Monday, January 31, 2011

1st Place Always Wins the Race..... Apple won, Sorry Samsung.

In an article from wsj.com Samsung's Galaxy Tab sales are reported smaller than expected. They sold around 2 million to distributers but the statistic has nothing to do with the actual consumer number that have purchased Samsung's version of the iPad.

"She added Samsung was “quite optimistic” about 2011 sales but wouldn’t provide a forecast. “As you know, the tablet is relatively new and we need to see how the market develops before we give any firm numbers,” Ms. Lee said."

It's obvious that the reason for Samsung's Galaxy Tab's sales being so low is due to the popularity of the iPad. Apple's first version of the iPad was released in April 2010 which was 5 months before the Samsung Galaxy Tab was released. Even if the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab's release dates were switched there would have been no contest still between the two touch screen tablets. The fact is that Apple is more popular. What was Apple's latest introduction before the iPad? The iPhone which revolutionized the social media industry forever and is now an icon in our society. What was Samsung's? The Galaxy S, a smartphone that a majority of people have never heard of, it sounds like some distant place where monkeys rule the world. Apple got to the market first and bought up every customer that Samsung could have dreamed of having and with every new product they continue to increase the amount of consumers buying the Apple brand products. And now Apple owns the market. For example look at this screen shot of the article I mentioned earlier in the post:

Yes, that is an Apple iPad directly on the screen next to this:

"Pressed by an analyst at an investment bank, the Samsung executive, Lee Young-hee, acknowledged that sales to consumers were “quite small,” though she didn’t give a specific number."

Items in the market place sell because they are cool, and "cool" is a scarce resource. When people look to invest in smart tab technology they don't want something unrecognizable they want something everyone has heard of and that everyone has. I couldn't go up to half of my friends and say what do you think about the Galaxy Tab? Because they would think I've been watching Star Trek all day. I could go to my friends and ask about the iPad and they would say, "oh yeah, it's cool! I played around on one at the Apple Store." Even if the technology Samsung possesses is equal to that of Apple they still don't have the name Apple. Maybe this thing could have been more successful if they called it the iGalaxy Tab, but Apple probably has copyrights to the "i" so they'd still make more money than Samsung.








Sunday, January 30, 2011

Smart Phones Still Aren't the Only Phones

Today we often forget that there are still phones out there that aren't Iphones or Androids. In an article from cnn.com, they take a look at just how important feature phones still are to the mobile phone business. According to the article 70-75% of Americans and 95% of people worldwide are still using feature phones instead of smart phones. The demand is still fairly high for feature phones due to the fact that they are cheaper, and the technology is much simpler. When you walk into a Verizon or an AT&T store a majority of the phones are still feature phones. The downside that most people usually look at on feature phones is that they don't have as much access to the worldwide web. This week Facebook announced that they have produced an app to run on feature phones that isn't a stripped down version of Facebook. There are many other apps for feature phones, and all that anyone has to do to access them is download the free Snaptu Java-enabled feature phone app platform. The smart phones still have much more computing power and the number of apps available to a smart phone owner greatly out number the apps offered to a feature phone owner, but the feature phones will continue to survive due to their simplicity. A lot of people just want to make calls, and if they can have Facebook or Twitter too, that's just a bonus. According to the article the amount of technology becoming available to these phones is evolving fast. As long as feature phones stay cheap, simple, and effective they will remain in high demand. The problem with adding all this extra technology to the phones is that it might cause the price to increase, and most people who buy feature phones are all about the low price and simplicity.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

State of the Union Address

In President Obama’s speech Tuesday night he said that America’s economy is improving "Now that the worst of the recession is over, we have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in. That is not sustainable," he said. He proposed a five-year freeze on nondefense spending that would reduce the nation’s debt by more than $400 billion over the next 10 years. He agreed to work with congress on deeper cuts in the budget, and he vowed to veto bills with lawmakers' pet projects. He also promised a simpler tax code for small businesses. He wants Congress to eliminate the billions in subsidies to oil companies and to eliminate any tax breaks for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. I think that tax loop holes should be eliminated for all Americans if that is what he meant by tax breaks. If he meant that the wealthiest should pay more taxes, well then I disagree. Why should the wealthy pay a higher percentage just because they have worked hard and made a lot of money. If there was a flat tax rate, the amount the wealthy pay would still be higher just because of the math, but they should not have a higher percentage rate. We need to remember that the wealthy own big businesses and employ many people. They also spend and invest a lot of money which helps our economy. I found it contradictory that as he is saying this about cutting spending, he also says that the government needs to invest in biomedical research, information technology and clean energy technology. His goal is to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 and 80 percent of U.S. electricity from clean energy sources, including nuclear and clean coal as well as solar and wind. These are great goals, but he doesn’t mention how our government can afford it when we need to cut spending. I would suggest that it be left to private industries to develop and market these things. I don’t understand why it is the government’s job to do this. Let these private companies profit from new technology so they can then employ people, become wealthy hopefully, and put money back into the economy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Survival of the Fittest in Troubled Economy

