April 23, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Amazon makes an offer to its employees that it hopes they don’t take writes Jim Edwards:
- Once a year Amazon’s fulfilment center employees get a letter titled “Please Don’t Take This Offer”.
- In it they are offered up to $5,000 to quit their jobs.
- Workers who have stayed longer are offered more money.
- The hope is that those who aren’t satisfied with their jobs have an easy way out.
- Meanwhile the ones that remain are dedicated and enthusiastic about their careers.
Read more over here.
April 21, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
In the fairytale Rumpelstiltskin a creature offers goods and services in exchange for a newborn child. Countries around the world have taken this fable to heart and are offering incentives to parents willing to have children writes Lily Kuo:
- With declining fertility rates across the world countries are looking to boost their infant populations.
- Japan spends $29.3 million on matchmaking events and robotic babies that are intended to inspire parents to try for the real thing.
- The “Do it for Denmark” campaign (pictured) encourages partners to go on vacation and offers prizes if they can prove they conceived on the trip.
- Singapore is allowing people to vote on what comes with the “goodie-bag” new parents will get for babies born in 2015.
- Russia announced that September 12th is the country’s Day of Conception. Any babies born 9 months later – around Russia’s Independence Day – will have a chance to win an SUV and other prizes.
- France isn’t satisfied with just one child. Families with three or more children receive discounts across the country for things such as train fares and movie tickets.
Read more about the various measures that different countries are trying, how successful they are, and more over here.
April 20, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
If The Pope were ever to meet with a budding CEO he’d no doubt have many spiritual lessons to teach the young executive. But there are also a lot of business lessons to be learnt from him writes The Economist:
- Focus on core competencies. By refocusing the Catholic Church’s efforts to help the poor The Pope has bought a consistency of message and purpose that has helped to increase the Church’s popularity.
- The focus has also allowed the Pope to cut unnecessary costs such as those for elaborate ceremonies or unnecessary luxuries.
- Pope Francis has repositioned the Church’s “brand”. While he hasn’t broken with the Church’s stance on homosexuality he has shifted the Church’s focus away from it.
- The results speak for themselves. The Pope is popular and Church attendance has increased.
Read more about the steps that The Pope has taken, other lessons that can be learnt from him, and more over here.
Source: The Economist
April 18, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Remember skywriting? When planes would trace out smoke-messages in the sky? Why did we stop doing that? Adrienne LaFrance took a look:
- Skywriting used to be incredibly popular. In 1940 Pepsi wrote over 2,000 messages in the sky.
- It was so popular that critics called it “celestial vandalism” and worried that high-rise residents would have to keep their windows closed to avoid the smoke flooding their apartments.
- Engineers were working on a way to develop glow in the dark letters, and cloud slicing technology that would let skywriters work in bad weather.
- But the dream of giant sky billboards with images of merchandise came to an end with the advent of television.
- Television took the world by storm and advertizers realized that they could use that platform to reach customers – rather than hoping that the weather would be clear on the day and time they want to sell.
- In 1961 a skywriter had to go up, fly a line of smoke through the error-ridden sky message, and write a new corrected one next to it. Executives realized that they wouldn’t have to contend with such issues in TV ads.
- Today the service is seeing a resurgence. People immediately Facebook and Instagram the messages quickly amplifying the audience of the message.
- Skywriters are pricey though. Depending on the message you could be paying as much as $15,000.
The full article is a good read and has many more details. Read about the plans for “extraordinary palettes of colored smoke”, some notable ads from days gone by, and what current skywriters think over here.
Source: The Atlantic
April 17, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Every time a major international sporting event rolls around and happens to be hosted by a lower income country there’s an article about the resulting boom in the demand for prostitution. This year’s no different and Olga Khazan provided the details:
- 500,000 tourists are expected to visit Brazil for the football world cup later this year.
- Brazilian sex workers are gearing up for the surge in demand.
- One town offers English classes where prostitutes can “learn how to work out financial deals and also use a specialized vocabulary with sensual words and fetishes”.
