November 7, 2017

Even though November has just begun, stores across the country are already starting to roll out the tinsel and turn on the carols in preparation for the Christmas shopping season. So as the retail world gets into the yuletide spirit, you may as well do the same and start thinking about what sort of gifts your family and friends would like to receive this year. Perhaps they’re the kind of people who would enjoy spinning a silver-plated yoyo? Or maybe Continue reading

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October 27, 2017

Since its founding in 2012, the women’s apparel seller LuLaRoe has grown into a powerful brand despite never stocking its clothes in stores. Instead, the company directly sells items to a team of independent consultants who find customers on their own. These representatives can eventually receive bonuses if they find new consultants to recruit, thus expanding the number of LuLaRoe sellers as well as customers. If you ask executives at the company, this direct selling strategy fits the mold Continue reading

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October 26, 2017

In 2015 the popular burrito chain Chipotle faced a crisis so large that some wondered if the company would ever recover. Towards the end of the year, stories about norovirus outbreaks originating from Chipotle restaurants became national news. People were shocked to learn how this supposedly safe and sustainable place to eat had poisoned hundreds of people with tainted produce. Soon Chipotle’s stock price dropped and its sales plummeted, leading many in the company to worry that its reputation Continue reading

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October 24, 2017

For the last few weeks wildfires have ravaged the northern portion of California, claiming dozens of lives and destroying at least 5,700 buildings. This catastrophic state of affairs is a far cry from the sunny paradise that many imagine when they think of wine country. In fact, October and November are usually the region’s busiest months as tourists arrive by the busload to sample vintages and enjoy the countryside. Not this year, though: one winery owner said she’s already Continue reading

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October 13, 2017

This light and breezy video takes you to Mcity, a tiny town that serves as the test track for the University of Michigan’s autonomous vehicle research program. Engineers observe closely as self-driving cars learn how to avoid pedestrians and navigate through obstacles in a realistic setting.

Questions:

  1. What is the benefit of testing products like autonomous vehicles in controlled but realistic settings?
  2. Do you think self-driving cars will become a common sight on the road within a few years?
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October 12, 2017

jurgen-appeloWhile Amazon has been an online retail powerhouse for years now, in 2017 the company showed the business world what a truly dominant force it could be. Along with buying Whole Foods during the summer, Amazon’s name came up constantly as the media discussed how the online outlet had upended the traditional retail industry. But despite all the talk about Amazon’s growing supremacy, the company still can’t compete in one of retail’s most lucrative sectors: fashion.

That’s not to Continue reading

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October 10, 2017

aliman-senaiEach year some 12 million Americans take out a payday loan in order to get cash fast. But just because these borrowers can receive a quick injection of capital doesn’t mean they can pay it back with comparable speed. Many people who take out a payday loan end up drowning in a flood of loan fees and high interest rates. Last year alone the industry collected more than $7 billion in fees from customers. Borrowers can become so overwhelmed by Continue reading

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October 6, 2017

frankieleonTwo years ago General Mills made an admirable announcement when the company pledged to remove all artificial flavors and colors from its cereal brands. The Minnesota-based business noticed that sales of sugary, processed foods had been falling for some time as more consumers turned towards organic and natural options. General Mills figured it could win over these healthy eaters by switching to simpler ingredients. The plan seemed to work at first as the reformulated recipes increased cereal sales by 6 Continue reading

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October 5, 2017

the-doppelgangerThis past summer, more than 68,000 video game fans packed the Los Angeles Convention Center for the Electronic Entertainment Expo (known as E3). For years only industry insiders and media representatives were invited to preview the latest titles and technology at this annual occasion. But in 2017 E3’s organizers opened up the convention to the public in order to involve even more people in what many consider to be gaming’s top event.

That is unless you live in Brazil. Next Continue reading

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October 3, 2017

legosThe last decade has been a good one for the Danish company Lego. After surviving a brush with bankruptcy in 2004, the famous toymaker regrouped and pursued an aggressive sales strategy focused on creating popular product lines. The plan worked as brands like Lego Architecture and the Mindstorms series attracted thousands of fans both young and old. By 2010 profits had quadrupled from the same time two years before. The company has since released two hit movies while continuing to Continue reading

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