November 22, 2019

Yesterday, we looked at how video game companies earn billions of dollars annually by selling virtual products to an ever-growing market. Inspired by the success of this unusual industry, some clothing companies have started selling digital outfits that don’t exist in the real world. For instance, the fashion label The Fabricant recently sold a virtual dress for $9,500 to the wife of a San Francisco tech executive. Although she cannot actually put on her expensive new outfit, she can Photoshop Continue reading

Continue reading...

November 21, 2019

Analysts estimate that last year consumers spent more than $50 billion on virtual items in video games like Counter-Strike and World of Warcraft. This lengthy but highly informative video explains why the market for virtual items has grown bigger than global box office returns for the movie industry. 

Questions:

  1. How are in-game economies similar to real-world economic systems?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of online marketplaces that sell virtual goods?
Continue reading...

November 19, 2019

Thanks to the popularity of streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, some lucky musicians can go viral and attract large fan bases very quickly. In the past, artists often had to tour across the country for years playing small clubs before they got noticed by major record labels. That’s not the case these days, though. For instance, the teenage singer-songwriter Billie Eilish released her debut album less than a year ago and has already sold out a stretch of Continue reading

Continue reading...

November 15, 2019

This week, Google announced that it’s launching a banking service next year that will offer “smart checking” accounts to mobile-focused customers. Known as Cache, the program is the result of a collaboration between the search giant and two banks: Citigroup and Stanford Credit Union. Although details of the partnership remain limited at this time, Google eventually wants Cache to become an extension of its Google Pay app. The company also claims that customers will “benefit from useful insights and budgeting Continue reading

Continue reading...

November 12, 2019

Major conglomerates like Procter & Gamble, Kimberly Clark and Georgia-Pacific earn more than $31 billion annually from toilet paper sales. But while this industry is certainly lucrative, it’s not exactly innovative. After all, one of the few significant developments these companies have made in recent decades is to sell larger rolls. Brands such as Charmin and Quilted Northern treat their products like commodities, meaning that they compete primarily based on price. By concentrating on value, the biggest names in toilet Continue reading

Continue reading...

October 4, 2019

In recent years food delivery startups like Postmates and Doordash have grown into multi-billion dollar operations by bringing takeout from all sorts of places directly to customers’ doors. But these companies don’t just service restaurants: people can also order everyday items from Walgreens or 7-Eleven and receive them hours later. Of course, consumers are more familiar with Postmates and Doordash as takeout services, not grocery delivery companies. 

As a result, both startups are brokering deals with retailers and supermarkets Continue reading

Continue reading...

October 3, 2019

This past summer, the startup WeWork heavily promoted what it promised would be a historic initial public offering (IPO). Analysts seemed to agree: Goldman Sachs estimated the office space leasing company could reach a valuation of $96 billion upon its stock market debut. When WeWork submitted the first documents for its IPO, though, the company settled on a potential valuation of $47 billion as it promised to change the world as well as the office leasing industry. Co-founder and CEO Continue reading

Continue reading...

September 5, 2019

In recent years, progressive policymakers have advocated to increase the minimum wage across the nation while other legislators oppose the measure entirely. Along with looking at the reasoning behind both sides, this video also explains how foreign countries deal with the complicated issue of the minimum wage. 

Questions:

  1. How does minimum wage policy in the U.S. differ from other countries?
  2. Should the U.S. develop a minimum wage system that is tied to inflation? Why or why not?
Continue reading...

August 30, 2019

For decades Lacroix sparkling water sat on the bottom shelves of countless grocery stores next to high class competitors like Perrier and S.Pellegrino. Too niche for regular consumers and too cheap for mineral water drinkers, LaCroix struggled for relevance until a company called National Beverage acquired it in the 1990s. Along with developing new flavors and adding more carbonation, the company also redesigned LaCroix’s cans and increased distribution around the country. By the mid-2000s many consumers began to turn away Continue reading

Continue reading...

August 27, 2019

Today’s top sneaker brands like Nike and Adidas are constantly releasing new designs in limited supplies. As a result, many “sneakerheads” often miss out on the latest styles while they’re available at retailers. That’s where resale sites like StockX come in. Unlike eBay, StockX doesn’t rely on straightforward auctions to move its merchandise. Instead, the company treats sneakers like tradable commodities that can quickly gain and lose value. For example, a pair of Nike’s Jordans could debut on StockX at Continue reading

Continue reading...