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Thrilling Tales of Modern Capitalism

Slate

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.

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.

Location:

United States

Networks:

Slate

Description:

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.

Language:

English


Episodes

Purple Reign | The Story of Manischewitz

12/18/2020
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:23:32

Kingpins | The Business of Pinterest

12/11/2020
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 choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:27:37

The Tithes Are Turning | The GoFundMe Story

12/4/2020
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

Duration:00:22:54

Unforgiven | Wells Fargo

11/20/2020
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 more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:34:56

The Shocking True Story of the National Enquirer

11/13/2020
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 episodes of shows like Dear Prudence and Slow Burn. Sign up now...

Duration:00:26:30

Stroller Derby | UPPAbaby and the Battle for Sidewalk Supremacy

11/6/2020
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 members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like...

Duration:00:22:58

Mama Don’t Take My Kodak Loan Away

10/30/2020
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 of shows like Dear Prudence and Slow Burn. Sign up now to...

Duration:00:31:08

Brooks Brothers | A Button-Down Bankruptcy

10/2/2020
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 support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...

Duration:00:20:51

Overnight Billionaires | Airbnb

9/25/2020
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 Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows...

Duration:00:38:26

Queasy Rider | The Uncertain Future of Harley-Davidson

9/18/2020
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 your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:25:11

Fly the Unfriendly Skies | The Story of Ryanair

9/11/2020
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, and Asha Saluja. Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and...

Duration:00:23:11

Croc of Ages | The Strange Staying Power of a Cheap, Ugly Clog

9/4/2020
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 our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...

Duration:00:21:46

Boss Fights | Tim Sweeney, Epic Games, and the Quest to Slay the Mobile Duopoly

8/28/2020
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 support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...

Duration:00:25:30

A Man for All Sazones | Bob Unanue and the Future of Goya Foods

8/21/2020
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 podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Dear Prudence and...

Duration:00:26:21

A Tuna Tale | Starkist, Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea, and the Sinking of Seafood Empires

8/14/2020
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 Burn. Sign up now to listen and support our work. Learn more...

Duration:00:24:25

Thinking Inside the Box | The Story of Domino’s

6/26/2020
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 bonus episodes of shows like Dear Prudence and Slow Burn. Sign...

Duration:00:23:52

Kings of Consulting | McKinsey & Company

6/19/2020
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. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:32:51

The Fortnite Founder | Tim Sweeney and Epic Games

6/12/2020
Epic Games changed the world of gaming with its smash hit, Fortnite. But for founder Tim Sweeney, Fortnite was a culmination of everything he had learned since he received his first computer at age 11. 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 support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:20:39

Swan Thong | The Rise and Fall of Victoria’s Secret

6/5/2020
Although it’s known for making products for women, Victoria’s Secret was created as a shopping experience for men. It hit its stride in the 1990s, with stores in malls across America and a brand built on a very specific kind of fantasy: supermodels, angel wings, and diamond-studded bras. But when this definition of glamour—and retail— began to fall out of fashion, Victoria’s Secret refused to budge. Now, its future is in jeopardy. Casey Crowe Taylor is a former Victoria’s Secret employee....

Duration:00:20:40

Sanity and Sanitizer | The Story of Purell

5/29/2020
Before this pandemic, the story of Purell was mostly about innovation -- inventing something people needed before they realized they needed it. Now, it’s a story about something every business executive dreams of -- a sudden influx of customers desperate to get their hands on your product. But when demand surges so fast that the leading brand can’t produce enough of it, it results in scarcity and price gouging... and other companies jump in to fill the gap. When life returns to some level of...

Duration:00:18:58