Silicon Valley's Hot New Snack Was Born in a Prison

Every startup needs a good creation myth. Not many can match Seth Sundberg’s story about his company’s founding. Sundberg left college early, not to write code but to play pro basketball. In time, he transitioned to real estate, managing a mortgage office in the Bay Area. The big setback came in 2009, less from the housing crisis and more from a fraudulent $5 million tax refund, which led to five years in a federal prison. In a matter of months, Sundberg went from the comfortable life inside a

Hubert Joly Brought Best Buy Back From the Brink

The first to fall under the Amazon steamroller were the bookstores. Then fell the music retailers like Tower Records, back when most people listened to music on CDs. Along the way, the big electronics chains began to find themselves struggling too. Doing business in one of Amazon’s core markets has long been a serious work hazard. One big retail chain has been holding its own in the age of Amazon. It’s not the Good Guys. It’s not CompUSA. It’s not Radio Shack. It's Best Buy.

How Postmates Survived and Thrived Despite the Naysayers

Imitation may be a form of flattery, but in the world of tech startups, it can also be deadly. Solve a common problem and copycats are sure to emerge, often undercutting you with lower prices even at the risk of burning through the piles of cash they have raised. Not long ago, it seemed like this was the fate facing Postmates. The San Francisco-based company built an app that wants to be nothing less than a remote control for your city, with food and other goods delivered to your doorstep an hour later.

Once a Darling, Xiaomi Is Facing Tough Questions About Its Future

Not long ago, China’s Xiaomi was being called the next Apple, an epithet that rankled some at both companies. “I don’t see it as flattery,” scoffed Apple’s Jony Ive, who said of Xiaomi’s business model, “I think it’s theft, and it’s lazy.” Meanwhile, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun felt the analogy was off the mark. “You can say it looks a bit like Apple. But it’s really more like Amazon with some elements of Google.” This year, Xiaomi is looking like Apple in a way few expected: It’s already struggling with slowing growth.

How Sony Got Up and Out of Its Death Bed

In the annals of consumer electronics companies that have slipped from great heights, none has taken a bigger fall far from its glory days than Sony. But after years of struggling to right itself, the company is finally making real progress on a turnaround. Just as Apple helped revive itself in the early 2000s with the iPod, Sony built much of its success on the idea of helping people carry music around in their pocket–first with the transistor radio in the 50s and 60s and later with the Walkman.

Suitcase Full of Blues Samsonite used to be the 800-pound gorilla of the luggage world--until it became an endangered species. - August 1, 2003

Suitcase Full of Blues Samsonite used to be the 800-pound gorilla of the luggage world--until it became an endangered species. (Business 2.0) – Things really got bad after they fired Oofi the gorilla. ¶ When Samsonite bought American Tourister in 1993, it also took proud ownership of a legendary ad campaign: Oofi savagely hurls a suitcase against the bars of its cage while the bag's contents stay serenely intact. An iconic statement if ever there was one. At first, Samsonite loved the gorilla.

Giving Dealers a Raw Deal

As Goodyear learned, manufacturers ignore the needs of distribution partners at their own peril. In 2000, when Firestone recalled 6.5 million tires linked to SUV rollovers, it was easy for Goodyear to make a convert of Bob Davis and his New Hampshire Firestone dealership, Yudy's of Portsmouth. After all, Davis was being besieged by angry customers, many hoping to scam free replacements for bald treads. To save his business, he took down his Firestone sign and hung up Goodyear wings.

66,207,896 bottles of beer on the wall

When Dereck Gurden pulls up at one of his customers' stores -- 7-Eleven, Buy N Save, or one of dozens of liquor marts and restaurants in the 800-square-mile territory he covers in California's Central Valley -- managers usually stop what they're doing and grab a notepad. Toting his constant companion, a brick-size handheld PC, the 41-year-old father of three starts his routine. "First I'll scroll through and check the accounts receivable, make sure everything's current," he said.

Why FedEx Is Gaining Ground

Why FedEx Is Gaining Ground By converting truck drivers into sales machines and bringing its ground-shipping tech into the 21st century, FedEx is giving UPS a run for its money. (Business 2.0) – It's late morning in San Francisco's South of Market district, and Ramon Umali quickly steers his green-and-violet Federal Express truck into a U-turn. One of his biggest customers--online adult-toy retailer MyPleasure.com--just rang his cell phone with a last-minute plea: Does he have room in his truck?

Starlight Express

Nanotech's promise is out of this world. Just ask Brad Edwards, who's planning to build a carbon-nanotube elevator that goes 62,000 miles straight up. Of all the revolutionary technologies just ahead, nanotechnology seems the most outlandish. Machines the size of molecules made from materials stronger than titanium, self-assembling computers smaller than bread crumbs: We've heard the hype about such microscopic marvels for a decade, but it's still kinda hard to believe.