Category Archives: Business

Clashes with Russia point to globalization’s end

By Mark Leonard – The burger chain was celebrated in the 1990s by the journalist Thomas Friedman’s “Golden Arches theory of conflict prevention,” which argued that the spread of McDonald’s around the world would bring an end to war. But almost 25 years after a McDonald’s restaurant opened in Moscow, it seems that deep interdependence has not ended conflict between great powers – it has merely provided a new battlefield for it.

Many saw global trade relations as a prelude to global government, with rising powers such as Russia and China being socialized into roles as “responsible stakeholders” in a single global system.

But multilateral integration now seems to be dividing rather than uniting. Geopolitical competition gridlocks global institutions; the Ukraine crisis came about because of a clash between two incompatible projects of multilateral integration — the European-led Eastern Partnership and Russia’s Eurasian Union. more>

How Much Time Does a Good Social Media Strategy Really Take?

By Kevan Lee – What do you want to use social for:

  • Sales?
  • Loyalty?
  • Awareness?

These are the three main areas that Jay Baer identifies as potential focus points of a social media strategy.

As Baer puts it: What’s the point of your social media marketing? Pick one of the above, and focus your efforts on that single objective. more>

Updates from GE

Underdog Scientist Cracks Code to Reduce Flight Delays

GE – Currently, the flight plans that set routes, speed and altitudes for passenger planes have one major flaw – it’s impossible to adjust them in real time during the flight. This means they can’t take account of constantly changing variables like wind, weather and airspace restraints. Jose Fonollosa’s algorithms use national airspace data from Flight Stats to determine in real time the most efficient flight paths, speeds and altitudes.

GE organized the competition in partnership with the open Big Data community Kaggle and Alaska Airlines. The companies challenged data scientists to develop algorithms that could improve flight efficiency and reduce the number of delays.

The winning model by Jose Fonollosa, a professor at the Signal Theory and Communications Department of Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña in Barcelona, Spain, turned out to be 12 percent more efficient when compared with data from actual flights. more>

The Hidden Reason for Americans’ Shrinking Wealth

By Allison Schrager – Starting around 2001, American families put an increasing amount of their wealth in housing and took on more debt. This came at the expense of other kinds of investments, such as nonhousing wealth, which hasn’t returned to its 2001 peak.

As a result, real estate became a far bigger part of household wealth: Its value increased, and people bought more of it. The disproportionate investment is a big reason median wealth fell almost 40 percent when the housing bubble burst, and also a big reason we still haven’t fully recovered. more>

Net neutrality sounds good, but it’s worse

By Ev Ehrlich – Think about a newspaper – it works the same way. The Chronicle attracts readers so it can attract advertisers. It also attracts advertisers so it can attract readers. What if The Chronicle weren’t allowed to accept money from advertisers because “newspaper neutrality” made it impossible to let some stores advertise and others not? The price of the paper would go up, because the reader would have to carry the entire cost of the paper.

The Internet works the same way. Users – you and I – carry more than our fair share, while the mega-sites pay less than they should given the congestion they cause and the value of a connection to them.

That’s part of the reason why the profit margins of companies like Google and Facebook and Yahoo are six to eight times those of the companies such as Verizon or AT&T or Comcast.

When you get right down to it, you and I and Selby are subsidizing these behemoths; no wonder they’re the biggest proponents of neutrality. more>