August 22, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Sara Germano wrote about the surge in demand for athletic clothing:
- In a economy that continues to struggle, athletic apparel is a bright spot, expected to grow by almost 50% to $200 billion by 2020.
- What’s odd though is that while demand for exercise clothing is high, consumers are increasingly avoiding exercise.
- Instead wearing athlete clothing seems to be becoming fashionable, especially with millennials.
- This business is known as “athleisure”.
- Demand for yoga clothing, for example, is growing about ten times faster than participation in yoga.
- Boots and flannels are also becoming popular with those who have no plans to go hiking.
Read about the peculiarities of the athleisure market, what wearers of the clothing have to say, and more over here.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
August 21, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
The Economist looked at a robot serving guests at a hotel in Silicon Valley:
- The robot is called “botlr”, has a bow tie, and can deliver food and other items to guest rooms.
- As they don’t need to be awkwardly tipped, travelers may come to prefer robot bellhops.
- In lieu of a tip Botlr does ask that guests tweet a thank you message.
- The hotel experience in general is increasingly getting rid of humans. Check in and check out can be done online, phones can act as keycards, and concierges can be reached via Twitter.
Read about why the writer thinks that handing out tips to humans might just be worth it after all, what unions think of the robot, and more over here.
Read more of Centives’ coverage of room service here.
Source: The Economist
August 19, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Over at Cracked David Wong and Tom Reimann argued that 1995 film Waterworld transformed the movie industry:
- The film was over budget to the tune of $175 million – making it the most expensive film in history at the time.
- It was a disappointment at the American box office, failing to make back its cost of production.
- But it was a smash hit overseas – as a mindless action flick people from all cultures could enjoy it, even if they didn’t speak the language or understand the cultural references.
- That taught Hollywood that the real money was in making films that appeal to people all over the world – rather than deeper more introspective films.
- Thus while in the past films rarely made international debuts – usually only if they were already successful in the American market – these days they open everywhere at the same time.
- American moviegoers have seen the quality decline which is why theater attendance and domestic box offices have been falling.
- But global revenues are up boosting movies like Transformers and Iron Man 3.
Read about the economics of the industry, why this is a natural consequence of globalization, how television is now the place to go for quality and more over here.
August 18, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
The Economist took a look at state airlines:
- Even before the recent disasters Malaysia airlines was no different from most other state airlines in its struggles to be profitable.
- Countries got into the habit of keeping state airlines because they were believed to be an important part of a country’s transport infrastructure.
- However in an era of low cost carriers and competitive management, state backed carriers have failed to adapt.
- This is because they are usually run with political motives in mind. Government cronies are appointed to manage the carriers and planes are forced to serve unprofitable routes.
- They are also hamstrung with rules such as free rides for politicians.
- Meanwhile they face higher costs than other airlines as they are usually too small to negotiate good prices on aircraft.
- In addition to the bad press associated with firing thousands of workers, some politicians fear that shutting down state airlines will cause vital connection to other countries to disappear.
- However countries such as Switzerland and Belgium indicate that the absence of an airline does not harm a country’s prospects.
Read about the bailouts that debt ridden Italy had to provide its airline, why Greece’s Olympic airlines was forced to deliver newspapers, and why abandoning state airlines might make countries better connected to the rest of the world over here.
Source: The Economist
August 17, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Jordan Crook wrote about a helmet that will make you wish you owned a motorcycle:
- An inventor has designed a helmet that allows riders to have a digital rearview mirror so they can see what’s behind them without turning their head.
- It also comes with turn by turn GPS directions. It has “infinitely variable focal distance” so that it will stay in focus no matter where the rider looks.
- The helmet connects to phones via Bluetooth, runs on battery, and lasts for up to 9 hours.
- It’s called the Skully Smart Motorcycle Helmet and it costs $1,499.
Read about the motorcycle road safety problems this device aims to resolve, details about how it works, and more over here.
