Starbucks Links Coffee Makers to Web Fueling $27B Market

Starbucks Links Coffee Makers to Web Fueling $27B Market

Starbucks Corp. (SBUX), famous for giving away Wi-Fi that links customers to the Internet, now wants to apply Web technology to its own operations by networking coffee makers, refrigerators and other appliances. Over the next year, Starbucks said it plans to double the number of its Clover coffee-brewing machines, which connect to the cloud and track customer preferences, allow recipes to be digitally updated and help staffers remotely monitor a coffee maker’s performance. Also in the works: connected fridges that indicate when a carton of milk has spoiled. “We are investing in different technologies to make it easier for our baristas,” Marianne Marck, a senior vice president for the Seattle-based company, said in an interview. Read more of this post

HTC Said to Plan Smartwatch as Cher Wang Rallies Workers

HTC Said to Plan Smartwatch as Wang Rallies Workers

HTC Corp. (2498) is developing a smartwatch that uses Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android software and can take pictures, according to a person familiar with the matter. Cost, functions and sales strategy for the watch are still to be decided before it’s released by the second half of 2014, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. Chairwoman Cher Wang gathered workers at a town-hall style meeting today to tell them the Taiwanese smartphone maker needs to improve its customer focus, Chief Marketing Officer Ben Ho said in an interview. Read more of this post

Beijing May Make ABCs Less Important After English-Training Boom

Beijing May Make ABCs Less Important After English-Training Boom

China’s capital city of Beijing proposed reducing the importance of English in education by cutting the language’s weighting on college-entrance tests in favor of the nation’s own tongue. English would count for 100 points, down from the current 150, out of the maximum score of 750 starting in 2016, the official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday, citing the Beijing Education Examinations Authority. The possible score in Chinese would rise to 180 from 150, Xinhua said. The local government said English programs currently stress examinations over mastery of the language, according to Xinhua. Read more of this post

How Wall Street Fed Puerto Rico’s $70 Billion Borrowing Binge

How Wall Street Fed Puerto Rico’s $70 Billion Borrowing Binge

Seven years ago, in the wake of a government shutdown caused by a $740 million budget deficit, Puerto Rican officials vowed to fix the island’s finances by 2010. Now investors are calling their bluff. In the $3.7 trillion municipal-bond market, Puerto Rico and its agencies more than doubled their borrowing since 2004 to $70 billion this year. Even as the island’s population shrank and the economy contracted 16 percent since 2004, the government kept selling enough bonds to saddle each man, woman and child with $19,000 in debt. Read more of this post

“An entrepreneur has to tell a story that’s a prophecy that we feel will definitely come true.” How Screenwriting Guru Robert McKee Teaches Brands To Tell Better Stories; If you want everyone from customers to colleagues to believe in your mission, you need to tell them a story, not make an argument.




It’s hard not to refer to Robert McKee as a “guru.” And why not? McKee, who has been teaching a seminar on screenwriting for 30 years and has written the field’s holy text, has become a foundational necessity to making it in movies, with alumnae including Peter Jackson, Julia Roberts, and John Cleese, and with 50-some Academy Award winners and 170 Emmy Award winners. McKee, who’s worked with brands likeMicrosoft, Nike, and HP to craft their stories, is now also teaching a Story-in-Business seminar. I had lunch with McKee and his wife, Mia, in Manhattan last week to talk about why brands need narratives. Here, we present an edited portion of our conversation.

To me, “story” is a fundamental. When people say story or whatever, they immediately begin to think of Hollywood and/or maybe the theater and novels, history, biography, autobiography. To me, they think about those big narrative forms and they call it the story, or they think in those terms. To me, the heart of it is a story, a mode of thought in direct opposition to other modes of thought that business tends to favor. Read more of this post

