Snapchat’s Snapbots Treasure Hunt

Just in time for capturing 10 seconds of video this holiday season, Snapchat’s started selling their Spectacle glasses on November 10th. In a move that marketers are calling genius, Snap is selling the $129 Spectacles from a fancy yellow vending machine that is always on the move. People only get one day’s notice from an online map to find the next vending machine, called Snapbots, location.


Spectacle glasses’ buyers put in their debit or credit card and choose from black, coral, or teal sunglasses and in 10 seconds, the camera shades pop out of the vending machine’s mouth. When the first Snapbot appeared in Los Angeles near Snapchat’s, now known as Snap, Inc., headquarters, the line started forming immediately and the Spectacles sold out by 8:00 a.m. For all those who missed out on getting their Spectacle glasses, they are selling on eBay for up to $1000.


With a 115 degree angle, the Spectacles allow users to shoot video that mimics a person’s field of vision. A build in camera also lets users snap photos. To transfer the video to an Android phone, users need a WiFi connection, however, for iPhones, users transfer to the Snapchat app with a Bluetooth connection.


Affordable new tech with limited distribution is the ideal strategy for the messaging app company that is expected to go public in early 2017. The first videos shot with the Spectacles are already appearing on the Internet as people show off their purchase.

Amazon Is Expanding Its On-Demand Service Coverage Areas

Amazon, one of America’s most popular e-commerce retailers also has a on-demand home service business, which helps people find local repair services, however, unless you live in one of the 30 metro areas that is served, you may not have heard about it. Adding 20 new metro areas, including Las Vegas, NV; San Antonio, TX and Boulder, CO, Amazon is expanding, possibly because the company is expanding its on-demand services by advertising for Home Assistants. Assistants will clean, do laundry and perform other tasks to save people time. The job is only offered in Seattle, Washington at this time. Employee requirements include a college degree and more than three years of customer facing experience.


Amazon Home Services offers services from 60 types of background-checked, insured professionals who are offering pre-packaged services. If customers find a service that need, they can simply add the item to their cart and schedule a time. Payment is handled the same way as it is when someone purchases a book on the site. Consumers can also request no-obligation quotes for custom projects. According to a press release from Amazon, the most popular services that customers request are TV wall-mounting, furniture assembly and house cleaning. The press release also contained glowing reviews from on-demand service customers and service providers who have seen their business increase after using use Amazon Home Services to find new customers.


United Airlines to Create Carry-On Limit for Low-Fare Passengers

The airline industry is constantly trying to think of new ways to make extra money. They have been doing this sort of thing for years. However, United Airlines has taken this activity to an entirely new level. They are going to start limiting their low-fare passengers to a single carry-on bag. The bag must be able to under the seat of the passenger. This move copies the strategies of some of the other airlines that have taken business away from United in recent years because of their low fares. United has found it difficult to compete with these cheaper airlines and remain profitable at the same time. Executives at United believe that this decision to limit carry-on bags will help to improve the slumping profits of the company.


United’s decision is considered to be a brave one in the airline industry because no other U.S. airline has decided to limit their passengers when it comes to carry-on baggage. The goal of the company is to bring new passengers on board and make their regular passengers pay more for their tickets. It remains to be seen if this will be successful or not. United has said this will not be the only change they will be implementing. A spokesman for the airline has said that other new policies will be introduced in 2017. However, he did no get into specifics about what those new policies would be. There is no question that United is taking a risk. However, it is a necessary one.

Corporate Executives Contemplate Changes with the Election of Donald Trump

Corporate executives, including chief executive officers, in the United States are contemplating possible changes as Donald Trump prepares to assumed the presidency. During the campaign, Trump promised to take action to sharply reduce corporate taxes and to rollback regulations.


A great deal of discussion is being had that the Trump administration will usher in dramatic change in a short amount of time. In realty, executives generally feel that change will in fact occur, but in a more incremental way.


