This year's other honoree at the Rochester, N.Y., hall: the game of chess. Now, if Rubber Ducky's in there can Ernie (and Bert, of course) be far behind?
The yoga clothier had a big public relations problem earlier this year when women complained that some of its pants allowed too much to be seen. Founder Chip Wilson says any woman can wear his company's clothes, but "quite frankly, some women's bodies just actually don't work" in them.
The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2.8 percent during the third quarter, the fastest pace since the third quarter of 2012, the Commerce Department reported today. It beat the 2.5 percent growth in the Spring, and was better than economists' predictions.
But standards of living do not necessarily track with GDP. Many people can be doing worse, even as GDP climbs. A nation research and advocacy group says we should think about growth beyond quarterly reports from the government, and more in terms of what they refer to as "equity." And, no, they're not talking about stocks.
"When I use the term 'equity,' I mean just and fair inclusion," says Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and CEO of PolicyLink. "We have been leaving have been leaving too many people behind. And it's not only hurting them, it's hurting our economy."
By 2043, the United States will be a "majority minority" country. Glover Blackwell the future of the country depends on the economy being able to respond to this ongoing shift.
"If this nation wants to have a middle class, be competitive in the global economy, we need to make sure that the people who are going to be the future are ready for the future," she says.
Glover Blackwell says her argument isn't just a moral one. There's economic evidence as well.
"Inequality is bad for growth. The International Monetary Fund did a study of one hundred nations, and they found that for every 10 percent increase in equality, there was a fifty percent sustained, longer period of growth."
But in a country where the gap between rich and poor is growing wider, and significantly higher numbers of blacks and Latinos live in poverty, what can be done to fix these deeply ingrained problems?
"We need to make sure that people can get jobs that support their families," Glover Blackwell says. "Education at every level. Preschool through college attendance and careers, and we need to remove the barriers."
Glover Blackwell says that addressing racial economic inequality will benefit the entire economy, and country.
"If we had eliminated racial inequities in 2011, the GDP would have been $1.2 trillion higher. Getting people in jobs that pay family supporting family supporting wages, having people educated so that they can get the best jobs that their abilities will allow them to be able to do. These things allow people to create wealth for the nation."
We talk about IPOs (initial public offering, when a company sells its shares to the public for the first time) allof the time. Twitter, Facebook, the Container Store -- but in reality, most of us can’t usually be a part of them. The freshest of the fresh new shares are reserved for institutional investors (mutual funds, pensions) and very wealthy individual investors. Partly, that’s an issue of technological logistics, says Barry Schneider, CEO of Loyal3. And partly, it’s the way the system is stacked.
“Underwriters generally distribute shares to the wealthier clients, the ones that generate the most fees for them,” he says. That means small investors can’t reap the gains of getting an early, often low price for a share. “Why should a small class of people have access and everybody else not?”
Schneider’s vision he says, is to democratize the IPO process. His company, Loyal3 is a tech platform that bundles together small time investors who are excited about a brand into a big investor who can buy IPO shares. And there are no fees -- the company going public pays them. This only works if a company allows it and sets aside shares for this purpose. Schneider doing so can create a valuable marketing tool.
“That creates a more high affinity investor, an investor that is less likely to flip shares, they’re going to hold their stock longer,” he says. “People care way more about things they own than things they don’t.”
There are indirect ways to acquire IPO stock as well. If you own a mutual fund, you may well be part of an IPO.
“Investors need to look at it and say hopefully my fund manager is doing the homework while I go about living my life,” says Kathy Smith at Renaissance Capital. She runs a mutual fund (IPOSX) that is linked to both IPO stocks and recent IPO stocks.
“Individuals should not be frustrated that they are not part of the ipo process, they never were intended to be,” says Smith. “The IPO process is best when its about price discovery done by knowledgeable investors.”
An IPO is a technical process about determining the value of a company and it’s best left to the experts, argues Smith. Schneider, with Loyal3, doesn’t dispute that in principle. “We believe in Wall Street and the IPO process, but we want to augment that.”
Bottom line, if you want to be part of an IPO, there are now ways.