Berkshire Beats Apple as Favorite Stock of Tiger 21 Group

Berkshire Beats Apple as Favorite Stock of Tiger 21 Group

By Margaret Collins  Oct 22, 2013

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) regained its ranking as the favorite stock pick among U.S. and Canadian multimillionaires, beating Apple Inc. (AAPL) and fending off the increasing preference for exchange-traded funds. Members of Tiger 21, a New York-based group of wealthy investors, selected Berkshire in an annual survey of preferred investments scheduled to be released today. Apple, which had held the No. 1 spot the last two years, slipped to No. 2. “The bloom is off of Apple,” Michael Sonnenfeldt, founder and chairman of Tiger 21, said in an interview. “For people who held Berkshire Hathaway it’s held its appeal, but for Apple, a lot of people who were on that ride have realized that perhaps the best days are behind it.” Read more of this post

You’ll never be a Yale superman: How Yale’s influential endownment fund and its CIO are reining in their ambitions

You’ll never be a Yale superman

Dan McCrum

| Oct 22 12:02 | 4 comments | Share

David Swensen is an investing superman. His pioneering use of alternative investments after he took over the Yale endowment in 1985 prompted a thousand imitators and created an industry. Indeed, the Yale model became the endowment model, so widely was it embraced. Then, with alternative investments legitimised as suitable for big investors, pension funds began to follow his lead, albeit tentatively. Yet you can never be David. Or rather, you can never match up to the myth that Mr Swensen’s performance has become. Consider the recent decision by the $21bn Yale endowment to cut its allocation to private equity for the first time in eight years, to 31 per cent from 35 per cent. That shift may simply reflect a lack of opportunities at present, but note the long-term return target which Yale expects its private equity investments to deliver. Read more of this post

Cleaner air a bitter pill for north China cities

October 22, 2013 2:20 pm

Cleaner air a bitter pill for north China cities

By Lucy Hornby in Chengde

When people in Beijing put on their pollution masks, it makes international headlines. But the effort to clean up the air in northern China depends on steel-producing cities such as Chengde, whose three million people are more worried about jobs than smog. The authorities have become so concerned about the state of the air in the Chinese capital that they want the industrial cities of Hebei province that encircle Beijing to cut coal use and steel and cement capacity to ease the problem. Read more of this post

Thailand is considering slapping a 500-baht ($16.60) entry fee on tourists to help cover foreigners’ unpaid medical bills

Thailand considers charging all tourists to cover unpaid hospital bills

October 23, 2013 – 12:32AM

Thailand is considering slapping a 500-baht ($16.60) entry fee on tourists to help cover foreigners’ unpaid medical bills, officials say. “The policy is the result of foreign tourists who have accidents or fall sick in Thailand and seek treatment at our hospitals but then can’t pay their bills,” the Health Ministry’s deputy permanent secretary, Charnvit Phrathep, said. The unpaid hospital bills of foreign tourists cost the state about 700 million baht a year, the ministry said. Read more of this post

Australia to Raise Debt Ceiling as Mining Slowdown Bites

Australia to Raise Debt Ceiling

Move to Raise Debt Ceiling to $483 Billion as Mining Slowdown Bites


Oct. 22, 2013 4:58 a.m. ET

SYDNEY—Australia’s new conservative government said it would seek to raise the ceiling on government borrowing to fund its policies and day-to-day operations, highlighting the dire state of the nation’s finances as a long mining boom cools. In doing so, the center-right Liberal-National coalition risks a rift with voters who identified rising government debt as a key concern in the lead-up to the Sept. 7 election. Read more of this post

The highly unusual company behind Sriracha, the world’s coolest hot sauce; Tran’s dream is “to make enough fresh chili sauce so that everyone who wants Huy Fong can have it. Nothing more.”