The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, is another law on the books that President-elect Trump has promised to eliminate. He has softened his approach to this objective slightly since winning the election. He has indicated there are some components of the law that he anticipates keeping in place, including preventing insurers from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions.


Corporate executives, including chief executive officers, are playing close attention to how the Trump administration addresses the Affordable Care Act. There is some thought that Congress will in fact vote to repeal the law. The President-elect is likely to sign such legislation into law. However, when it comes to implementing it, the approach will probably be a bit more cautious. If nothing else, any repeal will not effect the policies in force in 2017. With that said, whatever alternative to the Affordable Care Act will need to be in place by the beginning of 2018, which leaves only a relatively small window for action by the Trump administration and Congress.


Apple Smart Glasses May Be Coming Soon

Apple has decided to try it’s hand at making smart glasses. Although the iPhone currently accounts for two-thirds of the company’s revenue, its sales have been slowing down. The company is under intense pressure to deliver new products and despite the recent failure of Google Glass, expanding into wearable technology is considered a lucrative option.


The project is currently still in the exploration phase, but insiders say it has already been discussed with potential suppliers. Small quantities of near-eye displays have apparently been ordered for testing, although not enough to indicate a move toward mass production.


Apple is known for simplifying difficult technology and putting it into the hands of their customers. That approach has helped them develop the fingerprint recognition technology that’s used to unlock their iPhones, as well as the touch screens that are now so common.


The product would be Apple’s first to directly target the AR (augmented reality) market. The company has recently acquired some smaller AR-based companies, presumably with the intention of beefing up their own AR capabilities. They have also acquired patents for various AR applications, including “street view” in their mapping apps.


One of the company’s greatest challenges will be fitting all the needed technology into a sleek set of wearable glasses. In order to reduce the product’s weight, it would have to connect wirelessly to a customer’s iPhone. It should be noted that part of the reason Google’s product did so poorly was because the tiny battery it required ran out too quickly.


Apple’s smart glasses may prove even more difficult to produce than Google’s, since many of the required parts are not currently available. According to sources familiar with the project, if the product does make it to production, it probably won’t be until sometimes in 2018.


American Apparel Files for Second Bankruptcy

Los Angeles-based retailer American Apparel recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The November 7th filing was the second for the beleaguered chain, after a recent attempt to turn the company around failed. The company emerged from bankruptcy protection in February 2016, less than a year before filing again.


According to a court filing, Canadian manufacturer Gildan Activewear has agreed to take over intellectual property rights, assets and inventory from the company as part of a $66 million deal. Interestingly, the deal does not include purchasing any of American Apparel’s physical stores, suggesting that they will have to be auctioned off in the near future.


Gildan’s plan is to integrate the company’s brand into their own printwear business. Court filings suggest that they’re interested in acquiring some of the company’s Los Angeles-based manufacturing and distribution operations. Currently, these facilities are located in downtown Los Angeles, South Gate, Garden Grove and La Mirada.


In recent years, American Apparel has struggled with performance problems, making it increasingly difficult for them to stay afloat. After their first bankruptcy, it soon became apparent that they would not be able to raise enough money to complete their turnaround. They soon found themselves borrowing from the same former bondholders who had taken control during the first bankruptcy.


Customers are unlikely to notice anything different about their day-to-day operations until either the stores are sold off or someone comes along with a better offer than Gildan’s. If the proposed deal does go through, American Apparel will continue to live on as a highly-recognized brand sold through various other retailers.


Alternatives To Annual Pay Raises Are Now Being Explored

A recent online article that I read today explores alternatives to annual pay raises that employers can offer to their employees.


An important initiative that the article’s author recommends for employers to consider doing is to improve advancement opportunities for employees. Instead of offering annual pay raises after performance reviews, it is suggested that job promotions that come with pay increases be provided every few years.


The author of the article states that employees that have job goals to work towards will feel more motivated, and put more effort into their jobs.


Increasing job flexibility is something that can lead to an increase in employee satisfaction, according to the author of this article. It is also stated that providing more job flexibility does not significantly increase the costs of workplace benefits programs.


