January 10, 2017

DJpediaIf you’ve listened to hip hop or dance music made from the 1980s onward, then you’ve heard the Technics SL-1200 turntable in action. For decades these decks were the preferred hardware for DJs of all skill levels. Although a single turntable could cost between $500 to $700, aspiring selectors saved up their money until they had enough for two. After that, they had equipment for life: the durable SL-1200 could be used for spinning and scratching with little need for Continue reading

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November 29, 2016

Thomas8047This past weekend the holiday shopping season kicked off with a bang as millions of Americans sought out Black Friday deals both in stores and online. While brick and mortar sales rose about 8 percent from last year, online outlets saw sales increase by 11 percent. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), this spike in e-commerce can be credited to the more than 108 million consumers who shopped online over the weekend. Meanwhile, approximately 99 million people visited physical Continue reading

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August 12, 2016

Mobile games like Pokemon Go and Clash of Clans have become revenue-generating machines despite being free to download in any app store. So how do these games manage to make money without a set price point? This fascinating video from Vox provides the answer by taking a close look at the optional purchases that drive profits for these apps.

 

Questions:

  1. Is it ethical for freemium gamemakers to earn the bulk of their money from Continue reading
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When Uber launched in 2009, its founders didn’t expect to revolutionize the car service industry. The company initially targeted a more upscale clientele by charging steep fees for its on-demand rides. As Uber expanded, however, its growing revenue allowed them to drop prices and offer their services to a broader base of consumers. Now valued at more than $60 billion, Uber has become a powerful competitor to taxis throughout the country as well as an increasingly credible alternative to car Continue reading

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April 7, 2016

Ever since e-commerce started rising in prominence, the value of the retail showroom has diminished significantly. After all, consumers no longer need to visit a store to see what types of products are available for purchase. Not only does a quick search on Amazon accomplish this goal within seconds, but the site also provides helpful resources such as customer reviews and recommendations. Nevertheless, the online retail model doesn’t work the same way for all products. Consumers on the whole still Continue reading

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March 25, 2016

Gasoline prices are lower than they’ve been in decades, but this is far from unique. Throughout oil’s volatile history the commodity has experienced several surges and sharp declines in value. This short but informative video tracks some of the biggest petroleum price jumps over the last century.

Questions:

  1. Why does the price of oil change so frequently? 
  1. Should world governments invest more money into alternative energy sources in order to decrease their dependence on the unpredictable oil industry?
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February 15, 2016

billsIn a perfect world, buying cable TV or a smartphone wouldn’t require customers to parse through a mess of different contracts and “special” deals. But unfortunately that’s not how it works in reality. A confusing collection of regional offers, options and add-ons often confronts people who are looking to upgrade their media services. The whole tangled process can leave customers wondering whether they landed on a good price or ended up paying too much. In many cases, the latter is Continue reading

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February 10, 2016

airplaneFor the airline industry, the last few decades have been more like a rollercoaster ride than a smooth flight through calm skies. Enduring consistent losses as well as the occasional bankruptcy, companies began making deep cuts to basic services in order to keep costs down. Meanwhile, airfares continued to skyrocket even as in-air amenities started disappearing. Now it finally seems like all that belt-tightening is paying off: last year the four biggest domestic carriers together earned about $22 billion in Continue reading

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February 1, 2016

For many inventors, creating a machine that’s functional as well as popular can feel like striking gold, even if the actual material reward for their work isn’t exactly golden. That’s the situation Shane Chen found himself in since inventing the “hoverboard,” a two-wheeled, Segway-like vehicle that doesn’t quite float but has nevertheless been flying off the shelves. Unfortunately for Chen, many consumers are buying hoverboards from companies that have not paid him for his patented design. Instead, consumers are taking Continue reading

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January 7, 2015

For decades it seemed like nothing could stop McDonald’s march towards total fast food domination. By the time 2011 rolled around, the company was boasting eight consecutive years of same-store sales growth while also holding the title of top performing stock on the Dow for five years running. But just when everything seemed to be going right for the chain, the golden arches started to lose their shimmer. Changing consumer tastes and a rocky transition between CEOs are leading towards Continue reading

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