The highly unusual company behind Sriracha, the world’s coolest hot sauce

By Roberto A. Ferdman @robferdman October 21, 2013

images (38)130611_sriracha_2

If David Tran were a more conventional CEO, he would be a fixture at conferences, a darling of magazine profiles, and a subject of case studies in the Harvard Business Review. Sriracha hot sauce, made by Huy Fong Foods, which Tran founded 33 years ago in Los Angeles, is one of the coolest brands in town. There are entire cookbookswritten to celebrate Sriracha’s versatility; memorabilia ranging from iPhone covers to t-shirts and all sorts of other swaga documentary in the works to chronicle its rise; and innumerable imitators. Sriracha sales last year reached some 20 million bottles to the tune of $60 million dollars, percentage sales growth is in the double digits each year, and it does all this without spending a cent on advertising. Yet Tran shuns publicity, professes not to care about profits, hardly knows where his sauces are sold, and probably leaves millions of dollars on the table every year. His dream, Tran tells Quartz, “was never to become a billionaire.” It is “to make enough fresh chili sauce so that everyone who wants Huy Fong can have it. Nothing more.” Read more of this post

Prince Charles royal ruckus for fund managers saying that short-term thinking was making their brand of capitalism increasingly “unfit for purpose”

Last updated: October 18, 2013 2:03 pm

A right royal ruckus for fund managers

By Neil Collins

Prince Charles’ criticism likely to be shrugged off

The Prince of Wales may know as much about finance as the average fund manager knows about the royal family but sometimes he’s uncomfortably close to the truth. This week he told the National Association of Pension Funds that short-term thinking was making their brand of capitalism increasingly “unfit for purpose”. This irritating, overworked phrase aside, there’s a serious problem here, although short-termism is a symptom rather than the cause. The malaise in this industry can be easily summarised: too many coins are sticking to the shovels of the managers and the brokers. Since they designed the model, this is hardly surprising: they get paid whatever happens to the fund being managed. There is the nuclear threat of losing the mandate but generally only prolonged poor performance allied with no convincing case for improvement causes the bomb to be dropped. Running a fund is so lucrative that there are four pages of them in your weekday FT and little more than a single page of the underlying stocks that the funds trade. Describing this problem is easy; breaking the model is much harder. The Kay report recommended scrapping quarterly reports and greater engagement by fund managers with companies. It singled out Neil Woodford as the model manager. Unfortunately, Mr Woodford has now left the big fund he ran and the response of the average manager to the royal criticism is likely to be: why should I bother?

Start-Up Reinvents the Bicycle Wheel; “The Copenhagen Wheel” transforms a normal bicycles into a hybrid e-bike

OCTOBER 21, 2013, 8:59 PM

Start-Up Reinvents the Bicycle Wheel



“The Copenhagen Wheel” transforms a normal bicycles into a hybrid e-bike.

It’s rare that a company comes along and reinvents the wheel, but it looks like that is about to happen. Superpedestrian, a start-up in Boston, announced on Monday that it has received $2.1 million in financing to help build a wheel that transforms some standard bicycles into hybrid e-bikes. The product, the Copenhagen Wheel, is a design from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology SENSEable City Laboratory. The original goal of the wheel was to entice more people to more bicycles in large cities in lieu of cars by giving them help from a motor. Read more of this post

Why is pivot such a dirty word?

Why is pivot such a dirty word?

ON OCTOBER 21, 2013

If I had a dollar every time someone explained to me why their company’s shift in priorities wasn’t a pivot, well, I might not be a millionaire, but I’d probably have enough to treat everyone at the bar that night. “I wouldn’t say it’s a pivot so much as…” An iteration. A new feature. A shift in priorities. No company that pivots thinks it’s pivoting. Or at least, no company that pivots wants to admit it to a member of the press. The word pivot’s use in startup land comes from the book The Lean Startup, where author Eric Ries defines it as, “Structured course correction designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, strategy, and engine of growth.” Despite his clear definition, the term has subjective meanings that color it. It’s associated with failure. Read more of this post

Mapping China’s Surnames 制图 “老百姓”

