in the days to come of one of the key men behind the world’s most successful chipmaker and someone who was a mentor to many; we recommend Ina Fried’s in re/code as well as this compilation of management advice from Grove’s generation-ago weekly column for the San Jose Mercury News.

Reid Hoffman Wants You To Grow and Be Unhappy
Another founder trying to upend the usual way of doing things is Reid Hoffman. Last semester, the LinkedIn founder helped teach a course at Stanford about “blitzscaling” (an unfortunate name, but vivid), which he defines as “what you need to do when you need to grow really really quickly.” In an interview with HBR’s Tim Sullivan, Hoffman celebrates his idea and gives examples of it working and not (his takedown of Groupon is elegant but brutal), but he acknowledges “Almost every blitzscaling org that I have seen up close has a lot of internal unhappiness. The thing that keeps these companies together is the sense of excitement about what’s happening and the vision of a great future.” So, to succeed, you have to be able to move really really fast and practice really really delayed gratification.

Where’s Ello?
We’re tired of reading premature postmortems for Twitter. How about some genuine social network obituaries (VentureBeat)?

Photo: John McQuaid

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