Pinterest

Virtual idea board. That was the initial idea behind Pinterest. It was envisioned to be a place to keep track of ideas and share new ones in the digital age. 

CEO Ben Silbermann has said that the point of Pinterest is to get people to “go out and do that thing,” and it’s certainly inspired a robust and loyal user base. The site has over three hundred million active users. 

Picture This

Image-based information is the driving force behind Pinterest. Users upload images or share them from websites, sometimes attaching links to relevant content. It’s a discovery style website, meaning that users surf through the content to find information that they didn’t necessarily know they were looking for. In recent years, the site has put a heavier emphasis on search rather than discovery. 

Pinterest has a web presence as well as app service on all major platforms. Its users can create content or share content that’s already been created, as well as message and follow other users. Advertisements and boosted content are mixed in with search results as a way to generate revenue for the company.

Copyright Concerns

One longstanding and significant concern for Pinterest has been the issue of copyright on its site. To combat this issue, Pinterest created a notification system in which copyright holders can flag content for removal if it violates their rights to the material. This is an issue that’s continued to follow Pinterest, as it encourages users to share and send content. The company has been adamant that it complies with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, in service of maintaining its safe harbor status. 

Other major issues that have come up for Pinterest have to do with its purging of misinformation and conspiracy theories. The company has regularly purged users starting in 2018 for sharing false information, particularly surrounding subjects like anti-vaccination and anti-abortion. 

Do the Things

Pinterest has long been a place for individuals to catalogue and share their ideas. People from all over the world use boards to brainstorm and plan for projects both big and small. Retailers use Pinterest as a way to showcase their products and share information to potential buyers. Companies like West Elm, Nordstrom, and The Gap use the site to gather referrals when users pin items that are relevant to their products. 

Though Pinterest started out as a website that catered to DIY and household tastes, favorited by parents, it’s grown far beyond that scope. There are a wide range of ways that Pinterest is used now, with every kind of topic imaginable now catalogued on the site. 

Pinterest did initially skew towards women, with more than 80% of the user base being women in 2012. That number has come down dramatically to less than two thirds of users being women in 2017. The user base of Pinterest now looks close to the user base of the internet in general in the United States. 

Massive Growth

Pinterest has seen a huge growth in the few years that it’s been operational. As retailers have come onboard with the company, its growth has increased. Pinterest is a privately held company, so its revenue isn’t public, but it’s grown to sixteen hundred employees and is active in twenty-seven languages. 

With continued adaptation and improvement based on its extensive data gathering process, expect this San Francisco-based company to continue to change the way that people think about getting things done.

Instagram

The idea that you could make a living off of being an influencer is a new one, and it’s one that is fueled by the Instagram platform. This company has made its name by pushing the boundaries of what it means to be beautiful and relevant, transforming the internet from a communication medium that’s based on words to one that is based on images. 

Dramatic Rise

The meteoric rise of Instagram from a simple image sharing platform to the massive cultural phenomenon that it has become is breathtaking. Launched in 2010, the company grew to one million users in the span of just two months. Nine years after its launch it had grown to one billion users. 

The word Instagram is a combination of the words instant camera and telegram. The idea is that pictures are immediately available and that they are sent quickly like a telegram. Starting out with a half a million dollars in seed money from Baseline Ventures, creators Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger spread out from their original HTML5 project. It rolled out onto iOS in late 2010 and is now available across platforms, including on the web. 

A Subsidiary of Facebook

Just prior to Facebook’s initial public offering in 2012, the company put out word that it was buying Instagram. The deal went for one billion dollars, and was the subject of a huge amount of buzz all over the world. Facebook reportedly used one fourth of its cash to buy Instagram, a huge gamble to take just prior to its IPO.

Throughout the buyout process and since, Facebook stayed committed to keeping Instagram as a separate platform from its own. Since its acquisition by Facebook, Instagram has gone through a series of major updates and expansions, all while maintaining its aesthetic and base functionality. The most notable of these expansions was to the web in 2016, though Instagram’s website is intentionally limited in scope.  

Like Facebook, Instagram makes its money by selling embedded advertisements.

Controversial Posts

The platform has not been without controversy. There have been numerous allegations of censorship levied at Instagram. The company has defended its stance as being tied to Apple’s age appropriate content guidelines.