Offering voluntary benefits and flexible paid time off options are other initiatives that are recommended in this article. Voluntary benefits such as discounts on movie tickets, and auto or home insurance are now available in many workplaces.


While it is good to have goals to work towards, I think that most people in today’s world would rather receive an annual pay raise. For lots of workers all over the world, there is no such thing as an annual raise. Because job loyalty is not as prevalent as it used to be, and so many people live paycheck to paycheck, the annual raise option usually looks good to most employees.





Business In America During Trump Administration

There is a fascinating article about where the American economy may be headed during Donald Trump’s presidency on the BBC website. It is noted in the article that Trump spoke often during the campaign about his desire for tax cuts along with more spending on infrastructure, and he is likely to follow through on this plan now that he has the power to do so.


Cutting taxes, however, probably means more borrowing by the government. While taxes cuts would be popular with the now Republican-controlled Congress, more debt wouldn’t be at all, so perhaps Trump won’t be able to accomplish all that he wishes in this regard. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, in particular, is known for being against increasing the deficit.


One interesting observation in the article is Trump’s plans would likely put the major responsibility for the continued economic recovery of the nation in the hands of the White House rather than the Federal Reserve. However, this may not sound so bad to Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen because it would give her the option to raise interest rates and thereby give herself the chance to lower them in the future if the economy takes a downturn.


It is mentioned that while the economy recovered somewhat from the crash of 2008 during Obama’s administration, this was a sluggish process, especially in rural areas. Discontent in the heartland about the situation was a big factor in Trump winning the election.


What Business Insights Can Trump Voters Offer?

Recently William Saletan of Slate studied exit polling to ascertain whether Trump voters offer any intriguing insights. His discoveries, carried on the Business Insider website, may come as a surprise to some economic analysts. The President-Elect will reportedly reveal plans during an interview on 60 Minutes to immediately deport between 2 million and 3 million illegally present foreign nationals from the United States, an action which will certainly hold ramifications for many businesses.


Mr. Saletan discovered that the President-Elect did not fare as badly with some minority groups as media experts had predicted. These results suggest that some media characterizations of Donald Trump’s campaign as racist and completely offensive to minorities did not prove accurate.


A desire for significant change evidently motivated the vast majority of his supporters (he garnered 83% of votes from people leaving polling places who expressed a desire for change). Donald Trump won 2% more Black voters than Mitt Romney in 2012 and obtained 31% of votes cast by people born in other nations. He also carried 2% more Latino votes than Romney, winning 29% of Latino voters. Although he won fewer votes from women than Mrs. Clinton, his female vote fell just 1% shy of Republican Mitt Romney’s tally in 2012.


The evaluation of exit poll data also revealed a significant tolerance among Trump voters for the candidate’s rudeness and temperament issues. Mr. Saletan reports a high percentage of voters supported the Republican nominee despite considering his temperament poor.


Business Insider: Delta Airlines Is Doing Great

There is an interesting article about how Delta airlines is introducing a new premium economy class of service that will be available on Delta’s new fleet of Airbus A350 planes. The author uses the topic of Delta’s new service as a springboard to a wider discussion about how traditional airlines in the United States have adapted and evolved to meet the needs of modern customers.


In the early 2000’s, according to the article, legacy airlines such as Delta and United struggled financially because of consumer fear of flying in the wake of 9/11 and the ailing economy. Therefore, they began to pay careful attention to what their customers wanted, and it paid off. Today, Delta is thriving financially and approximately 180 million people fly on their planes a year.


One thing that the airline learned is that, when it comes to service classes, having more product segmentation than in the past is crucial. The era when passengers had to choose between Business, Economy and Coach is gone; today it’s all about options. Another thing Delta and other airlines in the United States learned to do is offer consumers who are searching for budget flights many avenues for finding and booking flights online.


Personally, I find this article inspirational. I’m happy to see that longstanding American companies like Delta are able to roll with the changes of today’s globalizing market place.