Across the nation funeral homes are converting their spaces for multifunctional purposes. In many of these facilities not only funerals, but weddings, birthdays, and other events are being held.

"A lot of (traditional wedding facilities) are shutting down because of the economy, while we (funeral homes) aren't going anywhere," he says. "In our community, two banquet halls closed because of the economy."

As we have seen many businesses fail in these troubled economic times in our country funeral homes are not one of them. For more reasons than the obvious, people always die (sorry it's true), but because they are making themselves more available to consumers. Now with the usage of their facilities to hold weddings birthdays and all types of events the wait for people to die is no longer an issue. Funeral homes can now take your money once a year on your birthday, on your wedding day, on your kids wedding day, hopefully for your sake on your grandkids weddings, and finally on your death day. Similar to greeting card companies making up holidays, such as mother's and father's days, to fill the gap between Christmas season, the funeral home industry has created a whole new market to appeal to. But really getting married next to a cemetery? Sounds creepy....

Although people may think it morbid to start a marriage in a place surrounded by sadness, it would be no different than doing it at a church — where both caskets and newlyweds occupy the aisles throughout the year, says Sue Totterdale, national chairwoman of the National Association of Wedding Professionals. "A banquet hall is a banquet hall, and a chapel is a chapel," she says. "If you can get past the driveway and the cemetery, it's going to be beautiful."

Perfect! Problem solved! Now you can be baptized, celebrate all your birthdays, get hitched, and be buried and mourned in the same place! ("Kill four birds with one stone!"-Natalie Brown) The funeral home industry will always be here, this multifunctional use of space is completely economically sound and 100% profitable. I see a continual rise in the industry, but as always as the economy recovers the rest of the event industry recovers too. But can the event industry compete with such a multitalented funeral home industry?



The End of Credit Cards

CNN says that "the end of credit cards is coming" and it could be as soon as 2015. Mobile payments may soon take over. The ability to use your phone as a credit card is already available. But CNN is convinced that by the end of 2015, 22 billion dollars worth of mobile transactions will be made annually. One downside to mobile transactions in my opinion is what if you lose your cell phone? Of course people lose individual credit cards all the time. But most have multiple cards and options of payment. If everything goes mobile, losing your cell phone will turn out to be a lot more of hassle then just not being able to communicate for several days. The demand for products that save peoples time is always present, but mobile transactions might turn out to have more problems than originally planned. I believe the traditional plastic card will be the choice of payment for many years to come.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Apple's Best Phone May Not Be the Iphone