Another major scandal that involved Instagram had to do with illicit drugs being posted for sale on the site after a report by the BBC in 2013. This continues to be an issue for both Instagram and for its parent company, Facebook. 

Filtering Reality

The cultural impact of Instagram is impossible to ignore. Its introduction of image filters has changed perception on almost a global scale. Instagram partners with support applications like Boomerang and Bolt that allow users to further manipulate photos and video. 

Instagram appeals broadly to young users. Young people have a tendency to look at and interact with the visual representations on Instagram as opposed to the text-based communication available on other social media platforms. 

In particular, Instagram has given rise to influencer culture, in which individuals leverage celebrity and outward appearance to monetize their lifestyle. Notable Instagram celebrities include Taylor Swift, Leo Messi, Kylie Jenner, and Ariana Grande. In order to comply with Instagram’s policies, users are required to flag content that has been sponsored by advertisers. 

Instagram has proven to be a social media platform that caters to user needs and desires while remaining an open platform. Its visual communication style with minimal text allows it to be an influencer itself.

Nissan

Good things come in compact, economic, sensible packages. 

Nissan is the sixth top automobile manufacturer in the world, behind General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, Hyundai, and Toyota. It commands a huge share of the international car market, with a production of over five and a half million units per year and a net income of almost seven hundred and fifty billion yen. For over one hundred years, Nissan has produced automobiles that are reliable and cost effective, two reasons for its longevity as a top brand. 

First is Sometimes Best

Nissan Motor Company is an international automobile and equipment manufacturer that is headquartered in Nishi-ku, Japan. Founded in 1911, the company has expanded hugely from its beginnings as the Kaishinsha Motor Works. It was the first car manufacturer in Japan. At the time, the company primarily made trucks as there was not a market for passenger vehicles. During World War I, Nissan ceased consumer production and instead supported the Japanese government in the war effort. 

In 1933, the name Nissan was formally adopted as part of the company’s profile. It’s derived from the abbreviation for the company on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Nihon Sangyo. 

The connection to America that allowed Nissan to make early inroads into the American market goes all the way back to one of its founders, Yoshisuke Aikawa, visiting Detroit to see American car manufacturing in 1908. Note that this is prior to the forming of the company. Using the best technology in car manufacturing from America was always a foundation for Nissan as a company.

Through all of its growth, Nissan has managed to dodge major controversy. 

Faster Cars

Despite having a reputation as a car manufacturer for the average person, Nissan has long sponsored and innovated in the arena of auto racing. It’s racing division is known as Nismo, and has been in operation since 1984. The company has manufactured cars that have participated in a wide variety of championships.

In addition to cars, Nissan is a major sponsor of the American football team the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, TN. It’s also the official sponsor of the Heisman trophy.

Future Innovation

The future is something that Nissan has consistently looked towards. It’s a leader in hybrid and electric car technology, introducing its Nissan Altra as an all electric vehicle in 1997. The Nissan Leaf became the first all electric vehicle to be mass marketed anywhere in the world. That distinction has taken the company forward in technology and lived up to some of those original ideals of the company.  

The company plans to begin rolling out autonomous cars in the future, with tests proving that the technology is possible to have safe and effective driverless vehicles. Nissan has worked diligently with the Japanese government to get approval for this incredible innovation. 

Nissan has been part of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance since 1999, giving it a wide reach and greater resources for innovation. Within this partnership, Nissan has continued to grow its brand, becoming the largest manufacturer of vehicles in North America.

Subway

In August of 1965, a 17-year-old named Fred DeLuca borrowed $1000 from a family friend named Peter Buck in order to open a restaurant that would sell submarine sandwiches. As a result, Pete’s Super Submarines was opened in Bridgeport, Connecticut as a submarine sandwich specialty takeout restaurant. 

In 1966, DeLuca and Buck created a company called Doctor’s Associates, Inc. They chose this name because Buck had a doctorate in physics and DeLuca was raising money to attend medical school. This business was created in order to manage the operations of any expansions of the restaurant. The pair opened another located of their restaurant in 1966, and, by 1988, they had changed the name of their up and coming sandwich chain to Subway.

The Birth of a Franchise

The first Subway franchises opened in 1974 after an already successful expansion to 16 owned and operated locations. The brand quickly expanded, becoming the largest “sub chain” in the United States by 1982. The first Subway location opened outside of the United States was in Bahrain in 1984. By 2010, Subway boasted over 40,000 locations around the world – all of them were franchisees.

