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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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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