An article from cnn.com takes a look at what one consumer is doing to get most of the features of an Iphone without the hefty fees. He decided to create his own "Ipod phone". The man from Milwaukee, Wisconsin turned his Ipod Touch into a smart phone, and it only costs him $30 to $40 a month. He saves up to $450 dollars a year using his homemade smart phone rather than an Iphone. He usually makes calls with the "Ipod phone" by using either Skype or Google Voice, and he can listen to the calls using speakerphone, Bluetooth, or a wired headset. He uses what's called a MiFi to access access the Internet from anywhere he can receive cellphone signal. A MiFi can translate cellphone signal into a Wi-Fi signal, and it's only about the size of a credit card. Using the MiFi and the Ipod touch as a smart phone helps the consumer avoid signing contracts and having to pay expensive fees. All of this sounds pretty great, except that the MiFi has very short battery life, and unless you're always near an electrical outlet the MiFi only lasts about two to three hours, and then you're Ipod touch returns to being just an Ipod touch. A lot of people will probably be turned away by this idea simply because it's just a huge hassle to carry multiple devices, and have to download apps to be able to talk on the phone or text message. Most consumers are willing to deal with the higher prices for a more consistent experience. Even though this is a very cool and frugal idea, it will probably never be in high demand. Everyone loves their Iphones, and most consumers are more than happy to pay the fees to use them.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lance Armstrong is considered one of the most inspirational men in the past couple of decades. Many look up to him not only from his survival from cancer but his ability to return on top of the world in cycling even after facing the deadly disease. In an article from Fox News, it has been suggested that Armstrong and his team took illegal human growth hormones. With these accusations this could possibly cause followers and consumers to lose admiration and respect for him and his programs. One of his most famous programs is Livestrong. Will this program see an economical fall? People that bought products from Livestrong to show their support to Armstrong and his cause might lose faith and eventually venture away from buying the products. Some of money from the sale of these products goes toward researching cancer and treatments. There are also foundations that are set up with these funds to help victims of cancer pay for the expensive treatments. The Livestrong foundation employs many people and gives interns a place to learn about working for a non-profit organization. It has been named one of the 50 best non-profit places to work. People who become disappointed in Livestrong because of this latest controversy, may become dissatisfied with all non-profit organization, and stop supporting them. Thus many people lose jobs and more importantly many research groups are shut down from lack of funding.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Howard Stern

In an article from CNN, Howard Stern is interviewed about his Career in radio.

"I love our freedom. And nowhere could a guy like me, a schlub like me have success with -- where would I get this freedom of speech? They don't allow this anywhere."

Howard Stern's radio show can be heard and watched all over the world. Over he past two decades his radio dominance has allowed him to make an extremely substantial amount of money. But in the interview he talks about retiring from his radio empire because he feels as if he has accomplished everything. Howard Stern retiring would have a significant impact on the radio industry. People aren't listening to Stern for free, his show is broadcasted on Sirius Radio which costs money. Many pay a hefty price so that they have the ability to listen solely to Stern's show. Without Sirius broadcasting his show, many would cancel their subscriptions. Many listen to Stern's show because of his ability to create an image for his audience. With a scarcity of radio hosts already, losing Stern would really hurt the industry. But because of Stern's "neurotic compulsion" to do his show, he will continue to lead the radio industry and push it towards even greater economic gains.

Go to Jail, Do Pass Go and Collect $200..... 100,000 times.

In many ways stars such as Elvis Presley, Tupac Shakur, and most recently Michael Jackson being dead has caused their stock to rise. The idea of being worth more dead than alive is certainly embodied in these kings of the music trade. But for stars who have plenty of time left in their careers to maximize potential earnings death isn't a great plan. Eccentric rapper Dwayne "Lil Wayne" Carter has found the solution to this problem, instead of dying he chose the next best thing, incarceration, and it's earning him millions of dollars every year.


"Lil Wayne earned $20 million dollars this year, good enough to claim the No. 4 spot on this year’s Hip-Hop Cash Kings list, despite spending much of the year in jail. That figure was actually $2 million more than Lil Wayne made as a free man the year before, thanks to a rigorous touring schedule and a flurry of recording before he went off to jail."


Could going off to jail be the antidote to poor record sales? Can incarceration be a way of means to maximum efficiency for Lil Wayne? To find that out we would need to look at the opportunity cost of going to jail versus what Lil Wayne could have been doing during his incarceration period. Lil Wayne did make many efforts to boost sales before becoming incarcerated such as tours and recording sessions, but was that the reason for the increase gross from $18 million in 2009 to $20 million in 2010? I don't think so. I'd say if Lil Wayne would have had the choice to avoid incarceration his production would have never exceeded the $18 million in 2009. The fact that his incarceration was due to gun and marijuana possession, two main topics in Lil Wayne's lyrics to his music, also helps his sales. This is because by going to jail on these charges, Lil Wayne's "gangsta" image that his fans see is kept in prime condition. No one wants to see a "gangsta rapper" that works at a flower shop and enjoys free time in the park, they want to see the real gangstas who have lived in the hood, shot guns, been in jail, etc.

"I'm a rapper, that's who I am Miss Katie, and I am a gangsta, and I do what I want."- Lil Wayne in and interview with Katie Couric.