Mapping China’s Surnames 制图 “老百姓”

by ASTOKOLS27 on Oct 20, 2013 • 9:56 pmNo Comments

Li-300x270 wang--300x258 zhang-300x267 C-hen-300x256 guo-300x255 ma-300x210

Using this cool new website that maps global surnames according to geographic origin, I was able to map a few of the most common Chinese surnames.  The map shows data at the sub-national level, enabling a province-level map of China’s surnames.  China presents a unique context in which to study the origin of surnames due to the continuity and prevalence of recorded Chinese characters associated with each surname, and the relatively low number of total surnames.  There are, by some estimates, 4,100 surnames in China, while in the US that number is around 6.2 million total. The geographic spread of names in China could be explained in many ways: from population and migration patterns over history, the geographic divisions between north and south, and watersheds.  Historian William Skinner’s came up with the concept of  “macro-regions”  that defined patterns of trade, commerce, language, and culture in China. With China’s massive internal migration today, one might think that the importance of geographic divisions such as the macro-regions, would fade.  As these maps show, that is clearly not the case. Here’s are maps for some of the most common surnames*: Purple indicates a high density of surnames in that province. Read more of this post

Leaders need trust more than Twitter; Running a business raises many questions to which ‘social media’ is not the answer

October 21, 2013 3:32 pm

Leaders need trust more than Twitter

By Andrew Hill

Running a business raises many questions to which ‘social media’ is not the answer

Irecently spent time sifting strategic plans for seven non-profit organisations, drawn up by teams of MBA students for an FT competition, the winner of which will be announced this week. It was a rare insight into how bright young executives are thinking and I am sure their efforts will benefit the non-profits themselves. But one thing stood out: the number of entrants that believed that, whatever the problem, social media would help solve it. Raising money? Go to Twitter. Building local, national and international support? TryFacebook. Read more of this post

Economic Theory, via YouTube and Cartoon; Ray Dalio, the founder of the largest hedge fund, offers a 30-minute lecture in how the economy works. No tuition necessary, just a connection to YouTube

OCTOBER 21, 2013, 8:53 PM

Economic Theory, via YouTube and Cartoon


Forget Econ 101. Take a look at the lessons in Dalio 101. Ray Dalio, the 64-year-old founder of Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world with some $150 billion under management, has quietly begun teaching his investment secrets on YouTube. Mr. Dalio, who is said to be worth some $13 billion, was one of the few investors to see the financial crisis of 2008 developing, and perhaps just as important, the rebound. He’s made his money by predicting big macroeconomic cycles. His economic theories, up until now, have been known only to a small group of investors and those willing to pay his firm 2 percent management fees and 20 percent of the investment profits.

Read more of this post

The Inefficient Market Hypothesis

OCTOBER 21, 2013, 12:01 AM

The Inefficient Market Hypothesis


Nancy Folbre is professor emerita of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Either it was a partisan compromise, or the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science committee simply hedged its bets, bestowing its annual prize on three economists, two of whom represent divergent views. One Financial Times blogger compared it to a joint celebration of Milton Friedman and John Maynard Keynes. John Kay, also writing in The Financial Times, put it more sharply, as “awarding the physics prize jointly to Ptolemy for his theory that the Earth is the center of the universe and to Copernicus for showing it is not.” Read more of this post

Repeatedly burned, short sellers avoid momentum stocks

Updated: Tuesday October 22, 2013 MYT 6:55:17 AM

Repeatedly burned, short sellers avoid momentum stocks

NEW YORK: Even as some of Wall Street’s biggest trading favorites – considered by many to be massively overvalued – report earnings this week, short sellers are staying away. Shorts have become gun-shy as the market has continued to rally, making bets against high-flying stocks like Netflix or Tesla very expensive ones. Steep losses have been amplified by “short squeezes,” where shorts are forced to cover their bets to prevent further losses. Read more of this post

What happens when retailer Sears is supposedly valuable for its tangible property assets and the business is managed by a dealmaker? 18 Depressing Photos That Show Why Nobody Wants To Shop At Sears

18 Depressing Photos That Show Why Nobody Wants To Shop At Sears

ASHLEY LUTZ OCT. 21, 2013, 8:26 AM 71,887 57

Sears, once America’s golden retailer, is a company in crisis.  The company has shuttered hundreds of stores in recent years. The embattled company has been selling some its most profitable stores to raise money. Brian Sozzi, chief equities strategist at Belus Capital Advisors, took poignant photos inside of New Jersey  and New York Sears locations. “To understand why Sears is in a ‘sell stores mode’ one must look no further than the stores themselves, where the truth is to be found,” Sozzi writes. His photos show the sad reality of what Sears is today.

