TIME Consumers

5 Times Big Business Actually Bowed to Pressure from Consumers

McDonald's golden arches signs
Kristoffer Tripplaar—Alamy

Elephants at the circus are only the latest in a string of victories

Given the power enjoyed by American corporations, it might seem impossible that ordinary people can effect change other than via government force, a.k.a. legislation or the courts. But when sufficient organized pressure from consumers (otherwise known as citizens) is brought to bear, corporations can, and often do, change their ways. That’s especially true when, as in many of these cases, business isn’t great. Here are five recent examples of consumer pressure forcing big business to change its ways:


This week, McDonald’s announced that it would phase out the use of chickens raised with antibiotics that are used in human medicine—a practiced that has resulted in the rise of drug-resistant “super-bugs.” Meatpacking companies had already been cutting back on the use of the agents, but McDonald’s move is seen as a major step toward ending their use altogether. On Friday, Reuters reported that Costco is, according to Craig Wilson, vice president of food safety, “working towards” ending the sale of meat treated with such “shared use” antibiotics.


The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus this week said it would stop using elephants in its shows. Animal-rights groups have complained for decades about what they have described as abuse. While the Feld family, which owns the circus, says Ringling Bros. isn’t reacting to critics, that seems like a bit of spin—if it weren’t for those critics, few people would realize how badly elephants are often handled by circuses, such as the use of “bull hooks” to tow them around. And without the critics, fewer laws would have been passed restricting the use of elephants—Los Angeles has prohibited the use of bull-hooks, for example. Such laws have made incorporating elephants into circuses cost-prohibitive.

Artificial ingredients

Nestle last month announced that it would remove artificial colors and flavors from Nestle Crunch and Butterfinger candy bars in the United States. This is a case not so much of pressure from organized groups, but pressure from consumer behavior. U.S. consumers are increasingly buying “natural” and organic products, and Nestle is simply responding to that demand trend. Nestle competitor Mars is also considering removing artificial food dyes from M&Ms. All these products will still be loaded with sugar and fat, but it will be all-“natural” sugar and fat (well, if you consider high fructose corn syrup to be “natural”—but see the next item).

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Despite the fact that there’s no solid indication that high fructose corn syrup is any worse for you than sugar (which is to say, not good for you at all), the substance is a favorite bugaboo of many food activists, some of whom go so far as to call it “poison.” And Big Food has responded, replacing HFCS with “real sugar” in many products. Sometimes, consumer pressure provides companies with new marketing opportunities, and doesn’t really solve any problems.


Genetically modified crops present a similar case of possibly misdirected pressure. The GMO issue is far more complicated than HFCS (with GMOs, there are real concerns about seed patents, and how much market power they accrue to corporations like Monsanto, further supporting our highly problematic industrial food system), but the anti-GMO movement, which is partly driven by the unproven assertion that GMOs present direct health risks, has similarly created marketing opportunities for big food companies. Unilever, Chipotle, General Mills, and scores of other companies have begun selling some products based on their being “GMO free.”

MONEY Shopping

5 Astounding Things About America’s Biggest Mall Planned in Miami

Courtesy of American Dream Mall

There will be hundreds of stores and an indoor ski slope. More surprising is the possibility of sea lion shows, submarine rides, and which group will likely be the most important customer base.

If a proposal first revealed this week in the Miami Herald is approved and actually built, the suburbs of Miami would become home to the largest mall in the U.S. It’s been estimated that the megamall will cost $4 billion to complete, but that’s hardly the only eye-popping factoid attached to the monumental project. Here are a few more:

It’ll occupy a whopping 200 acres. That’s roughly double the acreage of the Mall of America in Minnesota. The Miami megamall, dubbed the American Dream, has been proposed by a Canadian company called Triple Five. The firm also owns and manages the Mall of America, as well as another American Dream, a much-maligned complex near the East Rutherford, N.J., sports venues once known as Xanadu that’s taken more than a decade to develop and still isn’t open; and North America’s largest mall, the 5.3-million-square-foot behemoth with two hotels, a water park, and 800+ stores in West Edmonton, Canada.

