Growing With Whole Foods, the Truth About Millennials, and Rethinking Megacities


Growing Up With Whole Foods
 Many food startups earn much of their cachet from doing things handmade and small-batch. What happens when those business get the call from Whole Foods and have to scale up quickly? This New York Times piece chronicles big loans and mold infestations, and it captures the combination of fear and excitement that comes when a company switches from selling store-to-store to suddenly having a large audience to serve. Whole Foods has tools — human, logistical, monetary — to ease the transition. This piece is all about the food biz, but it outlines approaches big companies in many industries can consider to help new suppliers grow safely and sustainably.

Your Millennial Assumptions Are Wrong
 First we hit peak millennial. Now we may be hitting peak everything-you-assumed-about-millennials-is-wrong. In The Atlantic, Derek Thompson goes deep on what we know about the typical 29-year-old in the US, based on a Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Putting to the side the fact that there is no such thing as an average person of any age, the report reveals that millennials are less likely to have gone to college, less likely to live in a city, and more likely to be married than conventional wisdom dictates. Too much reporting on millennials is really reporting on cultural-elite millennials; it’s useful to see these hints of the bigger picture.

Countries Are Out. Megacities Are In
 Forget thinking in terms of nations. Parag Khanna, who we saw a few days ago rethinking the United States as seven regions, says megacities are the new countries (Quartz). As he notes, “There are far more functional cities in the world today than there are viable states.”

The Downside of Easy Funding
 It’s different this time, the story goes. Yes, some unicorns are overvalued but as a cohort they’re pretty healthy and the inevitable culling won’t have broad ramifications. Benchmark’s Bill Gurley acknowledges that yet has published a long, persuasive, scary essay, Why the Unicorn Financing Market Just Became Dangerous … For All Involved, that lights a torch with those arguments. Gurley has been an ardent skeptic for a while, but he does lay out with urgency the impact any slowdown will have on all startups, particularly those lower on the ladder behind the unicorns, those second-tier companies whose outsized (and, in Gurley’s view, gratuitous) funding came from indiscriminate investors chasing the next Uber. Because they were able to get and spend money they never should have had access to, Gurley maintains, their fall will cause far more collateral damage.

Airbnb Wants To Make Your Next Trip Less Lonely
 Any time spent in your company’s app is less time spent in someone else’s, so it’s no surprise that businesses that generate most/all of their revenue via apps are stuffing in features that you’d normally associate with different vendors. One company expanding to an adjacency is Airbnb, which this week released a new version of its mobile app including “Guidebooks,” a city-guide feature inspired by the Lonely Planet approach. The curators for the guides are Airbnb hosts; will their ratings change based on the quality of the places they recommend?

Photo: Kimberly Varderman

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