Sears’ mannequins are outdated in comparison with competitors like Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, and JCPenney, Sozzi says. “If you are living darn near paycheck to paycheck, does this presentation excite you about making a purchase with a couple saved up electronic dollars?”


Sozzi points out that this display is confusing. “Huh? A random football themed carpet with no promotion around it?” he says.

football-carpet1-e1382137446920 Read more of this post

Why Transformation Needs a Second Chapter: Lean, but Not Yet Mean

Why Transformation Needs a Second Chapter: Lean, but Not Yet Mean

by Martin Reeves, Kaelin Goulet, Gideon Walter, and Michael Shanahan

OCTOBER 21, 2013

LeanNotMean_Ex1_lg_tcm80-146756 LeanNotMean_Ex2_lg_tcm80-146760

It’s a well-known mantra in business: “You can’t cut your way to greatness.” Nonetheless, painful cost cutting and other defensive measures are a familiar strategy for staying afloat. They are quick and obvious and deliver tangible results, but they are not in themselves a recipe for success. What does a CEO driving a turnaround do after these “easy” measures have been exhausted? Read more of this post

Wang Fengying, China’s only female motor industry CEO

Wang Fengying, China’s only female motor industry CEO

Staff Reporter



Wang Fengying at a Great Wall Motor product launch in Tianjin in August 2011. (Photo/CFP)

Wang Fengying, general manager and CEO of Great Wall Motor Company, is the only female CEO in China’s massive motor industry. Born in October 1970 in the city of Baoding in north China’s Hebei province, Wang obtained her bachelor’s degree from the Tianjin Institute of Finance and began working for Great Wall Motor in 1991. She later returned to her alma mater and completed a master’s degree in economics in 1999. Wang, who turns 43 this month, as spent her entire career at Great Wall Motor. After working at the company for 13 years, predominantly in sales and marketing, she was promoted to general manager and CEO, making her the first — and to date only — female chief executive of a motor vehicle manufacturer in China. Read more of this post

Shanghai ZPMC, the world’s biggest maker of container cranes, move from profit to loss; ZPMC reached the limits to fast growth

October 21, 2013 3:33 pm

Crane maker’s move from profit to loss

By Olaf Plötner and Wang Xuyi

The story. Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries (also known as ZPMC), the world’s biggest maker of container cranes, was founded in 1992 by the charismatic Guan Tongxian. By 2001, ZPMC had listed in Shanghai and was the global leader in a market traditionally dominated by European, North American and Japanese companies. In 2008 its market share was estimated at more than 70 per cent, and profits were above the industry norm. But by 2012 revenues were falling and the company was experiencing operating losses of Rmb1.3bn. What had gone wrong? Read more of this post

How the Chinese Learned to Embrace Independent Travel; 70 percent of Chinese tourists traveling abroad are now choosing to go independently

How the Chinese Learned to Embrace Independent Travel

By Gabrielle Jaffe

For years, the prevailing image of Chinese travelers was this: masses of red-hat wearing people organized in tour groups, pouring out of big, noisy buses. But this stereotype is now out of date. According to a recent report from’s Chinese International Travel Monitor, 70 percent of Chinese tourists traveling abroad are now choosing to go independently. Read more of this post

Ghost cities springing up near China’s first-tier cities

Ghost cities springing up near China’s first-tier cities

Kao Hang and Staff Reporter


China’s property prices have continued to boom, but the phenomenon of the so-called ghost cities, a result of high vacancy rates, has been worsening. In the past, the ghost cities were mainly third-tier or fourth-tier cities, but recently first-tier cities have also seen the rise of this phenomenon, with Shenzhen’s neighboring Daya Bay area going into an apparent state of hibernation, ringing alarm bells in relation to the abnormal development of the mainland property market, our sister paper Want Daily reports. Read more of this post

FTZ ‘Negative List’ Positively Disappoints Analysts; It’s too long, critics say, and worse yet a Shanghai official admits it is to some extent a copy of an existing catalog on foreign investment

