By Alan Murray and David Meyer
August 21, 2018

Good morning.

Fortune’s 100 Fastest Growing Companies list is out this morning, highlighting the large, publicly-traded companies with the fastest growth in revenues, profits and stock returns. The top-ten contain some tech darlings—Facebook, (No. 6), Nvidia (No. 7) and Amazon (No. 9)—tech-driven platforms like Health Insurance Innovations (No. 1), (No. 2), Paycom Software (No. 5)—and tech providers Applied Optoelectronics (No. 4) and Arista Networks (No. 8). You can find the full list here.

Fortune data-meister Scott DeCarlo says one-third of the companies on the list are “tech companies” by S&P classifications. But I think that’s an undercount. Amazon, for instance, is classified as “retail.” Health Insurance Innovations, a technology platform for purchasing health insurance, is in “financials.” That misses the broader point: These days, most companies are driven by technology…particularly the fastest growing ones. Technology allows them to scale rapidly, at minimal marginal cost, and with relatively small investment.

It also allows them to grow without hiring as many employees as their pre-tech-age precursors. And that is changing the way the economy works. Last week, the Financial Times had an interesting story highlighting a growing body of academic evidence suggesting a link between fast-growing tech juggernauts, slowing pay growth, and deepening inequality. The story quotes a paper by David Autor at MIT and David Dorn at the University of Zurich showing that as the “economic weight of a small number of…’superstar’ companies has increased, workers’ slice of the pie has fallen in their industries.”

The more difficult question, of course, is what if anything to do about it. Some see stronger antitrust laws as part of the answer; others argue traditional antitrust is ill-suited for the “winner-take-most” dynamics of today’s business. It’s an important problem—but still far from a solution.

We’ll be exploring how tech dynamics are transforming non-tech industries at our Brainstorm Reinvent event, in Chicago on September 24-25, held in partnership with McKinsey & Company. Among the participants: United Technologies CEO Greg Hayes; New York Times CEO Mark Thompson; Weight Watchers CEO Mindy Grossman; Mondelez CEO Dirk Van de Put; Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield; and retired General Stanley McChrystal. More details here.

News below.

Alan Murray


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