Archive for the ‘Business News’ Category

Time for the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch becomes available Friday, and The Motley Fool is already wondering how many units will sell.  Good news for those who’ve waited in interminable lines at Apple stores in the past: the watch will be available at 12:01 AM tonight by web apt only. As the first big launch of a post-Jobs product, all eyes are on Apple to see if they still have their finger on the pulse of the American consumer.  If that finger is tapping, the watch, with it’s tapping mechanism, just may succeed.  Early reviews from Yahoo and NYT are positive, though The Times laments the steep learning curve and Yahoo notes it is “above all, a satisfying indulgence.” How many people will pay the hefty price tag for that indulgence?  Time will tell…

AMPAS yawner n.s.g.

According to many the most recent Oscars were a box-office flop, critically panned for their lackluster performance and low ratings. But there is another dimension:  a growing gap between audiences and the Academy. This New York Times article  raises the spectre of elitism — that ‘mainstream’ Hollywood is being more and more narrowly represented in Academy voting.  As a result, award winners are increasingly not the public’s choice.  Is the deck being stacked against popular, high-grossing films?

Beyond The Pond

What famous (pink-colored) financial newspaper recently included in its weekend edition stories on gastronomic architecture, Sri Lankan real estate, a Greek monument inspiring dramatists in Sydney, the formative years of Vincent Van Gogh, a safari camp in Chad, premium wine rankings and a survey of restaurants in Cape Town?   Why, the Financial Times, of course. It’s not all just about dollars and cents … I have found the weekend edition a great way to keep up with life across “the pond” — and local affairs as well.

What makes a great entrepreneur?

The other night I tuned in to an ep of Shark Tank just in time to see a shark give the thumbs down, saying “Right product, wrong people.”  She used her own judgment to make that call, but Genius Lessons: Inside the Mind of the Tech Innovator, the cover article in Feb 2015 issue of Entrepreneurship, explores a number of concepts about what makes a great entrepreneur. As you might guess, there’s no easy formula for success. In fact, “some of the traits that make you a great entrepreneur also work against you,” says The Founder Institute’s Adeo Ressi. One thing is clear: passion is a must. According to Valley historian Steve Blank, “You can teach Entrepreneurship, but only to the people who desperately want to learn it.”

Read the full article in hard copy in our Current Periodicals section, or here in Business Source Complete if you have a current Stanford SUNet ID.

Holiday shopping? Caveat emptor

Have you been venturing onto the internet lately, or (shudder) actual mall stores in search of those killer holiday deals?  You might want to compare prices before you buy.  This New York Times article confirms what I’ve always suspected:  Most of those amazing deals are not so amazing after all. Researchers from The Wirecutter and The Sweethome found less than 1% of the 54,000 holiday deals they reviewed are actually good deals.  ”When we find a deal that we think is good, it’s a needle in a haystack,” says Editor in Chief Jacqui Cheng. ”We’re super-excited when that happens.”  Puts a whole new meaning on Black Friday, doesn’t it?

Perks Pack a Punch

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an update on a Silicon Valley touchstone: lavish employee perks.  Now that the tech job market is so tight, perks have moved from from niceties to musts. They now account for “easily” 15% of salaries, and many companies have staff devoted to providing them.  Are they worth it?  This article questions the ROI and traces the practice back to SV’s earliest roots: Hewlett-Packard, which in the 1950s provided then-radical perks like flex hours and stock options.  Makes you wonder whether mediation, meals, and massages will be de rigueur a few decades from now.  

Looking for a quick hit of news?  The landing page for Factiva (select it from our list of databases here) includes top stories at a glance for WSJ, NYT, Washington Post, The Times, Barron’s, Forbes, and more.

Numbers, numbers

How many Google searches are performed every minute?  2,000,000. That and other interesting statistics from the sublime to the ridiculous were listed in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of  Information Today magazine. Other tidbits? 34% of college students report downloading course materials from “unauthorized” Web sites, while  $110 is the typical price for a print textbook ($58 for a digital one). The number of open access journals that accepted a ‘spoof paper’ from a journalist working for Science was 157. Warren Buffett has forked out $344 million the past several years to acquire 28 newspapers, while print newspaper advertising revenue declined by $1.8 billion in 2012. 84% of Pinterest users are female, 70% of Google+ users are male. 100 minutes is the average number of minutes per day spent online by people who report spending “leisure time” on the Net.  28% of Facebook’s 128 million daily users access it via mobile devices, while 190 is the average number of ‘friends’ among Facebook users. There are 231.7 million “monthly active” users of Twitter; the number of hard-boiled eggs consumed weekly at Twitter headquarters is 1,440. And finally, in a survey 90% of Americans 16 and older said that closing of their public library would have “an impact on their community”. That is one statistic worth remembering.


 


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