Changing with the Times

Deluca died in 2015 from leukemia, and his sister Suzanne Greco became CEO of the Subway brand. Following her appointment as head of the company, the brand experienced a net loss in 2016 for the first time. This caused the closure of hundreds of locations. In spite of the loss, Subway remained the top food chain in the United States, still holding over 25,000 locations. 

Under the direction of Greco, Subway made changes to appeal to the food of a new generation. It announced a new logo in 2017 and redesigned its restaurants, introducing its “Fresh Forward” campaign. The campaign included new menu items, additional condiments, and bread made without gluten. 

However, the changes were not enough to stop net loss. For three years in a row, Subway experienced a drop in profits. More money was being used for advertisements to try to drive profits up, which ended up causing more profit loss. The declining profits were attributed to the changing tastes of the American people.

The Submarine Sandwich

No matter the rise and fall of the brand popularity, Subway has definitely been the leading brand of submarine sandwiches, commonly called “subs.” The restaurant offers a variety of different sandwiches and practically endless customization, making it a great choice for picky eaters who have to have their sandwiches made a certain way. The brand also generally offers wraps, salads, paninis, pizzas, and cookies.

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana took fashion runways by storm in the 1980s with their mixture of 1960s fashion and bohemian culture. They dared to be different. They dared to challenge fashion norms. This created an empire that is hailed as the defining fashion of the 2000s.

True Showmen

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana created the Dolce & Gabbana fashion house in Milan, Italy in 1985. They designed a specific style that was inspired by the 1960s. They began by launching a womenswear collection in 1985 that was followed by a collection of menswear and then a line of fragrances. 

Their first collection was modeled by local women instead of models, and it was called “Real Women.” In 1986, they produced a second collection and opened their first store. Their third collection was called “Transformation” and featured t-shirts, elastic silk pieces, Velcro, and snaps on models who changed behind “rickety screens.” Dolce & Gabbana set out to greatly impact the Italian fashion market with their fourth and fifth collections that were inspired by Italian cinema.

The Dolce & Gabbana brand introduced a knitwear line in 1987 and lingerie and beachwear lines in 1989. In 1991, the brand launched a leotard line. Their continued success resulted in the introduction of a menswear line and their first perfume to the brand in 1992. In 1996, the couple designed the costumes for the movie Romeo + Juliet.

In the 2000s, Dolce & Gabbana designed costumes for Madonna, Missy Elliot, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston, and Kylie Minogue. The pair were unstoppable! In 2005, the brand introduced a cosmetics line with Scarlett Johansson as the campaign’s face.

The Fashion of a Decade

The designers’ shows stood out because they created a story with their clothes, letting a movie play right before your eyes on the catwalk. They loved bohemian clothing and were not afraid of animal prints. By 1997, they had found tremendous success and announced their plan to retire at age 40.

In 2005, The New Yorker published that “Dolce and Gabbana are becoming to the two-thousands what Prada was to the nineteen-nineties and Armani was to the nineteen-eighties – gli stilisti whose sensibility defines a decade.”

Controversial Backlash

Even though Dolce & Gabbana were fashion icons, they saw their fair share of scandal. In 2007, the brand was criticized for featuring models wielding knives in their advertisements. Another 2007 advertisement showed a man holding a woman down on the ground while other men watched, which was said to be “illegal and humiliating to women” because the position of the woman wasn’t selling anything and was not necessary to the advertisement. It was called a “glorification of gang rape,” and the brand removed the advertisement. 

In 2012, it was reported that people in Hong Kong were not allowed to take pictures in front of Dolce & Gabbana window displays. However, an apology was issued by the company, and Hong Kong residents were able to take pictures in front of the stores.

In 2015, Dolce and Gabbana said in an interview that they oppose gay adoptions and believe that the only kind of family is the traditional family. They also criticized in-vitro fertilization and surrogacy because it was not natural. This angered the public so much that people called for a boycott of all Dolce & Gabbana products.

In 2018, a series of videos that were released by the brand sparked remarks about the brand’s racism and lack of understanding of Chinese culture because they featured a Chinese woman intentionally narrowing her eyes and attempting to eat Italian food with chopsticks. Dolce & Gabbana eventually removed the videos.

In spite of the controversy, Dolce & Gabbana continue to be at the forefront of fashion.