The Self-Disruption of Zenefits, and 4 Other Stories You Should Read

Here’s what you missed while wondering how much news Facebook has hidden from the public…

The New Yorker: How Air Jordan Became Crying Jordan

Selected by Ann Fabens-Lassen, communications manager

Ian Crouch looks at the decline in coolness of one of the most influential athletes of all time: Michael Jordan. This is an interesting look at the power of social media culture. If the legacy of one of the most popular public figures of all time can be slowly beaten down by a photo-shopped meme, what does that mean for public figures today? Or for all of us normal people?

Gawker: Internet Video Views Is A 100 Percent Bullshit Metric

Selected by Joe Lazauskas, editor-in-chief

Seven months into Gawker’s foray as a mediocre politics blog optimized for a Greenpoint hipster’s Facebook feed, the site is finally dipping its toes back into the media-/marketing-criticism waters. Yay! If you work in marketing, you need to read this piece. It exposes the fallacy of online video views as a meaningful metric while taking digital media companies to task for the complete and total BS they were selling at the NewFronts conference last week. Now let’s just hope that Gawker returns to its true calling as a media-criticism site after the election in November.

Wired: The Cutesy, Bromantic Brilliance of Civil War’s Marketing

Selected by Brian Maehl, talent development manager

Though Disney has invested millions of dollars to spread the word about its latest Marvel hit, Captain America: Civil War, Wired takes a look at how the actors, rather than billboards and movie trailers, became involved in the film’s promotion—a savvy move given that Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. have played the same heroic characters for years.

It’s a luxury to have actors with such strong personalities and character affiliations that their social media channels can take on its own form of marketing. As sprawling movie universes become commonplace, could an actor’s web presence factor into landing a role? At this point, superheroes can’t just be stars anymore, they have to be marketers too.

NPR: Taco Bell’s Snapchat Game Is Strong Among Teens, But Does It Sell Tacos?

Selected by Jess Black, customer marketing manager

This week in earth-shattering news: The sun came up and Snapchat views might be worthless. For years, Taco Bell has been the baest of the baes on social media—especially among teenagers—but there is little evidence that this notoriety actually translates to revenue. I would love to on the conference call where someone says “Please refer to the SnapChat-views-to-Tacos’s sold chart.”

Bloomberg Businessweek: Zenefits Was the Perfect Startup. Then It Self-Disrupted

Selected by Jordan Teicher, senior editor

This crazy story about Zenefits, a human resources software startup that was valued at $4.5 billion last year, takes on the arc of tragedy. It emphasizes all of the best and worst qualities of disruptive startups: innovation, ambition, and a work-hard-play-hard mentality eventually drowned by greed and a lack of self-awareness. You’d think that a company with so much potential and value would be mindful of cutting corners and, in some cases, even breaking the law. But no matter how many cautionary tales get crushed in Silicon Valley, there’s always going to be some startup that chases billion-dollar glory at all costs.

Image by Getty
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