August 15, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
In recent times firms such as Mercedes-Benz and Microsoft have been targets of surprise raids by Chinese officials. Unlike in other countries the legal protections offered to business are few. Michelle Price and Norihiko Shirouzu wrote about how companies have learnt to live with the raids:
- Companies have started conducting mock raids to teach employees how to act in the event that one happens.
- Workers are encouraged to offer their raiders tea or coffee and to have lunch with them as a sign of cooperation and openness.
- Exchanging business cards is seen as polite and can help to build a rapport, as well as allow legal experts to track down raiders through China’s plethora of bureaucracies.
- The raiders maybe distracted by other things at their targets’ offices. In at least one case a raider spent most of his time flirting with a secretary.
Read about the relative absence of legal protections in China, why it matters which organization is doing the raiding, and more over here.
August 14, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Square Enix, the publisher of the Tomb Raider games, announced that the latest installment of its franchise would be exclusive to Microsoft’s Xbox, and would not be available at first on Sony’s PlayStation. This has surprised and upset gamers as the Tomb Raider franchise has typically been a cross-platform one. Kyle Orland outlined the business reasons for the decision:
- Games these days have monster production costs that approach $100 million.
- This means that publishers have to sell millions of copies before they can begin making a profit.
- There is a lot of risk, but an exclusivity deal mitigates that risk. Microsoft will have paid Square Enix a substantial amount for exclusivity rights, reducing the game’s breakeven point.
- Exclusivity will also mean that Xbox will better promote and market the game, further driving sales.
- As this is a “timed exclusive” the game will eventually launch on other platforms after a delay, meaning that in the long run the publisher eventually will reach its entire customer base.
- From Microsoft’s perspective this will help sell more Xbox consoles, and a greater install base mean it’ll eventually be able to charge more software licensing fees, creating a virtuous revenue boosting cycle.
Read about the likely business details of the arrangement, why the internet rage will die down, and more over here.
August 13, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Visitors to Times Square will be familiar with the individuals dressed up in costumes offering to take pictures with visitors and (sometimes aggressively) asking for tips in return. Edgar Sandoval and Celeste Katz wrote about their plans to unionize:
- The police have launched an educational campaign informing tourists that tipping the characters is optional.
- The government has also announced plans to register the performers due to concerns about their behaviour.
- Performers are unhappy with both developments, arguing that they are being treated as criminals.
- 50 of the characters are planning to meet and discuss ways that they can form a group and speak with one voice.
Read more over here.
Source: New York Daily News
August 12, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, the 2014 installment of the long-running Call of Duty franchise released a Multiplayer Reveal Trailer yesterday. Dan Seitz took a look at some of the technologies showcased in the trailer and how far we are from developing them:
- Soldiers in the game will have exosuits that allow players to get a speed boost or allow for killing stomps. Real life exosuits are less focused on such “superpowers” and more on providing support such as allowing soldiers to carry heavier loads.
- Seemingly inspired by Xbox’s Titanfall the game also features jump jets. The ones the military is developing are too bulky to be used in combat. Instead they’re for providing quick response medical aid.
- Ray guns. They’re in the game and we have the technology to set targets on fire with invisible rays as well. But real world counterparts require massive amounts of energy and need to be mounted on giant vehicles.
Read more about how we’re doing on enemy highlighting systems and other details over here.
August 11, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Jet packs based on water propulsion are the next big tourist industry pull writes Jennifer Medina:
- On coastal towns people can enjoy 15 minutes of airtime for about $200.
- The activity is so popular that waiting lists can be up to a month long.
- Canny operators give tourists Facebook ready photos and high definition videos of the experience, professionally edited to fit their favourite song.
- At least one couple has gotten married while they were in the air.
- Supply is limited in part due to the cost of the jetpacks themselves – they used to cost $100,000 each. Nowadays though it’s possible to purchase one for as little as $10,000.
- Another factor constricting supply is officials cracking down on the practice due to complaints about noise and scared residents mistaking users of them for the beginnings of an alien invasion.
Read more about the business, what those who have tried it have to say about it, and more over here.
Source: The New York Times
Via: Marginal Revolution