April 13, 2014

In the days before the Internet, consumers had two choices if they wanted more information about a product: either ask a friend or consult the item’s marketing. And since people in those days weren’t able to stay in constant communication with everyone they knew, most had to opt for the latter. Nowadays, though, consumers have no shortage of options available when they want to shop around. Studies commissioned by Google show that consumers consult an average of 10.4 sources before Continue reading

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April 7, 2014

Over the years, thousands of brands have established pages on Facebook in order to reach the social network’s hundreds of millions of users. Although companies can purchase banner ads or sponsor certain posts, many prefer to use the service’s free features to reach consumers organically. But as Facebook becomes stuffed with content, fewer and fewer posts pop up in a user’s feed. In October 2013, just 12 percent of a page’s content reached people who had “liked” that page. By Continue reading

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March 26, 2014

For many people, learning a second language is often a necessary step to take in order to climb up the career ladder. Of the 1.2 billion people across the world currently learning a foreign language, more than 800 million are studying English to get a better job. But language learning is such a time-consuming and expensive enterprise that many people are forced to end their instruction before reaching fluency. Even alternatives to personal tutoring, such as the popular software line Continue reading

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March 3, 2014

 

Crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have allowed thousands to receive the capital they need to realize their entrepreneurial dreams. However, these sites tend to work out best for people whose ideas play to an Internet audience, such as artists or video game designers. That’s why U.S. lawmakers passed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act in 2012. The legislation is meant to make crowdfunding more accessible to small businesses that may not have much of a web presence. Continue reading

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February 16, 2014

In the highly competitive world of Silicon Valley startups, entrepreneurs need more than just a great idea if they want to become the next Google. Since new tech companies require huge amounts of cash to get off the ground, many startups spend as much time fundraising as they do developing products. Fortunately for today’s tech entrepreneurs, attracting a first round of investment may becoming easier for some. Increasingly eager angel investors as well as crowdfunding services have allowed the number Continue reading

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January 23, 2014

As emerging markets like India and Brazil continue to grow, more and more of their citizens will enter the middle class. This relatively untapped consumer group presents plenty of lucrative opportunities for companies across the globe. However, finding the right products to sell to this expanding class is not so simple, even for companies operating in their home countries. For instance, Tata Motors launched its ultra-cheap Nano model as an introductory vehicle for Indian consumers. But with a price tag Continue reading

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December 10, 2013

Engaging with customers through social media has become an essential part of doing business in this digital age. But in many cases, it’s not what companies say on social networks that connect with consumers; it’s what they show. A recent study of the top brand pages on Facebook found that photos gather more than twice the likes of regular links. That’s nothing compared to videos, though, which are shared by users 12 times more often than text.

One gets an Continue reading

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December 6, 2013

 

The nation’s first impression of the IBM supercomputer Watson came from the machine’s unprecedented appearance on Jeopardy. Over the course of a week, Watson handily defeated the best champions in the quiz show’s history thanks to its massive memory bank of facts. But it’s not just the supercomputer’s super-sized hard drive that sets it apart from other machines. Watson could compete on Jeopardy autonomously thanks to its ability to answer questions posed in natural language.

It’s this feature Continue reading

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December 3, 2013

Research and development has long been an expensive element of the auto industry. For decades devising even the smallest addition to an engine could cost millions of dollars and take as long as eight months to accomplish. But thanks to advances in technology over the last five years, engineers can now test dozens of designs within a virtual environment. As a result, automakers are at last seeking affordable innovations in fuel efficiency and overall vehicle performance.

For instance, in 2010 Continue reading

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December 1, 2013

Although many people can think of a great business idea, not everybody has the time or money to see their product come into fruition. That is unless they’re lucky enough to have their idea produced by crowd-sourcing manufacturer Quirky. The New York-based company has built a $50 million business by turning user-submitted blueprints into marketable goods.

Each week Quirky receives more than 2,000 invention ideas from its community of approximately 500,000 members. Staffers then select the best ideas of the Continue reading

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