Sue the Government, Detroit Blossoms, and Ben and Jerry Don’t Go to Jail


Stop Asking Tech to Fight Your Battles
Microsoft is suing the Department of Justice, a bold move you might not suspect from a company that is still smarting from a crushing defeat back in 2001. In his weekly column, NewCo founder and editor in chief John Battelle shows why Microsoft’s action is important to all companies, not just its comrades (and likely allies) in tech. His message to industry: Get involved and stop outsourcing the future of your business to the tech industry.

The Two Stories of NewCo Detroit
There are two stories in conflict in the Motor City: the optimistic story and the realistic story. Both of them are true, yet at NewCo Detroit last week we saw one of them hold sway over the other. We left the festival with a sense of a city with a rich history in all kinds of making that’s zeroing in on the future. Here’s what we saw.

Building Better Customers
Stop thinking of customers as kings. That’s one of the lessons in Michael Schrage’s latest research into rethinking the value of customers in a digital economy (MIT Sloan Management Review). His argument isn’t that customers aren’t important, of course, but rather that helping them become better customers makes them more valuable (better means more active, more educated, and perhaps more dependent). He focuses on the work of digital platform companies, which redefine existing industries and supercharge success via network effects. For Schrage, it’s not so much who your customers are or what they want — but what you want to help them become.

Ben and Jerry’s American Dream
Looking for successful businessmen who stand for their beliefs? Go to the U.S. Capitol. Really. That’s where, earlier this week, Ben and Jerry’s founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were arrested as part of the Democracy Awakening protests against money in politics. Yes, it’s a stunt. Neither Cohen nor Greenfield will spend a single night in the slammer. But how many founders have we seen spending their publicity chits on something like this?

The Solar Shift
In yesterday’s Daily, we wrote about how quickly energy shifts can happen. Here’s a supporting data point: Piyush Goyal, India’s energy minister, says solar is now cheaper than coal (Climate Home) and he added that the country “is on track to deploy more than 100 gigawatts of solar power by 2022.”

Photo: Penn State

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