‘A $700 Juice Box’ and 5 Other Stories You Should Read
Here’s what you missed when you spent the whole week planning an April Fools’ joke only to have it blow up in your face like it always does…
Selected by Dillon Baker, associate editor
If you haven’t been following the drama surrounding The New York Times and the NFL, it basically goes like this: The New York Times released an article with evidence that suggested the seminal concussion research backed by the NFL actually had serious methodology issues that were willfully ignored. The Times also drew links between the NFL and the tobacco industry, mainly from the revolving door of lobbyists that went between the two businesses.
That’s not surprising. What was surprising, however, is how the NFL responded: threatening legal action against the paper and then running ads across social media promoting their litigious response to the article. It was the latest example of shady PR maneuvering that followed Amazon’s messy response to another New York Times exposé. Big companies are responding publicly and forcefully to journalistic investigations. Both Jay Carney and Joe Lockhart—the head of communications for Amazon and the NFL, respectively—come from political communications backgrounds: Carney worked for the Obama administration, and Lockhart for the Clinton administration.
It’s obvious that Amazon and the NFL have seen that treating the press the way politicians do—questioning their integrity, denying access, and undermine trust in the media—works. Trust in the media is at a historic low, in fact. The media has to take plenty of blame for the fall, but it’s hard not to see a slippery slope if this becomes a widespread PR trend.
Selected by Sam Slaughter, vp of content
As a born-and-raised Philadelphian living in New York, I spend a lot of time trying to explain the word “jawn” to people. Luckily I don’t have to anymore, since Dan Nosowitz’s engrossing journey into the etymology of the word does it for me:
The word “jawn” is unlike any other English word. In fact, according to the experts that I spoke to, it’s unlike any other word in any other language. It is an all-purpose noun, a stand-in for inanimate objects, abstract concepts, events, places, individual people, and groups of people. It is a completely acceptable statement in Philadelphia to ask someone to “remember to bring that jawn to the jawn.
Now excuse me while I finish writing this jawn.
The New York Times Magazine: What Happened When Venture Capitalists Took Over the Golden State Warriors
Selected by Jordan Teicher, senior editor
As a basketball junkie and an employee at a tech company, I’m the ideal reader of this story, which goes over the way a few VCs have been able to lead the NBA’s best team by treating it like a startup.
Journalist Bruce Schoenfeld profiles Warriors owner Joe Lacob over 6,000 words, trying to convince the world that innovation begets winning and success: “In the Warriors, Lacob saw a startup disguised as an underperforming business, a sports franchise that had been run autocratically — and therefore ineptly — as the industry evolved around it.”
Despite the extremely salty reader comments, which attribute most of the Warriors’ success to good players and luck, I think the article makes a strong case for the way office culture impacts business—whether you’re looking at an NBA team or a content marketing SaaS company. Any company needs talent and luck to thrive, but it’s going to be easier if that talent gets along with each other and feels comfortable disagreeing.
Is it the chicken or the egg? The hoverboard or the 10-figure valuation? As the Warriors see it, probably a bit of both.
Selected by Carly Miller, editorial intern
Peter Berkowitz is paying $400 a month to live inside a wooden box that sits inside someone else’s San Francisco apartment. And he’s turning the concept into a startup. No, this is not an April Fools’ prank.
To me, box-dwelling perfectly satirizes the trope of “the educated young people who think life is a brunch-fueled quest to ‘find themselves.'” But wait, am I just throwing stones from my overpriced glass box? I’ve been paying rent in the second-most expensive city in the country for eight years. During my last apartment hunt, as I visited rooms whose rent listed in the thousands, I found myself praying for at least four walls, space to get out of my bed, and a window. Please, god, a window. But it’s hard to see my absurd priorities amplified and reflected back to me—so I’ll go back to throwing stones.
My favorite Berkowitz quote: “If I meet someone and that person is disgusted by the idea of a box, then maybe I should be spending time with someone more akin to myself.” Is Berkowitz referring to other free-spirited, trendsetting entrepreneurs or actual homeless people who live in cardboard boxes?
Selected by Ann Fabens-Lassen, communications manager
Next time you feel guilty for smoking cigs and drinking wine instead of going for a jog, think again.
The New York Times: A $700 Juice Box for the Kitchen That Caught Silicon Valley’s Eye
Selected by Joe Lazauskas, editor-in-chief
If you hate the juice-craze and tech bubbles as much as I do, you’ll love this hate-read about a $700 machine that makes an eight-ounce glass of juice:
To make a glass of juice, you insert a pack ($4 to $10 each) into the machine, close the door and press a button. There are five flavors, including Sweet Roots (carrot, beet, orange, lemon and apple) and Spicy Greens (pineapple, romaine, celery, cucumber, spinach, parsley and jalapeño).
Each pack has a QR code on it. A camera in the machine scans the code on each pack and, using Wi-Fi, checks in with an online database. If the pack is no longer fresh, or has been deemed contaminated, the machine won’t press it. If the pack is O.K., the gears start turning and out squirts the juice.
So far, so complicated. But the real logistical feat is behind the scenes. To create those packs in the Los Angeles plant, workers receive truckloads of produce from nearby organic farms, triple-wash it, then chop it into specific shapes (carrots are finely diced, while beets are chunkier).
A specialized machine then fills each pack. The packs are then sent by FedEx to users, who order them using Juicero’s smartphone app.
Mr. Evans and his investors speak of Juicero being a “platform” for a new paradigm of food delivery. And they speak of commercial sales. Already, chain restaurants including Le Pain Quotidien have agreed to use Juicero. The hope is that bigger companies will put machines in their office kitchens, too.
A PLATFORM FOR A NEW PARADIGM FOR JUICE. I really hope this is an April Fools’ joke.