September 5, 2017

marshall-astorSince Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas a couple of weeks ago, the region has been hit with devastating floods that have upended the lives of millions. And although the waters are finally starting to recede in cities like Houston, that just means the serious cleanup work is about to begin. The financial forecasting firm Moody’s Analytics now estimates that Harvey inflicted as much as $108 billion in damage to the region. Thankfully, dedicated volunteers have been working around the Continue reading

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July 20, 2017

rego-korosiAs sales from CDs and digital downloads continue to decline, streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music have become vital to the $7.7 billion music industry. Still, there’s one major streaming service that both executives and musicians alike have long despised. While it’s mostly known for video, YouTube accounts for 25 percent of all music streamed across the globe. This makes it by far the most popular streaming site among fans, a fact that industry insiders find increasingly troubling.

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July 14, 2017

edwin-leeThis week we’ve taken a look at the effect mobile technology has had on Chinese businesses, both for better and worse. Of course, China is far from the only Asian nation to undergo drastic changes thanks to the rise of smartphones. From India to Indonesia, mobile technology has altered the ways that both consumers and businesspeople go about their lives. Still, perhaps no other place on the continent has been as fundamentally changed by smartphones as the country of Continue reading

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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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