Monthly Archives: November 2013

Snapchat, How Quickly You Have Grown

Description:  While some might have been shocked this week by the multi-billion dollar offers the start-up Snapchat turned down, I found something else entirely perplexing about the valuation of this little company: just how quickly it grew.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Nov 15, 2013

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The report said that teenagers once called Facebook the best social site on the Internet. Now they’re abandoning the service and flocking to Instagram and Twitter. Other reports have noted that in 2006, Pew Research found that 85 percent of teenagers online had a MySpace account. By 2013, only 7 percent maintained an account there.

Teenagers may be fickle, but big Internet companies still need to court them.

During Facebook’s latest earnings call, the company’s stock began dropping rapidly, losing almost 3 percent of its value, after Facebook’s chief financial officer, David Ebersman, said the number of daily users who are young teenagers had been slipping.

READ REST OF STORY 

Questions for discussion:

1. Why did Facebook offer $3 billion to purchase Snapchat?  Is that a fair price?  Why or Why not?

2.  Should Snapchat sell, why and at what price?

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This stock is literally Rocket Fuel

Description: Rocket Fuel, uses artificial intelligence to help businesses make the best programmatic ad buys on the Internet. “In other words, if you’re an advertiser, its software gives you the biggest bang for your buck,” said Cramer.

Source: cnbc.com

Date: Nov 15, 2013

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Pros will often talk about rockets to describe white hot stocks. But no stock deserves the moniker more than this one.

We’re talking about Rocket Fuel, a company that lived up to its name when it came public back in September.

“It priced at $29, then opened up immediately at $59.95, before closing out its first day at $56.10, a 93% gain,” Cramer explained.

However, this spaceship quickly came back to earth. “Hideous declines followed. The stock dropped to a low of $37 and change last week,” Cramer added.

It appears investors didn’t know what to make of the company, which – incidentally – has absolutely nothing to do with space flight.  READ REST OF STORY 

Questions for discussion:

1.  What is Rocket Fuel and what is their competitive advantage?

2.  Would you invest in this company at this time?  Why or Why not?

Skilled Work, Without the Worker

Description:  A new wave of robots, far more adept than those now commonly used by automakers and other heavy manufacturers, are replacing workers around the world in both manufacturing and distribution.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Aug 18, 2012

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Many industry executives and technology experts say Philips’s approach is gaining ground on Apple’s. Even as Foxconn, Apple’s iPhone manufacturer, continues to build new plants and hire thousands of additional workers to make smartphones, it plans to install more than a million robots within a few years to supplement its work force in China.

Foxconn has not disclosed how many workers will be displaced or when. But its chairman, Terry Gou, has publicly endorsed a growing use of robots. Speaking of his more than one million employees worldwide, he said in January, according to the official Xinhua news agency: “As human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache.”  READ REST OF STORY 

Questions for discussion:

1. Do you feel that this advancement in the use of robots is good for the economy as a whole?  Why or Why not?

2.  “The pace and scale of this encroachment into human skills is relatively recent and has profound economic implications,”  What are the economic implications?

Old dotcom era gives way to new top-level domains

Description:  The dotcom era is ending, but not because of any sudden decline in online participation. Quite the opposite – over the next few months the internet will expand from 22 top-level domains to nearly 1400, including non-latin script domains for the first time.

Source: Sydney Morning Hearald

Date: Nov 3, 2013

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Hundreds of applications for the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) scheme – the largest expansion of web addresses since the internet’s inception – were received by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the body which oversees the organisation to internet address last year. The first of the granted new domains began rolling out last week.

In early 2012 hundreds of businesses governments and institutions were invited to apply providing they could afford the $US185,000 application fee, a $US25,000 yearly fee, prove an ability to manage domains, and endure several rounds of scrutiny. A total of 1930 applications were made for about 1100 names. Multiple applications for the same name will now go through a contention process and eventually end up at auction.  READ REST OF STORY 

 Questions for discussion:

1. What is the motivation for the internet to expand the number of top level domain names?

2.  Who are the winners and who are the losers in this process?  Why?

Riding the Hashtag in Social Media Marketing

Description: If reducing virtually all human interaction to purely transactional terms isn’t your style, you probably should avoid Gary Vaynerchuk.

Source: nytimes.com

Date: Nov 2, 2013

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 In recent years, that puzzle has given ulcers to a lot of executives. They have watched the rise of Facebook and Twitter, along with the advent of commercial-skipping technologies like DVRs and hardware like the iPad, and realized that spending money on television, print and radio will no longer suffice. But how do you market to people in these virtual realms? Given that these platforms are supposedly about friends connecting — it’s called social media for a reason — will anyone listen and look? Is it too much to ask for a return on this investment?

These questions have produced an age of anxiety in marketing the likes of which have not been seen since television and Uncle Miltie landed in living rooms decades ago, and it has given rise to a new tribe of entrepreneurs, all peddling their own forms of Xanax. There are now so many social media experts out there that some of them renounce the label.     READ REST OF STORY 

Questions for discussion:

1.  What is the Hashtag in social media marketing and why is it important?

2.  How do you market to people in these virtual realms?

In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad

Description:  In the last decade, Apple has become one of the mightiest, richest and most successful companies in the world, in part by mastering global manufacturing. Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Sept. 25, 2012

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Apple is not the only electronics company doing business within a troubling supply system. Bleak working conditions have been documented at factories manufacturing products for Dell, Hewlett-Packard, I.B.M., Lenovo, Motorola, Nokia, Sony, Toshiba and others.

Current and former Apple executives, moreover, say the company has made significant strides in improving factories in recent years. Apple has a supplier code of conduct that details standards on labor issues, safety protections and other topics. The company has mounted a vigorous auditing campaign, and when abuses are discovered, Apple says, corrections are demanded.   READ REST OF STORY 

Questions for discussion:

1. Should consumers be concerned about a product’s supply chain ? Why or why not?

2.  Should anything be done in the case of Apple to correct any problems in their supply chain? What?