None of My Business

Uber, Lyft, and Instacart aren’t the only companies that don’t want to be defined by what they actually do.

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Gig companies use the platform myth—that a business is not defined by the service it provides but the technology it uses—to evade treating their workers like employees. Yet this branding switcheroo has spread beyond Silicon Valley. Some of the companies that have embraced the trend of insisting that they’re so much more than their core businesses:

Audi: “We are a tech company that happens to make cars.”

Zappos: “We’re a service company that just happens to sell shoes.”

Big River Steel: “At our core, we’re a technology company. We just happen to make steel.”

Shea Homes: “We’re a service company that just so happens to build homes.”

Wild Alaskan: “Wild Alaskan is a tech company that happens to sell seafood.”

Delta: “We’re a Customer Service Company that just happens to fly airplanes.”

WestJet: “A digital company that happens to fly airplanes.”

Fidelity: “A technology company that happens to be in financial services.”

Sweetgreen: “We want to go beyond a food company and become a platform.”

Metals.com: “We’re not really a gold and silver company, we’re a technology company.”

Facebook: “We’re a technology company. We’re not a media company.” 

Marriott: “We are a media company now.”

Juul: “We’re not a big tobacco company.”

WeWork: “We are not a real estate company…We are a community company.”

White Castle: “We’re not a hamburger company, we’re a slider company.”

McDonald’s: “We’re not just a hamburger company serving people; we’re a people company serving hamburgers.”

Equine Express: “We are not a transportation company who does horses, we are horse people who do transportation.”

(Honorable mention) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, 1999: “We’re not a book company. We’re not a music company. We’re not a video company. We’re not an auctions company. We’re a customer company.”

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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