Somewhat relevant to the Schumpeter article on understanding capitalism in light of an ever-changing market and in light of the effect on the market of new types/qualities of products. Craft brewers committed to buying too many hops from hops suppliers this past year, because while their estimates were based on previous years’ double-digit growth figures, growth has slowed dramatically this year. Note more generally some of the facts mentioned in the article about the impact of craft beer on farmers: this wave of brewer-entrepreneurs has changed the worldwide demand for hops and caused acreage devoted to hops in the U.S. to nearly double over the past five years.
Very interesting article on Robinhood’s move to introduce zero-fee trading of cryptocurrencies this February. The company has already been disrupting other giants like Scottrade and Etrade by offering zero-fee trading of conventional stocks. They make money off of interest accumulated on cash balances in the accounts of over 3 million users. This new extension into the cryptocurrency market will follow the same model and seek to gain marketshare from exchanges like Coinbase, Kraken, Coinmama and many others. Initially, they will only roll out the service in 5 states with more to follow. They will also limit cryptocurrency trading to Bitcoin and Ethereum. Excited to see where this company goes as it continues to disrupted financial markets across the world.
Focusing on the counterpoint to the prompt in the syllabus, this article discusses why we haven’t seen entrepreneurship grow as quickly as predicted in the 1980s, and in doing so it discusses the reasons why an entrepreneurial society hasn’t been able to take over. One of the sections entitled “Why the Tilt Towards Reliability,” explains that from the 1980s onwards shareholders were the predominant power shaping businesses’ decision making and this led to increased reliability and lower costs at the expense of the workers. Under this form of management workers’ ingenuity was intentionally curtailed to produce a predictable result that lowered the bottom line. However, the article ends on a positive note where the author explains that there has been a modern shift where the customers have taken over as the predominant power shaping businesses, and the most successful business now focus on consistently creating new value by tapping into their workers’ ingenuity thus placing less value on producing reliable profits in the short-term.
New advances such as Apple Pay makes every day tasks like grocery shopping more convenient by enabling us to go “cashless.” We, as a society, look at the positives impact that technology has on our lives but we tend to overlook the negatives. This article discusses the negative impact of going “cashless”, especially on those who cannot afford to have a bank account, have an iPhone, etc.
Last Tuesday we read that “old-style charity is out” in the Pozen article. Professor Hollis challenged us to determine whether this could really be a true statement. This link from Patagonia’s website shows how one of the most classic methods of giving, donating money, can be applied in a new way. In 2016, Patagonia decided to give 100 percent of their global retail and online Black Friday sales to grassroots nonprofits that are involved in environmental protection. Patagonia followers referred to this as a “fundraiser for the earth.” While the company only expected to make $2 million in sales, they made, and donated, $10 million. Similar to Patagonia’s venture, REI closes its stores on Black Fridays to encourage people to get outside instead of shop.
Two takeaways from this article. First, relating back to our discussion from last week, I found Patagonia’s idea to be simple, yet innovative. Donating money to charities is about as “old-style” as it gets when it comes to methods of giving. However, the concept of promoting sales on a certain day was something new and meaningful. The second point that I think is important to take note of is that I could not find any information regarding whether Patagonia repeated this venture in 2017. Was $10 million just too much for the company to miss out on? Did the nonprofits not use the funds they were given in a way that Patagonia desired? I will have to do more research as to why Patagonia did not seem to repeat their donations in 2017.
Finery, a start up created by Whitney Casey and Brooklyn Decker, is the first automated online wardrobe platform. The company is utilizing technology in order to change the fashion industry. With this new technology, the app pulls shopping history and purchase patterns to recommend items of clothing and create outfits from clothes that the user already owns. It’s basically operating as a virtual stylist without any human interaction. Finery also alerts users when returns/exchanges deadlines are and when price adjustments on “wishlist items” are made.
These two founders did exactly what entrepreneurs often do. They created a product for a market that consumers didn’t even know they wanted. It’s a simple concept, but a necessity for avid shoppers. It’s the ultimate app for the modern fashionista — and the first of its kind.
Whitney Casey, the former CNN anchor didn’t want just another “Clueless” closet, like the previous low-tech sites that required you to enter the data manually for each piece of clothing you own. Instead, Finery does all the work for you.
The Entrepreneurial Law article discusses how regulation can be a burden on entrepreneurs as well as an opportunity. This made me think about the legalization of marijuana in Canada. Due to its illegal nature, marijuana sales require occur on the black market. Over the summer, my firm dealt with many entrepreneurs interested in navigating Canada’s new marijuana legislation. They wanted to use the opportunity provided by a changing law to enter an industry estimated at $23 Billion. Based on the article, I am interested to see if the legislation will enable or hurt entrepreneurs as they attempt to move away from the black market and into a regulated industry similar to alcohol sales in Canada. The article below discusses the major opportunity this change in legislation provides entrepreneurs.
A bit cheeky but relevant to the course. Richard Branson has been defined for his entrepreneurial spirit that not only founded the Virgin companies (records, mobile, air, galactic) but also seen him break world records in ballooning, sailing, and other extreme adventures.
His book “Screw it, Let’s do it” is a fun read and inspiring in showing the power of the entrepreneurial spirit to overcome challenges while also having fun.
To many, the entrepreneur is seen as the daring innovator that sees a problem challenging society and goes out on their own to solve that problem. In his book and interviews, Branson talks about various business deals that coincide with our reading. In “Entrepreneurial Law”, Viktor talks about the entrepreneur despising the formalities of rules and laws but also benefitting from their protection. Branson mentions a couple stories that resonate with this notion. For instance, on a trip out of Puerto Rico with his wife, Branson chartered a private plane and charged Virgin Airline’s first customers after the airport had reportedly shut down and was not chartering any flights out. Branson saw a problem and created a solution. That solution then led to his inspiration to start Virgin Airlines. During his company conception, he faced unfair competition ploys by competitors but was able to use the laws in place to circumvent them and ensure his company’s success. Thus, Branson’s success as an entrepreneur was due to his impatience with the status quo, his innovative spirit, and his tactical use of business laws in place to protect his positions.
This is a short list of the countries considered to be the most entrepreneurial. It is interesting to ask why countries such as Germany, Japan, US, UK and Switzerland appear in the top of the rank, while the bottom is dominated by African and Latin American countries. While the article does not present theories to explain why some countries are more entrepreneurial than others, it will be interesting to try to come to answers for such differences throughout the semester.
Here is an interesting article that I found discussing what happens when companies like Uber and Lyft take their companies public. Uber/Lyft rely heavily upon drivers for their success and companies often time reward their employees for their success with stock options. Uber/Lyft drivers, however, are considered “independent contractors” so the question is whether these companies would reward their independent contractors with these stock options. According to the article, Uber is working with the SEC on this issue.