Lil Wayne's choices, while they may have been unlawful were profitable in his situation and job marker. Due to the demographic which he choses to appeal to his incarceration is like a pay raise. For Lil Wayne the choice to become incarcerated actually boosted him to maximum efficiency, earning him $20 million.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Coaching on The Ultimate Fighter: Good or Bad for Fighter's Career?

The Ultimate fighter is the most popular MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) program on television. It is a must watch for any MMA fan. Most people would think that being a coach of one of the teams on The Ultimate Fighter is a dream come true, but in an article by mmajunkie.com they make a point that coaching on MMA's top TV show may not be such a career boost for some of MMA's top professionals. For those of you who aren't familiar with the show, The Ultimate fighter is a TV series in which two professional UFC fighters coach two different teams made up of amateur fighters from around the world. There is one fight each week between a fighter from each team until there is only one fighter standing. The winner is offered a professional contract. Most fighters would take this job if they needed to try and expand their fan base. The show would give the fighters tons of exposure and allow them to run ads to sell a lot of their products, as well as advertise themselves or the gym they train out of. That works out really well since a lot of professional fighters are also entrepreneurs. The only problem is if you're already a huge star in the MMA world, why would you take this job? Brock Lesnar has been announced as one of the coaches in the upcoming new season of The Ultimate Fighter, and in this article from mmajunkie.com they discuss whether or not that is beneficial to Lesnar's career. He is the biggest star in the MMA universe and it is somewhat puzzling why he would take this job. The coaching slots on the show are scarce, and that is why they are in such high demand by so many fighters, but why would Lesnar take this job? There are tons of other fighters who need the exposure to help grow their fan base and make some more money, but Lesnar really couldn't get more popular. The opportunity cost for him taking this job is that he's losing much needed training time, especially since he lost his heavyweight title just months ago. Also the show could possibly hurt a fighter's fan base if the have a huge ego or a bad attitude. But the thing about the MMA business is that any exposure is good exposure and I completely agree with this article, in that being a coach on the Ultimate fighter is a great career move for Brock Lesnar. One of the most hated fighters to ever coach on the show, Josh Koscheck said it best,

"Love me or hate me, you're watching me, Once you stop caring is when I have a reason to worry."
Lesnar will no doubt make more money, as will Spike TV, and the UFC brand. Brock is the UFC's biggest star and the UFC definitely benefits anytime Brock Lesnar gets any exposure. In my opinion Brock will still have plenty of time to train, and will benefit greatly from the exposure he will receive while coaching on The Ultimate Fighter.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chinese Women in the Fast Lane

The relatively recent movement toward political liberalization in the Communist People's Republic of China has brought numerous refreshing changes to the world's most populous state. An article from Bloomberg News discusses one such reversal: The increasing number of very wealthy Chinese women and their apparent love for exotic supercars.

Beijing millionaire Lily Liu, who is currently scouring the market for an Aston Martin similar to James Bond's, says, “Fast cars have always been a man’s world... Women buying such cars are just seeking an equal standing with our male counterparts.” The Construction company president isn't alone. One out of every three Chinese millionaires are in fact women, and they account for more ultra-luxury car purchases than any other females around the globe.

So why do 11 out of 20 of the world's richest self-made women call China home? After opening its "economic borders" in 1978, the PRC has become the fastest growing major economy in the world with its strong, export driven base. Since then, legislation supporting this movement has helped keep this trend moving in the right direction. In the automotive industry, for example, foreign companies must form joint ventures with the Chinese for local assembly, allowing them to reap upwards of half of all profits.

As long as enough of the world's richest women continue to drive like James Bond, though, I don't think Aston Martin and Ferrari will mind.

Super Bowl XLV comes to DFW

As Super Bowl XLV draws near there are many questions as to how the DFW area will be affected by this huge event. Will the big game bring enough revenue in to cover what is being spent by the area to hold this big game?


