November 14, 2017

Each year American restaurants and supermarkets throw away $57 billion worth of food due to spoilage or lack of demand. An additional $15 billion in foodstuffs never even leaves farms, often because the crops are either damaged or simply too ugly to sell. Although companies try to donate as much unsold inventory as possible, the scale of the problem is far larger than the industry can currently handle.

That’s where startups like Spoiler Alert and FoodMaven come in. These Continue reading

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October 27, 2017

Since its founding in 2012, the women’s apparel seller LuLaRoe has grown into a powerful brand despite never stocking its clothes in stores. Instead, the company directly sells items to a team of independent consultants who find customers on their own. These representatives can eventually receive bonuses if they find new consultants to recruit, thus expanding the number of LuLaRoe sellers as well as customers. If you ask executives at the company, this direct selling strategy fits the mold Continue reading

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October 12, 2017

jurgen-appeloWhile Amazon has been an online retail powerhouse for years now, in 2017 the company showed the business world what a truly dominant force it could be. Along with buying Whole Foods during the summer, Amazon’s name came up constantly as the media discussed how the online outlet had upended the traditional retail industry. But despite all the talk about Amazon’s growing supremacy, the company still can’t compete in one of retail’s most lucrative sectors: fashion.

That’s not to Continue reading

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October 5, 2017

the-doppelgangerThis past summer, more than 68,000 video game fans packed the Los Angeles Convention Center for the Electronic Entertainment Expo (known as E3). For years only industry insiders and media representatives were invited to preview the latest titles and technology at this annual occasion. But in 2017 E3’s organizers opened up the convention to the public in order to involve even more people in what many consider to be gaming’s top event.

That is unless you live in Brazil. Next Continue reading

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September 26, 2017

drivingEvery day thousands of semi trucks crisscross the country transporting goods from one from place to another. But although big rigs are a key component of the distribution process, these gas-guzzling vehicles have never been particularly efficient. The average tractor trailer gets less than 7 miles per gallon of gasoline, making it one of the least green vehicles on the road. All told, the nation’s approximately 1.7 million semi trucks burn through more than 26 billion gallons of diesel fuel Continue reading

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September 21, 2017

marketIn malls across the country, food courts act as hubs where shoppers can eat, drink, and take breaks from comparing price tags. Along with sharing a common purpose, these corrals of restaurants and drink stands often serve similar fare, too. After all, walk into any food court and you’re likely to find mainstay chains like Sbarro, Subway and Panda Express alongside a couple of local options.

This dependable if slightly boring structure served retail centers well for decades as shoppers Continue reading

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September 19, 2017

tiia-montoThe decline of brick and mortar retail has been one of the biggest business stories of the year, with formerly successful chains like HH Gregg, Payless and others filing for bankruptcy. And this week Toys ‘R’ Us became the latest company to join this unfortunate group. Like so many other traditional retailers, Toys ‘R’ Us couldn’t keep up with the growing dominance of Amazon. The company’s CEO said it would need to slash prices in order to stay afloat, Continue reading

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September 15, 2017

In the 17th century citizens of the Netherlands enjoyed an historic era of art and prosperity known as the Dutch Golden Age. Wealthy merchants spent lavishly on all sorts of luxuries, including a new flower imported from Turkey called the tulip. Demand for tulips reached incredible heights until the bottom suddenly fell out of the market. This short video looks at what many economists consider to be the first market bubble to burst.

Questions:

  1. How does the Dutch tulip craze Continue reading
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September 14, 2017

micIf you listened to top 40 radio at all this past summer, then it’s safe to say that you heard “Despacito,” the inescapable hit by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. This upbeat romantic ballad spent 16 straight weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 charts, a feat only matched by Mariah Carey more than 20 years earlier. Of course, today’s tech savvy consumers don’t have to wait for “Despacito” to come on the radio in order to hear it. Continue reading

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September 12, 2017

avocadosOne hundred years ago hardly any Americans outside of California had ever seen an avocado, let alone ate one. Then during the 1920s a Los Angeles postal worker named Rudolph Hass planted an avocado seed in his backyard that eventually grew into a highly productive tree. His children raved about how their father’s flavorful fruit beat out any competitors at the local market, eventually convincing him to patent the Hass Avocado in 1935. Soon growers across the region began to Continue reading

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