The project is supposed to employ tens of thousands. Construction will reportedly require 25,000 workers, and about that many permanent jobs are expected to be needed to keep the complex running as imagined, according to Triple Five. As for the criticism that many of these jobs would be low-paying retail and tourism gigs, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez told the Miami Herald that all jobs are good jobs, though there seems to be some confusion as to how many jobs will actually be created. “Everybody is focused on high-paying jobs,” Gimenez said. “Not everybody is qualified for them. Twenty-thousand jobs are twenty-thousand jobs.”

There will be sea lion shows and submarine rides. Triple Five isn’t in the business of creating mere places to shop. Instead, it develops “tourism retail and entertainment complexes,” and points to a quickie Time.com post as proof that the Mall of America is the country’s “Most Popular Attraction,” drawing some 40 million visitors annually. (Meanwhile, a story from sister publication Travel & Leisure left the Mall of America off its “Most Visited Tourist Attraction” list because it wasn’t deemed culturally or historically significant.)

In any event, Triple Five markets its malls as full-fledged destinations, not simply shopping centers; one particularly ambitious plan envisioned chartered flights heading to Newark, N.J., just so rich folks the world over could visit the American Dream in the swamps of Jersey. Among the over-the-top features in the works for the American Dream Miami are an indoor ski slope, skating rink, water park, amusement park with a roller coaster, Ferris Wheel, live sea lion shows, hotels, condominiums, and submarine rides.

It’ll be neighbors with two other enormous malls. As the Miami New Times pointed out, the proposed American Dream mall is planned to be built in Miami Lakes, at the intersection of the Florida Turnpike and I-75. Given the location and scope, it would likely compete directly with two existing monster malls in greater Miami, the Aventura Mall and Sawgrass Mills—which currently rank, respectively, as the third- and seventh-largest malls in the U.S.

The mall isn’t necessarily aimed at Floridians. Instead, the key demographic that may lead to the American Dream Miami’s success (or failure) is that of wealthy international tourists. Foreign visitors constitute one-third of foot traffic at shopping hubs like the Aventura Mall, according to Miami Today, with an outsized portion coming from Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina. Canadians and Europeans come in abundance as well, and the foreigners tend to spend far more time and money during their shopping excursions than Americans because 1) they’re rich foreigners; and 2) it’ll likely be a while before they get another opportunity to go on a wild spending spree in America in the future.

Foreign visitors have even begun flocking to South Florida around Thanksgiving, and it’s not for turkey dinners. “More and more South Americans now really understand that because of the great discounts, Black Friday is a terrific time to travel to the U.S. to shop,” a Saw Grass Mills executive explained.

TIME Apple

5 Things to Expect from Apple’s Watch Event

Apple is holding an event in San Francisco on Monday, March 9 at 10 a.m. PT, likely to deliver new details about its upcoming Watch. While Apple first unveiled the Apple Watch late last year, it left plenty unsaid. Here are five questions we still have about the Apple Watch that should be answered during Monday’s event:

What does it do?

We know the Apple Watch tells the time, syncs up with your iPhone, gives you directions and more. But the Apple Watch was unveiled well before third-party developers had time to make new apps for it. With the Watch’s release date drawing nearer, more developers should be ready to show off apps that add new functionality to the Apple Watch—like the ability to pay for sandwiches for example.

How much will it cost?

Apple says the entry-level Apple Watch Sport will start at $349. But we still don’t know anything about the cost of the other models, which could range from the somewhat affordable to the downright pricey (especially for the all-gold Apple Watch Edition). Expect Apple to put a clearer price tag on the Apple Watch come Monday.

(Read more: Hands-On With the Apple Watch)

When can we buy one?

At first, Apple only said the Apple Watch would be available sometime in “early 2015.” In late January, Apple CEO Tim Cook narrowed that window down to “April.” But there still isn’t a firm release date for the Apple Watch—expect Apple to give us one Monday, and then set your calendars accordingly.

How will we buy one?

The Apple Watch comes in three base models (Sport, Regular, Edition), two sizes (42mm and 38mm), six colors (from “stainless steel” to “18-karat yellow gold”), and six different kinds of bands, some with different colors of their own. While you might not be able to mix and match to your heart’s consent, that’s still a boatload more options than you get with anything else Apple sells.

All those customization options mean you might buy the Apple Watch differently than you buy an iPad or MacBook. Early rumors pointed to an in-store concierge experience, while Apple could produce some kind of interactive online tool to help you make the perfect Apple Watch.

How long will the battery last?

