cowsWhen people think of the organic food movement, their thoughts will often wander to images of upscale urban grocery stores and the fancy clientele that patronize them. But the early days of organic food production certainly wasn’t led by city slickers. In fact, more than 20 years ago a group of Amish farmers developed one of the nation’s first major organic agricultural operations. Centered around the small town of Kalona, Iowa, this collection of primarily dairy farmers has thrived on Continue reading

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June 30, 2017

iphoneOne decade ago this month, Apple launched the iPhone and changed the business world forever. The rise of smartphones caused entire industries to collapse as new ones quickly appeared to take their place. Of course, the iPhone fundamentally changed Apple more than any other organization. Before the smartphone’s launch, the tech company earned 40 percent of its sales from iPods and had a market capitalization of $72.9 billion, less than a third of Microsoft’s valuation at the time. Today, iPhone Continue reading

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June 21, 2017

laptop-imageAs anyone who’s stayed up all night painstakingly crafting an essay can tell you, writing is often a difficult and frustrating enterprise. But until something better comes along, humans are stuck with the written word and all of its exasperating aspects. Businesses especially must make sure that they communicate clearly with customers as well as employees. After all, office workers spend a significant amount of time trying to make sense of bad writing, which reduces efficiency and ultimately costs Continue reading

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June 16, 2017

In Japan you can buy almost anything from a vending machine: hot tea, sushi, umbrellas, even bread in a can. This video takes a look at the economic and cultural factors that have contributed to Japan’s vending obsession, such as an excess of coinage and a shortage of unskilled labor.

Questions:

  1. How does Japan’s low birth rate contribute to its vending machine culture?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of relying so heavily on vending machines?
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raniel-diazSince 1967 customers have flocked to Trader Joe’s to stock up on such unusually named items as Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers and Chocolate Dilemma Cheesecake. And while the grocery chain has attracted thousands of loyal patrons over the years, perhaps no other customer has been as dedicated as Mike Hallatt. For years this Vancouver native would drive 3 hours south of his Canadian hometown to Seattle where he would pack his car with as many Trader Joe’s products as he Continue reading

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meal-kitFor those who don’t want to take a trip to the grocery store or dine out, meal-kit startups like Blue Apron and HelloFresh bring dinner right to your doorstep. These companies place all the ingredients you need into a box along with detailed instructions about how to prepare your meal. And thanks to incessant advertising through new media platforms like podcasts, meal-kit startups have seen interest from consumers increase year after year. In fact, Blue Apron has been so successful Continue reading

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european-citiesWith the school year ending and summer right around the corner, students and teachers around the country are likely counting the days until they can finally go on vacation. The most fortunate of this already lucky bunch may be headed to Europe to take in the continent’s grand cities and ancient monuments. But while these world travelers get excited about their upcoming trips, the residents of some European tourist destinations don’t share the same enthusiasm.

Barcelona, for instance, recently passed Continue reading

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In the early days of China’s tech industry, most companies simply took the concepts developed by successful American startups and created Chinese versions of them. For instance, rather than Google, most of the country uses the domestically owned search engine Baidu. But after years of imitation, Chinese apps like the all-encompassing WeChat could change the way that people use the Internet all over the world.

Questions:

 

  1. Why haven’t American tech companies like Facebook and Google been able to succeed Continue reading
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lyft-carSelf-driving vehicle technology has improved so much in recent years that the concept is no longer a futuristic fantasy. As automated driving becomes more refined, companies have begun to move out of the research phase and on to developing commercial strategies. Waymo, for instance, became a company in December 2016 after eight years of autonomous vehicle research by its parent Google. During that time, Waymo says that its vehicles logged more than 3 million miles driving in the real world. Continue reading

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eelkeAccording to estimates from the U.N., by 2050 the global food industry will need to produce 455 million tons of meat annually in order to keep up with demand. Today’s meat makers already produce 259 tons per year, leaving behind an enormous environmental impact in the process. More than 70 percent of the world’s water consumption comes from meat and dairy production along with 38 percent of land use and 19 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Environmentalists fear that Continue reading

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