MILES TONES Signaling a commitment to
Ford replaced CEO Mark
Fields with the head of
its self-driving division,
Jim Hackett, and lured top
engineer Sherif Marakby
back from Uber to lead its
efforts in the space.
Fields’s reign, Ford was
already investing heavily
in autonomous vehicles
amid declines in profit
and more than 1,000 layoffs this year, which could
signal problems deeper
than a new CEO can fix.
MILES TONES Beef-free
burger patties from plant-based food company
Beyond Meat are now
available in the meat section of nearly 300 U.S.
with consumers beyond
its niche health-food audience is still a challenge,
and Beyond Meat has
fewer distribution and
marketing resources than
conglomerates like Unile-ver that are also pushing
into plant-based foods.
MILES TONES Lip-syncing-
network Musical.ly is now
delving into original con-
tent with new, short video
series in partnership with
and Hearst. The first two
shows to launch are Sev-
enteen’s Fashion to DIY
For and a version of Via-
com and MTV’s Nick Can-
non Presents: Wild ’N Out.
CHALLENGES Co-CEO Alex
Zhu has acknowledged
that users are increasingly creating comedy
and sports videos on
the app, rather than just
lip-sync routines—a sign
that Musical.ly will have
to think beyond music in
launching new features.
MILES TONES The foreign-language learning app,
already a hit in Europe, is
aggressively moving into
the U.S. market. It recently
hired a U.S. CEO and is
launching a new television and digital advertising campaign.
paid subscription model
might have a harder time
gaining traction in the
U.S. against free competitors like Duolingo.
MILES TONES The space
agency announced that
it will embark on a mission to the sun next year.
NASA will use its new
Parker Solar Probe to
gain insight into the sun’s
atmosphere and improve
the accuracy of satellite
CHALLENGES While NASA
fares better than most
government agencies in
President Trump’s proposed budget for next
year, the plan would
NASA’s education division
entirely, which promotes
STEM curriculum for
women and minorities.
California. It’s working to overcome
regulatory hurdles (along with
opposition from the American Op-tometric Association, or AOA) in
others. Georgia, Indiana, and South
Carolina, for example, require in-person eye exams. Warby wants to
change that by offering customers
with limited vision problems a
it even easier to buy its glasses.
The Sloatsburg lab, meanwhile,
gives Warby new agency over the
lens-finishing process. The outlet
currently produces a small percentage of the company’s glasses, but
that could change as Warby owns
more of the eyeglass ecosystem.
“As we scale,” cofounder and co-CEO Neil Blumenthal says, “we are
able to control each of these touchpoints and make them all super
MILES TONES The company will
open 20 new stores this year,
including its first locations in
Houston and Kentucky.
CHALLENGES The AOA has argued
that Prescription Check could
lead to users forgoing in-person
eye-health exams that reveal conditions like glaucoma.
The ultimate direct-to-consumer
brand isn’t content just to sell you
a pair of glasses. It’s preparing to
own the entire eyewear space. In
May, Warby Parker launched a Prescription Check app that enables
users to complete virtual eye exams
at home—no doctor visit required.
This comes a few months after the
company opened its first optical lab,
in Sloatsburg, New York, where it
cuts lenses to fit its frames, bringing some of the manufacturing in-house. “Building this technology
and opening the lab allows customers to stay within the Warby Parker
environment,” says cofounder and
co-CEO Dave Gilboa.
Warby Parker initially launched
the Prescription Check app—which
sends results to an eye doctor who
can only issue new prescriptions if
the user’s vision hasn’t changed—in
five states, including New York and
A NEW, AT;HOME VISION TEST IS A FEAT FOR THE EYES
Gilboa, left, and
their vision (and
MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES