January 20, 2016

Last year we featured a post about the unfortunate case of Texas plumber Mark Oberholtzer. In need of a better truck for his business, he took his old Ford F-250 to a local dealership and traded it in for a newer model. The plumber didn’t give the transaction a second thought until about a year later when the complaints started rolling in. Due to the extraordinarily complicated nature of the global auto resale market, Oberholtzer’s truck somehow ended up in Continue reading

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June 21, 2015

For many environmentally conscious diners, where their food comes from is almost as important as the food itself. Followers of the “farm-to-table” movement try to avoid items made on industrial-scale factory farms in favor of locally produced, organic goods. Over the years this concept has expanded from the stands at local farmers’ markets and into mainstream foodie culture. But while this concept works for farm-cultivated products like vegetables, beef and poultry, following fish from “ocean-to-table” is trickier to pull off. Continue reading

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June 17, 2015

In the 1960s Northeast Italy’s artisans banded together to form small family-owned businesses that depended closely on one other. Each company manufactured a single part of a finished product that held the entire town’s attention. For instance, the tiny burg of Montebelluna specialized in making ski boots, with dozens of companies contributing parts like buckles and foam linings. The town eventually became famous for its high quality footwear, producing about three-quarters of the world’s ski boots at its height. One Continue reading

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In an ideal world, FIFA, the global governing body of soccer, wouldn’t need to have its money management practices closely scrutinized. After all, FIFA is a nonprofit association whose primary function is to enforce the rules of the game and encourage its global expansion. In reality, however, the organization has been long accused of acting as a haven for corruption and corporate impropriety.

This much was confirmed in late May when Swiss police raided a luxury hotel in Zurich and Continue reading

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In an earlier issue of the newsletter, we took a look at the methods that Chinese authorities use to curb the production of counterfeit merchandise. For the most part, these measures focused on reporting knockoffs of big names like Nike and Gucci. But combating pirated products isn’t solely the problem of multinational brands. For instance, in 2012 Jeff Sasaki took his iPhone accessory company Element Case to a Hong Kong trade show. When he arrived at the convention, he found Continue reading

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When the stock market collapsed in 2008, the government deemed Wall Street’s ailing banks “too big to fail” and provided them with a multi-billion dollar bailout. The emergency loan ultimately saved the banks, but has provided no shortage of controversy ever since. To the financial sector’s critics, many of the problems caused by these banks stemmed from their enormous size. In fact, nothing much has changed since the financial collapse: the same five banks that dominated bond underwriting and Continue reading

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April 2, 2015

To many amateur investors, a company that brings in more than $1 billion in annual sales would seem like a pretty safe bet. But these numbers didn’t impress Wall Street hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson when he noticed them in a report about Lumber Liquidators. From his professional perspective, this small flooring retailer should not have been enjoying such large profit margins. Suspecting that the company was cutting corners in some way, he advised his clients to sell the company Continue reading

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March 24, 2015

Although business-class seats only take up a few rows on an airplane, the money they bring in accounts for 30 percent of global airline revenues. As a result, many upscale air carriers have upgraded their premium cabins with increasingly posh amenities. Emirates’ double decker Airbus, for instance, has a bar onboard where first-class passengers can meet and mingle. And on Singapore Airlines premium customers have a menu of more than 60 gourmet dinners available to choose from.

But while the Continue reading

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February 13, 2015

With a consumer pool of more than one billion people, India has become the next big expansion destination for companies around the world. While some businesses are still working the bugs out of their strategies for the subcontinent, other operations have hit the ground running and quickly grabbed up market share. Domino’s, for instance, now sells more pizza in India than anywhere else besides the U.S. thanks to its savvy combination of local and Western tastes. On the other hand, Continue reading

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February 7, 2015

As the world’s manufacturing superpower, China is home to thousands of factories producing millions of items each day. Keeping track of all that industrial output is far from easy, though. With little oversight to monitor them, some Chinese factories make knock-off or simply poor quality products, and then sell them to retailers as if they were up to standard.

While pirated items are mainly a headache for the company that gets ripped off, products made cheaply or without regard for Continue reading

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