June 25, 2015

Ownership of private property is one of the United States’ oldest economic principles. But like many other seemingly everlasting ideas, modern technology has enabled companies to put this concept to the test. For instance, a few years ago Keurig’s single-cup coffeemakers became a big hit with consumers. Rather than brew an entire pot of coffee, those in need of a jolt simply place a small pod of grounds into the machine and wait a few seconds for their drink to 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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Unless you’re a professional poker player, chances are that people can tell a lot about your mood just by looking at your face. After all, every furrowed brow or slight frown speaks volumes as the human face’s 43 separate muscles constantly communicate with the world around it. Recently, researchers have developed technology that can analyze all those muscles in detail, potentially unlocking the mystery of the many emotional cues hidden within our faces.

This information is especially interesting to a Continue reading

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Over the last few years, large retailers have become increasingly vulnerable to attacks by hackers looking to steal important company and customer data. In order to prevent these breaches, stores across the nation are upgrading to new credit card readers that scan an embedded chip rather than the card’s magnetic strip. Each transaction on a chip-card receives its own unique code, making shopping safer for consumers and companies alike. 575 million of these new cards are expected to land in Continue reading

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April 30, 2015

In an earlier newsletter, we included a story about how Lego built its mighty block empire on a strong foundation of licensed products. The Danish company continues to make a variety of sets with characters from popular franchises like Star Wars and Harry Potter, accounting for a third of Lego’s sales. As the toy company became more dominant in the last year, however, it started to focus more on promoting its own brand rather than others’. The 2014 The Lego Continue reading

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April 26, 2015

As the largest chocolate manufacturer in North America, Hershey is always reshaping the way it does business in order to remain at the top. Technology especially helps the Pennsylvania-based company improve in a number of key areas. For instance, the prevalence of online shopping and self-checkout lines are hurting Hershey’s sales from impulse buyers. To encourage more “unplanned purchases,” the company plans to add small kiosks near self-checkout machines and curbside pickup stations that will give customers one last chance Continue reading

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April 21, 2015

 

California’s Silicon Valley is known the world over as a hub of technological innovation. Along with established giants like Google and Facebook, the Bay Area suburb is home to countless startups hoping to launch the next big social network or app. But not every entrepreneur in the Valley is a code-focused Mark Zuckerburg-type. In one burgeoning industry, scientists at several startups are cooking up revolutionary ways to use plants as meat substitutes in food.

These aren’t like the bean Continue reading

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April 18, 2015

For years Walt Disney Studios thrived by strategically reissuing its catalogue of animated classics on home video. Starting out on VHS and continuing with DVD and Blu-ray, the company rereleased a movie every seven years, updating the special features and packaging into something new for consumers to purchase. With digital downloads rising and DVD sales on the downturn, however, Disney’s longtime cash cow is starting to run dry. As a result, the Mouse has switched focus to reimagining its past Continue reading

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April 15, 2015

The mission of marketers is to make a product appealing to customers. To accomplish this task, ads often depend on eye-popping visual imagery or memorable music in order to form a quick impression. But as many marketers are beginning to realize, consumers have three more senses to stimulate besides sight and sound. Anything from a pleasing smell to a feeling of warmth can make people more receptive to buy, leading a number of companies to ramp up their sensory marketing Continue reading

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April 13, 2015

 

Americans may differ from one another in innumerable ways, but there’s at least one thing that unites most of us: our phones. Ninety-one percent of adults in the U.S. used a mobile phone in 2013, including 77 percent of Americans older than 65. Furthermore, people from around the globe are just as attached to their phones as we are. All told, the estimated number of mobile subscribers worldwide hovers somewhere around 4.5 billion people. In fact, mobile penetration is Continue reading

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