10.21.2013 17:17

FTZ ‘Negative List’ Positively Disappoints Analysts

It’s too long, critics say, and worse yet a Shanghai official admits it is to some extent a copy of an existing catalog on foreign investment

By staff reporter Yu Hairong

(Beijing) – A closer examination of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) “negative list” in comparison with the policy that guides foreign investment elsewhere in the country has left many observers disappointed. Supposedly a big step toward greater openness, the list has aroused criticism for containing too many items – 190 special regulatory measures for roughly 17.8 percent of all industries in the country. Read more of this post

China: An Increasingly Risky Bet for Drug Makers

October 21, 2013, 7:34 PM

China: An Increasingly Risky Bet for Drug Makers

For the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, China is an increasingly critical, yet risky bet. Multinational drug companies expect sales from China to continue to grow quickly, as they did last year, accounting for 3.8% of total sales, up from 3% in 2011, according to a new report from consultancy McKinsey & Co. Meanwhile, nearly half of the 50 senior pharmaceutical industry executives surveyed said that they expect China to account for over 10% of their global sales by 2020, when China is projected to become the world’s second-largest pharmaceutical market. Sales of 85 brands exceeded $50 million in China last year, with 11 surpassing $200 million, according to the study. Read more of this post

Asia, Where Mobile Games Flowered, Extends Its Reach

October 21, 2013

Asia, Where Mobile Games Flowered, Extends Its Reach


TOKYO — When SoftBank, the Japanese telecommunications provider, announced last week that it had agreed to buy a 51 percent stake in a Finnish mobile game company for $1.5 billion, many people in both industries reacted with disbelief. Suddenly Supercell, a three-year-old game developer in Helsinki with only 100 or so employees and two successful games, was worth $3 billion. The investment in Supercell, the developer of Hay Day and Clash of Clans, reflects the growing global ambitions of Asian companies like SoftBank in mobile gaming, the fastest-growing part of the game business. Read more of this post

Is Smart Wi-Fi Router the Next Big Thing in China?

Is Smart Wi-Fi Router the Next Big Thing in China?

By Tracey Xiang on October 12, 2013

Smart Wi-Fi router HiWiFi confirmed that it had risen some ten million dollars in Series A funding from Innovation Works and GGV Capital. It is rumored that famous Chinese angel investors, Zhou Hongyi and Lei Jun, and Baidu showed interest in it too. The gadget caught our eye because of a built-in app that helps users in mainland China visit web services inaccessible here. More than 20 thousand pieces have reportedly been sold since July launch.

Read more of this post

Omnichannel Alchemy: Turning Online Grocery Sales to Gold

Omnichannel Alchemy: Turning Online Grocery Sales to Gold

by Chris Biggs and Julian Suhren

OCTOBER 02, 2013

Ask most industry executives about the prospects for online grocery shopping, and you’ll encounter hesitancy, if not skepticism. Ask consumers—especially younger, more affluent consumers and families—and they’ll tell you that they are excited by the idea. They wonder why the industry has been slow to deliver. Online grocery shopping has yet to take off in most countries for many reasons—cost, logistical complexity, and the prospects for profitability key among them. There’s also the fact that many of the business’s early pioneers went bust. We believe that the prevailing doubtful view is about to hit its expiration date. We expect the global online grocery market to reach $100 billion by 2018. (See Exhibit 1.) Based onnew consumer research in eight countries1, as well as on our experience with leading companies around the world, we also believe that establishing profitable online grocery operations is not only possible, it is essential for those that want to continue to grow and maintain market leadership. Early movers will seize a significant competitive advantage over those that come late to the game.

Omnichannel-Alchemy-ex1_large_tcm80-145454 Omnichannel-Alchemy-ex2-NEW_large_tcm80-145457 Omnichannel-Alchemy-ex3_large_tcm80-145460 Omnichannel-Alchemy-ex4_large_tcm80-145463 Omnichannel-Alchemy-ex5_large_tcm80-145466 Read more of this post

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