- International governments though are on the watch out for the rampant child prostitution in Brazil. British Airways will be running ads warning against purchasing such services on flights to Brazil.
- It might not matter anyway. According to one study during the 2010 World Cup South Africa did not see a surge in demand for sex workers.
Read more about the dreams of a Pretty Woman style romance, how one prostitute is preparing for the World Cup, and more over here.
Source: The Atlantic
April 16, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Westeros, the fictional realm from Game of Thrones, is known mostly for its beheadings, psychopaths, and gruesome murders. For some reason tourists are eager to visit writes Samantha Shankman:
- Parts of the show are filmed in Ireland and the country is looking to play up the connection.
- Ireland’s tourism board is launching a social media campaign that shows visitors where Game of Thrones filming locations are in the real world.
- A challenge for the country is that people may not realize that the places depicted in the show are real places that people can visit.
- Ireland isn’t the first to have this idea. Travel agencies have long offered “Game of Thrones” tours to Ireland, Croatia, and other places where the show is filmed.
- However this is the first time the government of Ireland is actively trying to promote its connection to the show.
- It is perhaps being inspired by New Zealand where a record number of tourists visited in part because it is the home of The Hobbit movies.
Read more about the social media campaign, what it will aim to do, and more over here.
April 15, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
One ice cream maker has released a new type of ice cream:
- “The Arousal” is a scoop of ice cream with 25 mg of Viagra and tastes like champagne.
- It was created in response to a special request from a top celebrity who required the maker to sign a confidentiality agreement.
- The maker is allowed to say that those attending the party it was served at “were very happy with the end result”.
- Other ice cream flavours from the same maker include roast beef and horseradish, and raspberry mojito dark port and stilton.
Read more over here.
April 14, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Jonathan Glancey wrote that in the US, shopping malls seem to be in decline:
- Economic decline and online shopping have hurt the mall.
- Just as earlier generations had ghost-towns, the 21st century has ‘ghost malls’ – abandoned super-structures fit for horror movie storylines.
- 2007 might have been the turning point. From a rate of 140 a year, it was the first year in over 50 years when no new malls were built in the US.
- Malls may also have become unpopular because they became associated with youth who made adults feel uncomfortable shopping there.
- Given that malls are essentially giant, enclosed boxes it’s not clear what we should do with the abandoned ones. Various suggestions include turning them into leisure centers or casinos.
- Malls thrive in other parts of the world. China, Iran and even Bangladesh have malls bigger than those in the US.
Read more about malls, and see some eerie photographs of abandoned ones over here.
April 13, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Some tech designers have come up with a prototype luxury airline seat. Marisa Garcia took a look at what makes it special:
- The seat is able to connect directly with your electronic devices and use big data to figure out what movies you’ll likely want to watch, and what your preferred inflight meal would be.
- It comes with an active video display side panel which changes colours based on what you’re doing and the mood you’re in.
- It is, of course, able to give full massages.
- It tracks your eyes so that if you look away to pay attention to a flight attendant, for example, it’ll pause whatever you’re watching.
- The eye-tracking technology can even do things like figure out how strong or weak your vision is and recommend glasses.
Read about the seat’s surround-sound system and when the super-rich might be able to enjoy such seats over here. And read more about the economics of business class over here.
April 12, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Nadja Brandt and Michael Buteau wrote about the recovering market for golf courses:
- In 2012 the market for golf courses hit a low with the average course selling for $2.7 million.
- This year the average price has risen 57% with the average golf course selling for $4.25 million. This includes one property that was sold for $75 million.
- All in all though the market is still below its pre-recession peak of $7.33 million.
- The price has been driven up by a decrease in supply – in 2013 about 144 more courses closed than had opened.
- There was an over-supply of golf courses because people were purchasing them as if they were houses – and were buying them for their potential future values.
- These days they are treated as businesses and valuations depend on metrics such as membership numbers, operations, and net profits.
Read more about the golf course industry, how banks are changing how they evaluate golf course acquisitions, and how Donald Trump’s golf courses have fared over here.