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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August 1, 2017

netflixSince launching 20 years ago, Netflix has transformed from a DVD-by-mail service into the undisputed king of streaming video. The company now has more than 104 million subscribers across the world, a 25 percent increase since last year and quadruple the number of customers from 2012. On any given evening in North America, Netflix streaming accounts for more than a third of all download Internet traffic. The company’s lineup of original shows and movies are also a hit with critics Continue reading

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December 2, 2016

Heinrich-Boll-StiftungFor years crowdfunding sites have provided cash and marketing boosts to entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to reach out to the public. In exchange, donors receive prizes for their support, ranging from simple displays of gratitude to enormous giveaways for the most generous individuals. One reward they haven’t been able to receive, however, is a stake in the company. For instance, the makers of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset brought in millions from their 2012 Kickstarter campaign. Facebook eventually purchased Continue reading

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For more than a century millions of visitors have marveled at the staggering beauty contained in America’s national parks. According to the writer Wallace Stegner, “National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” Still, even these sublime sanctuaries face the same kind of bureaucratic headaches that afflict other government agencies. In fact, years of flat funding have left the National Park Service with an $11 Continue reading

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Each year, millions of Americans use payday lenders to obtain what seem like quick and easy loans. Many borrowers simply need an advance on an upcoming paycheck, allowing them to settle their loan as soon as payday arrives. For those who don’t manage to repay on time, however, the situation can rapidly turn desperate. Along with a variety of fees, payday lenders often charge interest rates than can eventually top out in the triple digits. As a result, one small Continue reading

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March 21, 2016

For years crowdfunding websites have given regular people a platform to finance their personal causes. GoFundMe, for instance, adds 100,000 campaigns to its site each month. Most people are looking to raise money to combat a crisis, such as paying for medical bills or funeral expenses. Together these campaigns have raised more than $2 billion on GoFundMe alone, with more than half of that amount coming in the last 9 months. In fact, analysts expect that crowdfunding donations will grow Continue reading

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February 9, 2015

At most Silicon Valley startups, the entrepreneur takes the role of the hero in stories about a company’s founding. Arguably, though, the venture capitalist that funds the business from the beginning also plays a huge role in its success. After all, an entrepreneur can have a million dollar idea but still lack the $1 million investment she’d need to start the company. This dependence on seed capital can become a source of great frustration for entrepreneurs. While someone can spend Continue reading

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