October 11, 2014

During the recession that began in 2008, traditional banks became wary about awarding risky loans. Not only had bad deals come back to hurt many institutions, but also new regulations required many banks to increase their capital reserves. With less money to lend, banks largely stopped financing risky endeavors like commercial real estate and small business loans.

To fill this void in the market, non-traditional lenders like real estate investment trusts (REITs) and online outlets increased their presence. Fueled by Continue reading

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September 20, 2014

Although many Americans make sure to recycle their plastic bottles and aluminum cans, they’re less careful to do so with their more functional possessions. Ninety percent of the nation’s mobile devices get thrown in the trash rather than the recycling bin. The gadgets are joined there by 40 percent of the food produced each year in the U.S., along with the 12 million tons of textiles that get tossed annually.

Over the last few years, a number of new companies Continue reading

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August 14, 2014

 

With preseason football already under way, it won’t be long now until the NFL season officially kicks into full gear. And although the intensity of the gridiron will undoubtedly remain the same, some fans might notice big changes around their local stadiums. That’s because after years of outcry to green up the game, a number of NFL teams have revamped their arenas with a variety of energy-saving and cost-cutting measures.

In San Francisco’s Levi’s Stadium, for instance, an 18,000-square-foot Continue reading

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July 23, 2014

On the surface, it might seem like bungee jumping and fine dining don’t have much in common. But at a company called Dinner in the Sky, elements of these two seemingly unrelated concepts are combined to create an incomparable dining experience.

The business began in 2007 when a European restaurant association hired marketer David Ghysels to put together a suspended aerial dinner for promotional purposes. Ghysels teamed up with bungee-jumping expert Stefan Kerkhofs to design an advanced high-wire table that Continue reading

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July 14, 2014

For millions of people around the world, social media is a vital tool for everyday life. However, there are millions more who don’t have a Twitter handle or even a Facebook account. These mostly middle-aged or older absentees simply didn’t get swept in the social networking tide like so many others. To retirees, remaining unfamiliar with the subtle workings of a service like Instagram is not a huge loss. But for managers at many companies, social media skills are becoming Continue reading

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For many working Americans, leaving the office in the early evening doesn’t necessarily mean your workday is done. Answering emails and phone calls can stretch one’s workday far past the standard five o’clock threshold. That is, unless you happen to be a consultant working in France. Under a new agreement between labor unions and corporate representatives, more than 250,000 French employees at consulting, computing and polling firms are required to “disconnect” from work once they clock out.

Under the Continue reading

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Advancements in technology have allowed entrepreneurs to experiment with radical new ideas that wouldn’t have been possible even a few years ago. However, often these innovations end up disrupting established businesses that have operated the same way for years. The latest example of this phenomenon can be seen with the new wave of “ridesharing” companies like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. Although these startups have made a splash with young, tech-enabled consumers, taxi companies and local governments don’t share the same Continue reading

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Most state laws designate marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic that is illegal to possess, sell or consume, barring medical reasons in some states. But last year voters in Colorado and Washington elected to legalize the drug following years of lax medical cannabis legislation. While Washington lawmakers are spending a year drafting regulations for retail sale, Colorado’s legal dispensaries opened to customers aged 21 and over on January 1, 2014. Nevertheless, the Rocky Mountain State’s marijuana growers have a Continue reading

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Over the last few years, brick and mortar retailers have come up with some ingenious ways to gather data about the customers who walk into their stores. We’ve taken a look at some of them in past posts on this blog, including one story about “smart” mannequins that observe consumer patterns using cameras in the dummies’ eyes. Although that may skew a bit on the creepy side, it’s important to keep in mind that physical retailers are merely trying to Continue reading

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Like all coveted consumer items, smartphones are a prime target for theft. As the devices have become increasingly common, so have reports of muggings and break-ins involving the gadgets. According to Consumer Reports, more than 1.6 million Americans had their smartphones stolen in 2012. Meanwhile, smartphone thefts accounted for more than 50 percent of robberies in San Francisco and 75 percent of thefts in the neighboring city of Oakland.

The uptick in gadget-related larceny has led to an outcry among Continue reading

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