July 15, 2021

Those who have concerns about privacy on smartphones often focus on apps that track users’ internet browsing history or even their movements through GPS. But while such violations of privacy are becoming more well-known to users, many others appear to be unaware that some apps have open access to their contact lists. For instance, therapist Gabriela Buendia was shocked to discover that the payment app Venmo had shared a list of her phone contacts as well as data about everyone Continue reading

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Yesterday, we looked at how cost-cutting measures used by rental car companies to survive the pandemic have now led to supply problems that are affecting travelers across the country. But rental cars aren’t the only items that are in short supply these days. For instance, a garden supply store called Valley View Farms experienced record sales of patio furniture in March as customers began to emerge from the extended stays at home. Soon after this boom, though, the Maryland retailer Continue reading

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When the pandemic hit the U.S. last year, millions of Americans suddenly went from commuting to the office every weekday to working from home on their laptops. While it was difficult for some people to adjust to this abrupt change, many others became accustomed to remote work quickly, and they would very much like to continue doing just that. As a result, a number of companies are experimenting with “hybrid offices” in which employees come in a couple days of Continue reading

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June 24, 2021

Last year, companies across all industries scrambled to figure out how to continue doing business during the coronavirus pandemic. As time went on, subscription services proved to be dependable profit sources given that they required customers to provide regular payments every month. Subscriptions to streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney Plus skyrocketed in 2020 while many restaurants also found success with membership models. 

For instance, in early 2021 six eateries in the Washington, D.C., area joined forces to create Continue reading

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June 10, 2021

In 2017, the startup Moviepass offered film buffs a deal that seemed too good to be true. For $9.95 per month, subscribers could see up to one movie per day at all major theaters located throughout the country. Moviepass hoped to offset the costs of purchasing so many tickets by brokering bulk deals with theater chains and by monetizing users’ data. None of these plans ever came to fruition, however, which left the company with more than three million subscribers Continue reading

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As warmer weather returns throughout the country, many Americans are stepping out of their heavily used kitchens and heading back to restaurants. According to data from the review site Yelp, restaurant reservations are up 46 percent compared to 2019 and a whopping 23,000 percent compared to last year near the start of the pandemic. The reservation site OpenTable reports similar surges in restaurant traffic as more people receive vaccinations and restrictions ease across the country. 

“States that had restrictions Continue reading

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As the pandemic forced millions of people to stay indoors, virtual worlds like Roblox boomed in popularity with gamers as well as investors. This video looks at how the platform appeals to more than 30 million active monthly users, including independent creators who can earn big bucks by building games within Roblox. 

Questions:

  1. Why did games like Roblox explode in popularity last year?
  2. What sort of challenges does Roblox face as it looks to expand its user base?
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April 22, 2021

Earlier this week, we looked at how pandemic lockdowns led to increased consumer demand as well as supply chain problems that are delaying deliveries around the world. Large-scale disruptions such as the Suez Canal blockage and the traffic jam at the Port of Los Angeles have resulted in wide-ranging financial damage to all sorts of small operators who cannot get their hands on vital merchandise. For instance, one restaurant in Oklahoma must pay $200 for a case of gloves that Continue reading

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April 15, 2021

After experiencing the worst year for the hospitality industry in U.S. history, restaurants and bars are beginning to bounce back as vaccinated Americans reemerge into the world and Covid-19 restrictions ease. For instance, sales at the Miami coffee shop and eatery All Day spiked in January to their highest levels since the start of the pandemic. “It was like turning on a light switch,” said owner Camila Ramos. As customers continued to flood into All Day, she tried to hire Continue reading

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March 23, 2021

As the pandemic forced Americans to stay at home a year ago, many people turned to indoor activities like baking, watching TV, and playing video games to pass the time. Sales of products like baking accessories and new televisions increased as a result, but video games skyrocketed in popularity to a degree never seen before. In 2020 Americans spent a record $56.9 billion on gaming, a 27 percent increase from the year before. 

Sony reported a 62 percent jump Continue reading

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