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The Inside Story Of How Greenpeace Built A Corporate Spanking Machine To Turn The Fortune 500 Into Climate Heroes

How a "bunch of commies" are forcing the world's biggest corporations to stop destroying rain forests, overfishing, and burning fossil fuels.

Though they too wore business suits and what looked like P&G employee badges, they didn’t work for the consumer-goods giant. They were from Greenpeace, and they’d come to save tigers.

Wordlessly, the nine activists made their way past the security desk and headed for two rendezvous points — one, in a 12th-floor office suite in the iconic building’s north tower, the second, in an office just opposite, in the east tower. There, the two groups jimmied open several windows, attached rappelling gear to the window-washing stanchions, and climbed out into the chilly air.

AUTHOR:Aaron Gell
PUBLISHED: June 4, 2014
LENGTH: 30 minutes (7570 words)

Forget CSI

Faith in the forensic system—in large part due to Hollywood's heroic portrayals of forensic investigators—is at an all time high. But despite its invincible aura, the actual system is deeply flawed and at times flat out fraudulent.

In San Francisco last year, a police technician pleaded guilty to stealing cocaine from a crime lab, leading to the dismissal of hundreds of criminal cases that depended on evidence analyzed at the unit. In 2012, a Minnesota lab was temporarily shut down after a report found deficiencies in virtually every aspect of its operation, including dirty equipment, inadequate documentation, and ignorance of basic scientific procedures. In Houston that same year, a lab technician was found to be fabricating results in drug cases; about one out of every three reports he submitted was found to be flawed. District attorneys in the area were told that up to 5,000 convictions in 36 counties could be in jeopardy. Similar failures were uncovered in Colorado Springs, Colorado; St. Paul, Minnesota; Chicago; and New York. Even the FBI has performed atrociously shoddy work.

PUBLISHED: April 30, 2014
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4647 words)

The $30 Million Clinkle Mystery

The story of a 21-year-old Stanford grad who wowed investors with a demo and raised $30 million for a mobile payments service. He soon lost scores of employees, and the company still hasn’t released a product:

Says one former growth team member, “I never saw a direct demonstration of the product.”

The growth teams met ambitious goals by targeting the most influential students on campus, such as group presidents and fraternity and sorority leaders. The leaders were shown some images from the website, and the deal was sealed with a compelling prize: If the entire organization signed up for Clinkle’s waitlist, then all of them downloaded the app on the day it became available, the group could win a $500 party, spa visit or stereo-system package. None of the pitches included a demo of the actual app.

After July, Duplan had dictated that no one — including potential hires and even some employees — would be shown the app anymore.

PUBLISHED: April 15, 2014
LENGTH: 19 minutes (4944 words)

Taking Care of Business: A Reading List

This week's picks from Emily include stories from Orange Coast Magazine, The New York Times, Business Insider, and Bloomberg Businessweek.
PUBLISHED: Feb. 16, 2014

You Can Explain eBay's $50 Billion Turnaround With Just This One Crazy Story

How an employee secretly recruited a team to fly to Sydney and redesign eBay’s homepage, without the direct signoff of the CEO:

But now, in that cab at the airport, the manic high had for a moment worn off, and Abraham was suddenly facing reality. The reality was his plan had a few problems.

Abraham listed them off in his head. For starters, almost no one at eBay knew what he was up to — including Donahoe himself. It was unclear who was going to pay for the trip. Abraham had gotten the six tickets to Sydney through eBay’s travel service, but technically, he’d never actually gotten approval. As for the rest of the trip’s costs, his plan was to foot the bill and then expense it. Maybe they’d sign off, maybe they wouldn’t.

Then there was the little matter of where he and his team would sleep. There was a possible Airbnb apartment, but no confirmation.

PUBLISHED: Feb. 8, 2014
LENGTH: 24 minutes (6110 words)

The Story of Tim Armstrong, Patch and AOL

Another exhaustive biography from Nicholas Carlson and Business Insider, this time on Tim Armstrong, his hyperlocal startup Patch and his leadership at AOL:

“He’s a very loyal guy. He made a commitment to different parts of that matrix organization, and damn it, he’s not going to let them down. And even though we brought in McKinsey and they told us to unravel it and Tim bought into it as the right strategy, he couldn’t get himself to do that because it would have been a breach of his personal loyalties.”

This was the first time Armstrong would struggle to make a call that he knew to be the right call because making the decision would force him to hurt lots of people who had believed in something he built from the ground up.

PUBLISHED: Nov. 7, 2013
LENGTH: 52 minutes (13138 words)

Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Our story picks this week include The London Review of Books, Business Insider, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and Oregon Humanities with a guest pick by Jane R. LeBlanc.
PUBLISHED: Aug. 30, 2013

The Truth About Marissa Mayer: An Unauthorized Biography

An exhaustive, 22,000-word account of Marissa Mayer's rise from a focused student in Wausau, Wis. to Yahoo! CEO. Carlson goes back to her childhood to explore the traits that made her so successful at Stanford and Google, and he goes behind the scenes on the Yahoo! board's decision to choose her over interim CEO Ross Levinsohn:

"Over the weekend, Levinsohn played a guessing game with venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, Square CEO Jack Dorsey, and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. With each of them, Levinsohn and the other Silicon Valley bigwigs ran through a long list of names, trying to figure out who might be getting the job Levinsohn had so hoped for. For each name they came up with, they came up with a persuasive reason why that person could not be it.

"Whom had Wolf and Loeb so clearly already decided on?

"Finally, late Sunday night, Levinsohn got a call from a friend of his at Google.

"This person asked: Had Levinsohn heard that Marissa Mayer had interviewed for the Yahoo job the Wednesday prior?

"Levinsohn realized everything all at once.

"Levinsohn now knew who Yahoo’s next CEO would be.

"Soon, so would everyone else."
PUBLISHED: Aug. 24, 2013
LENGTH: 88 minutes (22073 words)

The Story Of A Failed Startup And A Founder Driven To Suicide

How financial and personal pressure took a toll on an entrepreneur:

"Before the fundraising, Sherman would push himself and others to raise as much money as possible for their businesses. After the financing closed, he began referring to venture capital as a 'fraud' and a 'sham.'

"Employees could tell something was off when Sherman announced the financing to the team.

"'He said, "This is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. And I hope to not have to raise more money for a very long time,"' a source recalls.

"Another source also recalled Sherman saying something alarming about this last round:

"'He said, "I had no business raising that last round of financing. I hadn't made our metrics or our terms—not anything near it. But I got it done."'"
PUBLISHED: April 5, 2013
LENGTH: 17 minutes (4430 words)