Fast Company

Q&A: Mekanism and The Influence Project

In July, Fast Company launched a social media experiment called The Influence Project, almost on a whim. The endeavor stemmed from a profile that the magazine ran on “creative company” Mekanism. In the article, Mekanism’s president Jason Harris says his company can “engineer virality,” and Fast Company decided to test out the theory. 

Together, they set out to create a metric for judging influence online, and the result became what is now called The Influence Project, which seeks to find “2010’s Most Influential Person.” Almost immediately, the project came under fire online, from journalists, bloggers and self-titled influencers who thought Fast Company was measuring digital influence incorrectly. 

The jury’s still out, but voting for The Influence Project comes to an end August 15. I spoke with Harris and Brendan Gahan, Mekanism’s director of social media, to find out how it all came together. And if they think they’ll be crowning the most influential person of the year next week.  

Gary Vaynerchuk and Fast Company’s douche bag problem

Gary Vaynerchuk may be one of social media’s runaway success stories, but he’s got more than a few haters out there. This week at Fast Company, he documents the issue of people thinking he’s a douchebag online. The subject is especially pertinent for Fast Company, considering that the magazine is currently dealing with a similar problem.

A few days ago, Fast Company debuted something called the Influence Project. Meant as a social media experiment to test viewers’ influence online, the project quickly garnered critics who called it a ponzi scheme and questioned Fast Company’s motives. The magazine is trying to redeem itself and prove that it is interested in the greater landscape of social media. But as the interview with Vaynerchuk shows, Fast Company hasn’t fully grasped the idea of influence online.

Why app stores are the business model for the 21st century

Forget about the Apple’s success with the App Store. According to an
article by Farhad Manjoo in Fast Company magazine, the app store model
may soon hit a “dead end”.

That’s because, he argues, developers don’t need Apple. As Manjoo sees
it, “in the age of the Web, developers can get their programs to end
users without anyone intervening