Battery life could make or break the Apple Watch — if the watch can’t make it through an average work day, it could very well be a flop. Cook has already said he expects people will have to charge the Apple Watch every night, and Apple is reportedly working on a “Power Reserve” mode.

But how will the battery hold up exactly? Apple might give us some better numbers on Monday, but it’ll take some real-world testing before we’re really sure how the Apple Watch does.

TIME Next Generation Leaders

Mark Zuckerberg Has Advice for Young People Who Want to Change the World

Mark Zuckerberg attendes Mobile World Congress 2015
David Ramos—Getty Images Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg speaks during his keynote conference during the first day of the Mobile World Congress 2015 at the Fira Gran Via complex on March 2, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.

The Facebook founder and CEO knows experience isn't everything

Advice is a valuable commodity when it comes to learning leadership. But according to Mark Zuckerberg, sometimes listening to yourself is the most important advice.

The Facebook CEO held a town hall-style question and answer session at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Mar. 4, where he addressed topics such as his hiring practices, the ideal team size and working with Sheryl Sandberg.

But one of the most insightful moments from the Q&A came when Zuckerberg was asked what advice he had for young people with world-changing ideas. The 30-year-old billionaire said, “The most important thing is to just have faith in yourself and trust yourself. When you’re young, you hear that you don’t have experience to do things, that there are people that have more experience than you. [But] I started Facebook when I was 19.”

“Don’t discount yourself, no matter what you’re doing,” he continued. “Everyone has a unique perspective that they can bring to the world.”

TIME Careers & Workplace

4 Ways to Make a Real Change Without Huge Investment

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Tap into the knowledge already available and think of ways this knowledge can be spread


In India, 600 million people live in rural communities, where agricultural instruction is essential. For decades, the Ministry of Agriculture would broadcast how-to videos, but they weren’t specific to the vast cultural and ethnic differences within India. The one-size-fits-all approach did not translate across the different farming communities.

Enter Rikin Gandhi, who tackled this problem from a radically different angle with the creation of Digital Green, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that gives phones, handheld cameras and videography training to farmers from different rural villages all over India, enabling them to create low-cost, how-to videos on farming strategies and techniques.

The next step was creating Farmerbook, a social media platform that hosts the how-to videos and allows farmers from all over India to connect with one another. (So far, the platform hosts more than 2,600 videos in 20 languages.) Since many farmers don’t have Internet access, Digital Green also tours the country to offer local screenings.

Gandhi helped create a tailored educational program that serves the diverse needs of India’s huge rural population by spending even less money than the government.

4 Ways to Make More with Less

Below are four key lessons to make real change without a huge investment by tapping into today’s connective possibilities.

1. Don’t rely on top-down approaches to problem solving. The best way to help people is to tap into the knowledge already available and think of ways this knowledge can be spread. Cheap technology, like smartphones and handheld video cameras, means lower production costs. The sometimes-out-of-touch authorities no longer have the monopoly on information. In India, Digital Green has been far more successful than the existing government-sponsored program. In fact, when compared with the educational farming tools offered by the government, for every dollar spent, Digital Green has persuaded seven times as many farmers to adopt new practices.

2. Listen to feedback to see where you can create more connection. This is marketing 101: Listen to your customers. But ask yourself if you are really open to hearing the needs of your clients, even if they may be about something you don’t normally do. Sometimes we filter when we listen, having a preconceived notion of what our product is and how we can be of service, but new connections are made and new companies are launched when we listen openly. Gandhi offered the farmers a needed product — the videos — but he didn’t stop after the product was delivered. He listened and realized that the first question always asked was not about the farming techniques, but about who the farmers in the videos were. This led him in a whole new direction, fulfilling the need for connection, with his creation of Farmerbook.

3. Look for where your product can be used for something other than its intended purpose. Look at where the product you already have could serve a different need. This is the beauty of open source data collection. Farmerbook was collecting all sorts of data about which farmers adopted different practices in which districts, valuable information for agricultural NGOs. Now data collected by the project and Farmerbook is saving money for NGOs by tracking the effectiveness of the projects they manage and making appropriate, informed changes to those that aren’t working.

