February 2, 2024

Large hot air balloons can cost as much as $160,000, requiring huge amounts of high quality materials and lots of time. This video focuses on the Spanish company Ultramagic Balloons, which employs large sewing teams as well as engineers to produce flawless balloon-based aircraft. 

Questions:

  1. Why does Ultramagic Balloons prioritize quality control throughout its production process? 
  2. What are some factors that contribute to the high costs of hot air balloons?
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January 31, 2024

Founded in 1913, the Stanley company has sold steel-insulated mugs for more than a century, operating for much of that time as a niche brand with a small but loyal customer base. Over the last few years, however, Stanley tumblers have become ubiquitous products thanks to the company’s canny use of social media. Their brightest moment in the spotlight happened last November when a TikTok user posted a video showing how her Stanley mug survived a car fire with the Continue reading

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January 24, 2024

Two weeks ago, we looked at the terrifying incident that passengers experienced on an Alaska Airlines flight when a door suddenly blew open during takeoff. The incident placed Boeing under renewed scrutiny for its Max line of aircraft, which could have big repercussions for the company going forward. This video looks at the potential consequences Boeing could face, from losing airlines’ confidence to ceding market share to competitors like Airbus.

Questions:

  1. How could airlines’ loss of confidence in Boeing Continue reading
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January 12, 2024

Last week, passengers on an Alaska Airlines flight endured a disaster that every traveler fears as a door blew wide open while the plane was 16,000 feet in the air. Fortunately, pilots performed an emergency landing that ultimately kept the number of injuries low. Once the plane reached the ground, however, airline regulators demanded an explanation of how this incident could occur. Then they found out the make and model of the faulty plane: the Boeing 737 Max 9, a Continue reading

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January 3, 2024

According to the consultancy firm McKinsey, most mid-sized businesses have an average lifespan of about 18 years as companies change hands and markets evolve. That makes the achievement of the cymbal maker Zildjian all the more impressive: for more than four centuries, the company has served countless musicians across a wide variety of styles and eras. Along with providing a comprehensive overview of Zildjian’s storied history, the video below also examines the company’s fascinating production process and quality control procedures. Continue reading

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December 6, 2023

A few months ago, we looked at the hardships facing the European olive oil industry as unpredictable weather led to poor harvests and diminishing supplies over the last year. Not only have olive oil prices risen across the globe as a result, but this production crisis has also given fraudsters a golden opportunity to exploit the lack of supply. For instance, this week authorities in Italy and Spain seized more than 68,000 gallons of olive oil that was deemed “unfit Continue reading

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December 1, 2023

The Chinese e-commerce giant Shein (pronounced Shee-In) controls more than 40 percent of the U.S. fast fashion market, with more than $8 billion in sales last year. This video explores how the retailer consistently churns out cheap shirts and dresses, which includes accusations of labor exploitation that has tarnished Shein’s image with some shoppers.

Questions:

  1. How does Shein’s “small batch” production strategy differ from other clothing companies? 
  2. How has Shein tried to recover its reputation with U.S. consumers? Do Continue reading
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November 1, 2023

For six weeks, members of the United Auto Workers have been on strike against General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis, parent company of the car brands Chrysler, Jeep, and Ram. Demanding significant wage increases and improved job security, the union employed a bold strategy of slowly expanding its labor action to more plants as time progressed. After starting at three factories owned by each of Detroit’s Big Three automakers, the UAW gradually added more locations to the strike, confounding management and Continue reading

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October 25, 2023

Last week, we looked at how rising sugar costs will contribute to higher candy prices this Halloween. Of course, sweets aren’t the only product affected by global supply issues. Due to poor weather conditions in Europe, olive oil prices have more than doubled over the past year. The situation is worst in Spain, the world’s largest producer of olive oil and victim of a drought that has devastated recent harvests. Bad weather across the continent has also led to Continue reading

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October 20, 2023

This video looks at the evolving operations of North America’s largest landfill operator, WM. Using capital provided by federal subsidies, the waste management company is investing in tech that could change the future of trash disposal, from sophisticated scanners that sort recycling to capturing methane gas to convert into fuel.

Questions:

  1. Why is WM upgrading its operations to include more automation as well as methane gas extraction? 
  2. Do you think WM’s operational upgrades will make the company more sustainable Continue reading
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