October 6, 2013

As American manufacturing continues to improve, news reports about industry inevitably focus on the technological advances that drive many modern facilities. But not all of the nation’s factories are teeming with robots and high-powered computer systems. Due to razor thin operating budgets, a number of plants across the country use the same machinery they’ve relied on for decades. For instance, an Alcoa plant in Cleveland still presses aluminum alloys with a 50,000-ton forging machine that arrived on American soil from Continue reading

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October 1, 2013

The Dow Jones Industrial average is often considered a bellwether for the economy. This stock index of 30 large publicly traded American companies offers a snapshot of the nation’s fiscal wellbeing for analysts and day traders alike. Regardless of its popularity, however, the Dow is hardly perfect. Deciding which companies comprise the index is a delicate process that sometimes omits major players. For instance, a couple years ago we shared a story in the newsletter about Apple’s absence from the Continue reading

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September 22, 2013

When it comes to promoting a product, marketers usually have two routes they can take: either hype the item’s notable features or draw the audience in with something creative. Choosing the latter option is a much riskier endeavor, though. After all, it’s easy to forget a boring commercial. Advertising backfires worst when a company miscalculates the level of their own wit and unleashes a high concept disaster. For instance, last year a Pop Chips ad featuring Ashton Kutcher as a Continue reading

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September 19, 2013

For many budding tech entrepreneurs, getting accepted into a prestigious business incubator is almost as important as receiving a diploma from Stanford. The jolt of capital and resources provided by accelerator programs like Y Combinator or Techstars often act as springboards into multimillion-dollar successes. But not all startups want to become the next Google. Some would rather operate more like the Bill Gates Foundation by applying their innovative skills to addressing major world problems. While these aims are certainly noble, Continue reading

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September 14, 2013

 

For emerging economies, investment from foreign powers has long been a contentious topic. In fact, as recently as last year protestors lined the streets of India’s major cities against a series of reforms designed to open the country’s retail sector to foreign direct investment (FDI). The laws would allow companies like Wal-Mart and Tesco to buy up to 51% stakes in local businesses. The proposed reforms inflamed the fears of many Indians who felt that the economy would become Continue reading

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September 9, 2013

The stagnant economy has been tough on many Americans, but none more so than our nation’s veterans. Far too many military men and women come back home from overseas only to find a place almost as inhospitable and unwelcoming as the one they left. On top of a dire job market, many have problems receiving benefits from Veterans Affairs. Thousands of others struggle to come to grips with their post-traumatic stress, sometimes leading to tragedy.

Iraq vet Ian Smith nearly Continue reading

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September 5, 2013

 

A peculiar statistic has been puzzling economists ever since the economy began its recovery. Retail sales have climbed steadily over the last four years despite the fact that gains in reported income have stalled. So if people still aren’t getting paid more, where is this disposable cash flow coming from? According to some, one need not look further than the underground economy.

Then again, the sum total of unreported U.S. income isn’t a thing you can easily track on Continue reading

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September 2, 2013

When it comes to pulling off a corporate comeback, there’s nobody quite like Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. He’s had to fend off detractors at every juncture, beginning with those who denied his company’s ability to compete with the traditional video store. After almost singlehandedly ending that era of home video distribution, Hastings nearly lost it after he split Netflix’s streaming and DVD delivery services in two. The schism cost the company millions of subscribers and sent stock tumbling from $298 Continue reading

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September 1, 2013

Mom and pop vendors at many of the nation’s leading state fairs are having trouble competing with new corporate competition.

http://on.wsj.com/1dks49v

Questions:

  1. What major challenge have small State Fair venders faced in recent years?
  1. What additional challenges do small food venders at State Fairs face?

 

From The Wall Street Journal

 

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July 17, 2013

China’s surging economy has provided its citizens with a constellation of benefits that would have been scarcely imaginable even a decade ago. But of all China’s consumer-enabled freedoms, the opportunity for worldwide travel perhaps represents the nation’s biggest leap into modernity. After all, Chinese tour groups were forbidden from traveling to the U.S. until 2007. The following year, 493,000 Chinese tourists flooded America. That number has since grown to more than a million visitors annually. But that’s nothing compared to Continue reading

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