"The cities maintain they will receive priceless exposure from the Super Bowl spotlight, and leaders are confident the outlay for security and services be repaid with increased tax revenues." Stated in the WFAA


No one is quite sure how much revenue will be brought in, but people shouldn't be worried. As we all know there is only one Super Bowl every year. The Super Bowl is a scarcity game. Everyone wants to be at the big game and people want to profit from it. As of today it cost a thousand to a hundred thousand to attend the game and that is even without the expense of travel and stay. Although the cost for someone to attend is extremely high, many people will take the opportunistic cost. To them it is worth the money to have the experience of going to Super Bowl XLV not only to see the game, but maybe to see the famous Dallas Cowboy stadium with one of the biggest jumbotrons in the world. No matter what the reasoning is, there is no question that money will come to the area. Not only will money come from the people buying tickets, but everything else around the area. Owners of restaurants, hotels, and even homeowners renting out their houses will see revenue from the big game.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2011 Oregon Ducks BCS Championship Uniforms

In an article from Fox 12 Oregon, the Oregon Ducks chosen uniforms for the BCS National Championship game were unveiled in Arlington, Texas and the Cowboy Stadium.

"The Oregon Ducks will be sporting new, high-tech uniforms for the BCS Championship Game and fans are now getting their first glimpse at what the Ducks will be wearing."

The Ducks choice to wear such bold uniforms gained them much publicity and media prior to the big game. Although some may argue that the color schemes and style of the uniforms seem atrocious, nothing but economic positives can come from choosing to wear such wild uniforms. After unveiling that Oregon would be wearing white pants and white jerseys outlined in neon yellow on Tuesday in Arlington, one thing was certain. The Ducks would stand out. Nike, along with designer Todd Van Horne concluded that the uniforms provide better breathability and improved padding in the knees and hips. Oregon already has the reputation as being the fastest team in the country, such statements by Nike only reinforce Oregon's speedy reputation. In the future, high school and colleges alike may turn to Nike to produce a uniform that offers them an advantage on the football field. Advantages in football mean more wins, publicity, and revenue from avid fans. Also, in a society so dominated by standing out as an individual, children, teens and adults may turn to nike for such bold outfits. In turn, increasing the number of good sold. A combination of technological advancements along with bold colors and modern fashion continue to propel Nike as the premier maker of sports apparel and equipment.

Monday, January 10, 2011

M.I.T. Takes iPad Approach

In a short article from the Wall Street Journal The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management's decision to go "paperless" by reviewing all of their applicants through Apple Inc.'s iPad tablets is reviewed.

"IPads were purchased for all 15 admissions team members at an approximate cost of $9,500; the school believes it will save $10,000 a year in paper costs", says Rod Garcia, director of M.B.A. admissions.

The decision by M.I.T. to use the iPad technology directly affects paper companies, and Apple Inc. The paper company that the university gets it's paper from will lose money while Apple will gain revenue. The action would not have the power to topple the paper company but in years to come the change by the university can become influential to other universities, companies, and general populations around the globe to become "paperless". I personally think that paper will become less and less used in the years to come. That is to say I don't think that we will see paper become obsolete any time soon, but I do believe that we will continue to see a steady rise in personal electronic production and consumption. Especially in a company like Apple, the potential for a company with a production selection like theirs in today's market can and already has taken over our world by storm. According to a source on digg.com 50 million American's own an Apple Inc. product and this measure was taken in 2007 so the number has probably increased significantly with the introduction of the iPhone 4g and the first generation iPad. M.I.T.'s change to "paperless" is only the first step to the makeover of the educational use of technology and Apple Inc. seems to be in the driver seat to make millions off of it.





Sunday, January 9, 2011

Has the Death of Free Checking Finally Arrived?

In an article from cnn.com a staff reporter discusses whether or not the death of free checking is finally upon us. He explains that the death of free checking isn't among us yet, but that most banks will offer actions to the owner of the accounts that will waive the extra fees.

"About 65% of financial institutions will still offer free checking, while 23% offer an account where fees can be waived with actions such as direct deposits."

A lot of the mega banks are switching to the accounts that allow the owner to waive the extra fees with certain actions. It all depends on whether or not the owner feels the opportunity cost of doing these special actions is worth saving some cash. I think it is a great compromise. A lot of the mega banks don't require the owner of the account to do anything too drastic to have the fees waived. As a matter of fact, most of the big banks just require that you maintain a minimum balance in your account at all times, or that you deposit a certain amount of money monthly. These seem like pretty fair compromises, but there will still be people who want free checking with no strings attached. A lot of the community banks still allow free checking. I think that the advantages of being a customer for a national bank are worth the special actions needed to waive extra fees. I think most people will stay with the mega banks and do whatever is needed to waive those extra fees (For some people the extra fees may not even promote a problem), but for those who don't take advantage of the benefits the big banks have to offer, a community bank is their best bet.