4. Turn failure into opportunity. Rikin Gandhi didn’t go to India to create Farmerbook or Digital Green. He had no intention of building a video catalogue to help farmers. He went there on a proposed biofuel business venture. But the key to his story is that Gandhi learned valuable lessons even in the midst of failure. His eyes were open to learning about the culture of rural India, and even though his original purpose failed, he was exposed to something that led to success in another arena. In a country as large and diverse as India, it makes sense to connect those who live in similar climates and who speak the same language — they can benefit from each other’s wisdom. Gandhi wouldn’t have been able to help that problem if he hadn’t taken lessons from a failure and transformed them into the seeds for a truly breakthrough idea.

This article was originally published on StartupCollective.

TIME Smartphones

Why Buying a Used Phone Could Be Your Best Option

TIME.com stock photos Social Apps iPhone Facebook
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

See how much you can save on your next phone

Buying a phone already involves tons of choices: Apple vs. Samsung, black vs. gray, 16GB vs. 32GB. But there’s another category you might also want to consider: Used vs. new.

Most people buy used phones to replace broken devices or upgrade to newer models. But a good chunk of consumers are purchasing used phones to save money in other ways, according to data from Gazelle.com, a site for trading in and buying pre-owned phones.

According to Gazelle, 17% of the site’s used phone buyers this year purchased the devices for their children, who might not need the latest and greatest devices. If your kids only need a phone for emergencies, for instance, it could be far cheaper to get them a used phone on a month-to-month plan rather than a shiny new device on an expensive two-year contract.

Meanwhile, about one-fifth of Gazelle’s used phone customers were buying their first-ever smartphone often to avoid two-year contracts that they don’t need or can’t afford, the company says. Another one-third of used phone customers were upgrading to a better model — though not always the latest model.

If you’re thinking about buying a used phone, here’s a look at just how much you can save on some of the most popular smartphones around:


TIME Careers & Workplace

How a 15-Year-Old Started a Booming Babysitting Business

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The New York City native's business now services 190 clients in the tri-state area

Growing up, 15-year-old Noa Mintz was always nonplussed by the cadre of babysitters her parents had hired to look after her, who stood off to the sidelines on playgrounds, fumbling with their cell phones.

“At seven, I would tell my mom, ‘You need to get more bang for your buck,’” the Manhattan native told the New York Post. “It would drive me insane!”

And so three years ago, Mintz, then 12, decided to take matters into her own hands. She formed Nannies by Noa over her summer break from middle school, a company that seeks to pair families with highly engaged caretakers.

Related: Teen Crafts Low-Cost Braille Printer Out of Lego Kit, Receives Investment From Intel

Initially, Mintz drafted nannies and babysitters from her own social circle and recruited others at SoulCycle to build up a network of sorts, according to the Post, charging a few hundred dollars to each family who found a match.

Helped by word of mouth and guidance from her dad, who works in private equity, Nannies by Noa eventually grew into a full-fledged enterprise, now servicing 190 clients in the tri-state area with a network of 25 full-time nannies and 50 total babysitters.

Today, the company charges 15 percent of each nanny’s initial gross salary (typically $50,000 to $80,000, Mintz told the Post) and a flat fee of $5 for each babysitting job. With reported revenues of $375,000 thus far, Mintz says she hasn’t drawn a salary just yet, but isn’t ruling one out in the future.

Related: How This Savvy 10-Year-Old Launched a Budding Cookie Business

In fact, business has been so explosive that, during a recent SoulCycle session, it dawned on Mintz — who is now in high school — that she should hire a CEO. Last July, she tapped 26-year-old social worker Allison Johnson, who had initially applied to become a nanny, to lead the company’s day-to-day affairs.

Johnson, who admits it was initially prickly taking orders from a tween, says that the two have now found their groove. “We’re in touch every day — phone and email,” Johnson told the Post. “She’ll get back to me during study hall. She can’t shut off.”

It’s a tireless work ethic that has paid off in spades. At the ripe age of 15, Mintz is already looking back on her accomplishments with a wide-eyed pride, knowing it’s just the beginning. “It’s crazy to look back and see that I gave people jobs. It’s amazing to see what I’m capable of,” she told the Post. “I always say, ‘Don’t let my age get in the way.’”

Related: This 13-Year-Old Entrepreneur Just Debuted Her Clothing Line at NY Fashion Week

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

TIME stocks

Apple to Replace AT&T in the Dow Jones Industrial Average

The entrance to the Apple Store on 5th Avenue in New York City.
Mike Segar—Reuters The entrance to the Apple Store on 5th Avenue in New York City.

