Today’s Top Stories
— Is Mars Seeing the Light? A sugar giant rethinks what it puts in its customers.
— There’s Not Just One Sharing Economy. All companies in it are different. Some of them aren’t even sharing.
— Cincinnati’s Brandery Accelerates Startups By Supercharging Their Brands: See our latest video Spotlight.
— What LinkedIn Gets: The Microsoft purchase lets them do more, according to Reid Hoffman.
— Microsoft’s Cloud to Serve an Unlikely Cloud: It’s tiptoeing into the cannabis business.
— From “No Nukes” to “Mo’ Nukes”: Some environmental bellwethers rethink their opposition to nuclear power.
Is Mars Seeing the Light?
If you like M&M’s in your McFlurry, enjoy ’em while you can. Candy giant Mars, maker of M&M’s, is in talks to remove some of its sugary ingredients from products that are already high in sugar (Reuters). Desserts that feature its candies, like the McFlurry and Burger King’s Snickers Pie, “exceed in a single serving the amount of sugar the U.S. government recommends anyone eat in a day.” It’s unclear whether the potential move is for marketing reasons or because the company is truly committed to change, although no matter what changes it makes, Mars is still in the sugar business — big time.
There’s Not Just One Sharing Economy
Over at Bloomberg, Justin Fox conducts a fascinating conversation about the sharing economy with Arun Sundararajan, author of The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism. The key takeaway from Sundararajan’s book and this talk about the book is that the on-demand economy or gig economy or whatever you want to call it is extremely diverse: the sweet spot that Airbnb found between couch surfing and hotels is very different from, say, Uber’s model, which isn’t really about sharing at all. There’s no one model for success in this new environment.
Cincinnati’s Brandery Accelerates Startups By Supercharging Their Brands
In our latest NewCo Spotlight, see how this seed-stage accelerator looks beyond product to help startups differentiate themselves.
What LinkedIn Gets
Backchannel has a new home (it’s switched from Medium to Conde Nast). It opens its new home with an argument that LinkedIn chairman Reid Hoffman is Microsoft’s new secret weapon. Jessi Hempel goes deep with Hoffman, getting him to speak frankly about his new corporate ruler (Does Satya Nadella understand social? “I think he understands it well enough”) and pins down what precisely LinkedIn get out of being acquired by Redmond. As Hoffman puts it, “With Microsoft, that kind of future goes from ‘oh well maybe someday we’ll do that’ to ‘maybe we can start deploying technology on that very soon.’”
Microsoft’s Cloud to Serve an Unlikely Cloud
And after solving technology problems for LinkedIn, Microsoft is going into the pot business, sort-of. With more and more states legalizing marijuana despite the federal ban, Microsoft is offering a software moduke intended to track the Mary Jane supply chain. (New York Times), with the government agencies regulating cannabis sales as their primary customers.
From “No Nukes” to “Mo’ Nukes”
You’d expect The Wall Street Journal to publish the case for nuclear power, but this is a news story, not an opinion piece. Environmental Groups Change Tune on Nuclear Power focuses on how some of the most prominent groups fighting climate change, like the Sierra Club and the Environmental Defense Fund, are rethinking their longtime opposition to nuclear power. The thinking goes: It’s a carbon-free source and it’s much safer than it used to be (although tell that to people who used to live near Fukushima). This isn’t new — Stewart Brand has been making the nuclear case from an environmental perspective for years — but it’s a vivid case of longtime advocates changing their positions based on data, something we don’t see all that often.
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