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 17, 2015

In the 1960s Northeast Italy’s artisans banded together to form small family-owned businesses that depended closely on one other. Each company manufactured a single part of a finished product that held the entire town’s attention. For instance, the tiny burg of Montebelluna specialized in making ski boots, with dozens of companies contributing parts like buckles and foam linings. The town eventually became famous for its high quality footwear, producing about three-quarters of the world’s ski boots at its height. One Continue reading

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June 13, 2015

While nonprofit organizations do the world an immeasurable amount of good, their restrictive structure can prove frustrating for some entrepreneurs. After all in order to stay afloat, many nonprofits depend on the generosity of donors, a source of capital that could suddenly dry up at anytime. That’s why a few startups are combining the social drive of nonprofits with sustainable business models to form benefit corporations, or “B-corps” for short.

On the surface these companies seem like normal firms: they Continue reading

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In today’s Internet-centric world, companies of all kinds must establish a professional web presence or run the risk of wasting away in the dark ages. Accomplishing this task is often easier said than done, though, especially when it comes to setting up a website compared to a social media profile. Not only do websites require knowledge of coding and design in order to work, but they also need to have a logical URL address so users can easily access it. Continue reading

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After years of declining sales, RadioShack finally seemed to be on the way out after filing for bankruptcy protection in February 2015. The electronics retailer had been a mainstay of American commerce for nearly a century, thriving off the sales of niche items like CB radios and pre-iPod portable music players. As technology became more commonplace, however, RadioShack struggled to keep up with the mainstream and settled into stagnation. Executives at the brand tried to reverse this trend by redesigning Continue reading

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In an earlier issue of the newsletter, we took a look at the methods that Chinese authorities use to curb the production of counterfeit merchandise. For the most part, these measures focused on reporting knockoffs of big names like Nike and Gucci. But combating pirated products isn’t solely the problem of multinational brands. For instance, in 2012 Jeff Sasaki took his iPhone accessory company Element Case to a Hong Kong trade show. When he arrived at the convention, he found Continue reading

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In the past few years, crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have become dependable sources of capital for all types of ventures. 2013 alone saw startups and artists collect more than $5.1 billion in crowdfunded cash. But businesses can receive more benefits from a successful crowdfunding campaign than just money. For instance, a startup selling a Bluetooth-enabled padlock raked in $652,000 in just one month on Kickstarter. Besides the investment windfall, contributors also sent the company offers of help with 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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