The change will be effective with the open of trading on March 19

Apple later this month will be added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, replacing AT&T on the key stock market index in the first shake up since 2013.

“As the largest corporation in the world and a leader in technology, Apple is the clear choice for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the most recognized stock market measure,” says David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices in a statement.

Rumors had swirled for days that Apple would be added to the index, and the electronics gadgets maker has Visa to thank for the change. Visa’s stock split lowered the adjusted price of Visa, which reduced the weighting of the information technology sector in the index. Adding Apple to the index would help partially offset this reduction, S&P Dow Jones Indices said. Apple’s stock split last June was also a factor, as it brought down the company’s stock price closer to the median price in the DJIA.

Shares of Apple were up slightly Friday, while AT&T shares were lower. AT&T had one of the lowest prices among DJIA constituents. AT&T was also bumped because the DJIA was determined to be over weighted in telecommunications, and AT&T has a smaller market capitalization than rival Verizon.

Apple will officially replace AT&T after the close of trading on March 18 and the change will be effective with the open of trading on March 19.

The last change to occur to the DJIA occurred in September 2013, when three new members were added: Goldman Sachs, Visa and Nike. They replaced Bank of America, Alcoa and Hewlett-Packard.

Apple earlier this year achieved another key milestone: it became the first U.S. company with a market value above $700 billion, which added to an already long list of achievements for the electronics titan.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

3 Signs You’re Being Too Nice to Your Employees

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Being “buddies” with your direct report does not mean a relationship of mutual respect

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

When I was a freshman in college, I was appointed to lead a group of student teaching assistants—something I struggled with because I was younger than many of them. My professor sat me down and gave me a firm pep talk, telling me that I was being too nice and needed to be a more commanding leader if we were going to be effective as a team.

Today, nearly (mumble, grumble) 15 years later, I pride myself on being a leader my team trusts and respects, but there are still times I ask myself, “Am I being too nice?”

While being understanding and supportive are important qualities for any manager, many of us struggle with being too nice. As modern managers try to break the mold of old-fashioned, hard-driving bosses, some have swung too far the other way. And in an era of telecommuting, flexible work schedules, and collaborative workspaces, drawing a line between boss and friend can be harder than ever.

But there’s a risk with that. If being “nice” leads to managers putting off addressing workplace issues, problems can fester within the team and mediocrity can flourish. And perhaps worst of all, team members may struggle to grow if they’re not pushed out of their comfort zones, ultimately damaging both the employee’s career development and overall team dynamics. When you think of it like that, being “too nice” isn’t very nice at all.

Wondering if you might be going a little too easy on your team? Here are three telltale signs you’ve crossed into “too-nice” territory:

1. You’re Slow to Make Decisions

When it comes time to make workplace changes or decisions that affect your team, do you feel the need to delay decision-making until you’ve weighed and discussed potential concerns with every member of your team? While you certainly don’t want to rule your team like a dictator, the inability to make decisions until you’ve gained the full support of your direct reports is a sure sign you’re taking the notion of inclusion too far.

2. You Make Excuses for Underperformers

When employees are struggling to meet performance standards for their job, perhaps you naturally fall into a more nurturing role. Do you find yourself making excuses for employees’ performance issues—especially those employees you like on a personal level? Remember, employees, particularly those who are struggling, need mentoring and support, not mothering and excuses.

3. You Find Yourself Playing Counselor

All good managers want their people to trust them, and when you spend upward of 50 hours a week with your colleagues, you are likely to be exposed to a lot of their personal life. However, if your direct reports regularly flop down at your desk to complain about their latest dating disaster or shed tears about an argument with a friend, chances are the lines between boss and friend are a bit blurry.

If this sounds like you, there’s good news: Acknowledging that you might be a “too-nice” boss is the first step toward improvement. If you’re not sure, try asking colleagues, friends, and even your boss for feedback. Or, try to find a mentor who you think strikes the right balance. Think about leaders you’ve met in your career who did a particularly good job nurturing and pushing their teams, and see if they’ll share insights with you.

With some small adjustments to your approach and attitude, you may quickly find your relationship with your direct reports evolves from one of “buddies” to one of mutual respect. And isn’t that a better foundation for shared fulfillment and success?

More from The Muse:

Read next: 3 Things Good Managers Say Instead of ‘I Don’t Know’

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