Thrilling Tales of Modern Capitalism

Thrilling Tales of Modern Capitalism

Navigating the marketplace is the original choose-your-own adventure. Thrilling Tales of Modern Capitalism takes a company in the news, and looks at its history to figure out why it finds itself in its present circumstances. Host Seth Stevenson brings you stories you may not have heard about the brands that shape how you live and work. And whether they’ve succeeded or failed, these companies have been on more of an adventure than you may have imagined.... Show More

Episodes

February 26, 2021 24 min
Color is a beautiful thing that just exists in the world. But when color intersects with capitalism, somebody has to set some standards, make some decisions, and make some money.  Podcast production by Jess Miller and Cleo Levin. Note: This episode incorrectly states that Radiant Orchid was Pantone's 2012 color of the year. It was the color of the year in 2014. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows...
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How do you sex up the world of B2B “customer relationship management” software? For Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, it’s been a combination of ambitious acquisitions, skyscrapers, monks, and Metallica. Podcast production by Jess Miller and Cleo Levin. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Dear Prudence and Slow Burn. Sign up now to listen and support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit ...
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February 12, 2021 27 min
For more than a century, Hallmark has been a tightly-held, Midwestern business that’s mastered the art of turning feelings into revenue. But recently, it has run into trouble when it’s tried so hard to be inoffensive, it ends up offending. Can Hallmark succeed in an era when emotions might be getting too big to fit in an envelope? Podcast production by Jess Miller and Cleo Levin. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus ep...
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December 18, 2020 24 min
How did an immigrant rabbi use modern technology to dominate the millenia-old market for matzoh? And how did an almost undrinkably sweet wine manage to become the taste of Judaism?   Podcast production by Jess Miller with help from Cleo Levin. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Dear Prudence and Slow Burn. Sign up now to listen and support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megap...
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December 11, 2020 28 min
Pinterest is an online destination frequented by crafty moms and brides-to-be. But former employees allege that its internal culture is far from woman-friendly.   Podcast production by Jess Miller and Asha Saluja, with help from Cleo Levin and Seth Stevenson. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Dear Prudence and Slow Burn. Sign up now to listen and support our work. Learn more about your ad choi...
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GoFundMe turned charitable giving into another form of social media. Should we be concerned that Silicon Valley is profiting off of our most selfless intentions? Podcast production by Jess Miller, with help from Cleo Levin. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Dear Prudence and Slow Burn. Sign up now to listen and support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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November 20, 2020 35 min
The name Wells Fargo conjures up images of old western stagecoaches and pioneers. But when scandal hit, was this feel-good history enough to deflect attention away from the bank’s present-day troubles? Podcast production by Jess Miller, with help from Cleo Levin and Asha Saluja. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Dear Prudence and Slow Burn. Sign up now to listen and support our work. Learn mor...
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The National Enquirer played a large role in the 2016 election. Four years later, the paper has been merged with a company that sells corkscrews, umbrellas, and hand sanitizer, and its CEO has been ousted from his leadership role. What happened since its days of major scoops and supermarket dominance? Podcast production by Jess Miller, with help from Cleo Levin and Asha Saluja. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus epis...
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For certain parents, a stroller isn’t just a product—it’s a lifestyle signifier. For the past 100 years or so, one stroller brand at a time seems to reign supreme, until it’s dethroned by the next up-and-comer. Right now, UPPAbaby is that “it” stroller. But with new customers being born every minute, how do they maintain a stronghold? Podcast production by Jess Miller, with help from Madeline Ducharme and Cleo Levin. Slate Plus mem...
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October 30, 2020 32 min
Eastman Kodak revolutionized amateur photography, but after failing to embrace digital, it fell on hard times. Then, a lifeline came in the form of a loan from the federal government--to make not cameras, but pharmaceuticals. It sent stock prices soaring … but also raised a lot of questions. Podcast production by Jess Miller, with help from Madeline Ducharme and Cleo Levin. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes...
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For more than a century, Brooks Brothers defined fashion for a certain kind of east coast, American elite. It’s been the clothier to nearly every US president. So how did its madras start to bleed so badly? Podcast production by Jess Miller, with help from Madeline Ducharme, Hannah Klein, and Cleo Levin. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Dear Prudence and Slow Burn. Sign up now to listen and s...
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September 25, 2020 38 min
Airbnb transformed the experience of travel by turning ordinary neighborhoods into tourist destinations, and ordinary people into backdoor innkeepers. These people’s small businesses are the backbone of Airbnb’s big one. But facing a pandemic and a potential PR disaster, would the company prioritize its guests or its hosts? Podcast production by Heba Elorbany and Jess Miller, with help from Madeline Ducharme and Asha Saluja. Slate ...
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There are few more iconic pieces of Americana than a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. But its singular Americanness - the thing that has kept the brand popular for decades - may now be a harbinger of its downfall. Podcast production by Jess Miller, with help from Asha Saluja. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Dear Prudence and Slow Burn. Sign up now to listen and support our work. Learn more about ...
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Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary says things about customers and competitors that you wouldn’t expect him to get away with -- but he does. He takes business risks that others wouldn’t dream of -- and they almost always pay off. Now facing a global pandemic, will Ryanair’s signature “no-frills” model and its lightning-rod CEO weather the storm? Podcast production by Jess Miller, with help from Madeline Ducharme, Hannah Klein, Cleo Levin, a...
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Crocs once teetered on the verge of total ruin, but after a long, bumpy journey, the instantly recognizable plastic clogs are back. The fact that people hate them may very well be what saved them. Podcast production by Jess Miller, with help from Madeline Ducharme, Hannah Klein, and Asha Saluja. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Dear Prudence and Slow Burn. Sign up now to listen and support ou...
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A lot has changed since we first reported on Epic Games and its smash hit, Fortnite. This week, we bring you new reporting on how the little start-up that changed the world of gaming could permanently alter the way tech giants like Apple do business. Podcast production by Jess Miller and Asha Saluja. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Dear Prudence and Slow Burn. Sign up now to listen and suppo...
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Goya CEO Robert Unanue recently praised Donald Trump at the White House, resulting in a call to boycott Goya from the political left and endorsements from the political right. Did Unanue do this to jeopardize the sale of his company and to maintain control of what his family founded?  Podcast production by Jess Miller, with help from Madeline Ducharme, Hannah Klein, Megan Kallstrom, and Asha Saluja. Slate Plus members get ad-free p...
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A few years ago, the Department of Justice started looking into business practices in the canned tuna industry. What unfolded was a price fixing story so dark and disruptive, it threatened to upend a century-old industry.  Podcast production by Jess Miller, with help from Madeline Ducharme, Hannah Klein, Megan Kallstrom, and Asha Saluja. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Dear Prudence and Slow...
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Its chief digital officer called it “an e-commerce company that sells pizza.” Tasters across the country once said its products tasted like cardboard. But by cornering the delivery business early on, Domino’s set itself up for success—a gamble that especially paid off once in-house dining went on pause. Podcast production by Jess Miller, with help from Asha Saluja and Megan Kallstrom. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bon...
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Since its founding in the 1920s, McKinsey has become the gold standard for management consulting. But as its business grew, so did America’s wealth gap. Is that a coincidence? Podcast production by Heba Elorbany and Jess Miller with help from Asha Saluja. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Dear Prudence and Slow Burn. Sign up now to listen and support our work. Learn more about your ad choices....
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