September 18, 2018

When someone is looking to buy a new piece of furniture, it can be a struggle to find the right item to fit their personal taste as well as their floor plan. After all, just because something looks good in the showroom doesn’t necessarily mean it will fit in their living room. That’s why a number of home goods companies are integrating augmented reality into their online stores. Using a smartphone camera, the technology allows customers to visualize how a Continue reading

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September 13, 2018

While songwriters and filmmakers can protect their intellectual property through copyrights, many fashion designers can’t do the same when it comes to their creations. The video below shows why legislators consider clothing to be different from other forms of art and how that affects designers, especially those at the high-end of the market.

Questions:

  1. Why have legislators been reluctant to grant clothing designs the same protection as movies or songs?
  2. Do you think fashion designers should be able to copyright Continue reading
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August 28, 2018

A few years ago, many tech industry analysts predicted that the Amazon Echo would soon dominate the growing smart speaker market. After all, the voice-activated device accounted for more than 75 percent of market share as the company moved “tens of millions” of Echo products in 2017 alone. Consumers were also becoming more familiar with Alexa, the virtual assistant designed to answer questions and perform simple tasks like turning the lights on and off. Given these factors plus Amazon’s ever Continue reading

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August 23, 2018

For more than a century, Coca-Cola’s immense branding power has centered on its signature soft drink. But with many of today’s consumers switching from sugary sodas to healthier options, the company can no longer rely on its namesake beverage like it once did. So in order to keep up with changing tastes, last year Coca-Cola launched more than 500 new drink brands across the globe. “There are products out there in the world that perhaps we wouldn’t have tried a Continue reading

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August 9, 2018

Last year, Apple sold more than 280 million iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers to customers around the world. And judging by the tech giant’s ever climbing stock price, the sales tally for 2018 appears to be going strong as well. In fact, last week the price of an Apple share climbed above $207. Besides being good news for investors, reaching this milestone meant that Apple became the first publicly traded company to achieve a market capitalization above $1 trillion.

To Continue reading

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August 3, 2018

A few months ago, we looked at why our subject for the Chapter 8 profile in Understanding Business was leaving her position as CEO of the Campbell Soup Company. As the video below shows, however, Campbell’s problems began long before Denise Morrison took the top job.

Questions:

  1. Why has Campbell’s struggled to grow steadily in recent years?
  2. What do you think Campbell’s should do to start winning over young consumers who don’t like canned soup?
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August 2, 2018

If you’ve never heard of poke (pronounced poe-kay) before, then you’re certainly not alone. This Hawaiian dish consisting of marinated sushi served over rice has been popular with eaters in the 50th state since the 1970s. For many people on the U.S. mainland, however, this meal remained a mystery until a few years ago when poke joints began to pop up along the east and west coasts. It has since grown into a nationwide trend: according to Foursquare more than Continue reading

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July 31, 2018

Although people sometimes use “vanilla” as a byword for “boring,” the complicated global industry that surrounds this flavor is far from dull. 80 percent of the world’s vanilla crop is grown in Madagascar, which has the perfect climate for vanilla orchids. These plants only bloom one day a year and must be pollinated by hand, followed by another 9 months of waiting for the fruit to mature into pods. Then comes another weeks-long process of curing the plants using steam, Continue reading

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July 27, 2018

From smartphones to electric vehicles, many of today’s most innovative products depend on lithium-ion batteries to function. That’s why every year the tech industry upgrades these portable power sources to hold more and more charge. While this allows them to create better products (at least in theory), it also leads companies to discard a lot of technically obsolete batteries that can still collect energy. For instance, the lithium-ion units that power cars and buses can be used for Continue reading

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July 26, 2018

For the past few years, a number of technology companies have championed self-driving cars as the future of transportation. But recently the concept has received some bad press thanks to a string of accidents involving autonomous vehicles. For instance, last month a Waymo test car made headlines when it ended up in a five-car crash. Meanwhile, several Tesla vehicles in “driver-assist” mode have been involved in collisions, including one fatal incident. As a result, consumers are becoming more wary about Continue reading

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