Stories by businessweek.com


This CEO Gives Every Employee His Cell Number (Seriously)
By Venessa Wong

(Corrects number of employees)

Every now and then, a Quicken Loans employee accidentally “pocket” dials Chief Executive Bill Emerson. He doesn’t mind. “It’s an open culture,” he says. In the past six years, the 49-year-old has given out the number of his personal cell phone to each of the Detroit company’s 8,500 employees.

“It’s a personal choice for a CEO,” he says. “I encourage leaders to be accessible because it breeds an inclusive culture.”

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AOL Wants to Renovate Your Inbox
By Sam Grobart

AOL has come up with a way to make your existing webmail inbox more attractive and possibly more efficient

AOL (AOL) unveiled a new webmail service called Alto.

Well, that’s not entirely accurate. Alto is not a new webmail service in the way that Gmail and Yahoo! Mail are webmail services. And that’s a good thing—the world doesn’t need another e-mail address to consider switching to. (How’s that new outlook.com domain working out, Microsoft (MSFT)?)

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GoPro Widens the View of Its Customer Base
By Peter Burrows

(Corrects to say that all three versions of Woodman Labs’ new Hero3 camera have built-in Wi-Fi, not just the highest-priced model. )

Nicholas Woodman, the founder of the company that makes GoPro video cameras, often gets asked whether selling tiny, rugged cameras so surfers, skiers, and skydivers can record their exploits is just a niche business. “It’s becoming the norm to document more and more of our lives,” Woodman says. “If this is a niche, it’s a very big one.” So big, in fact, that he says his company, San Mateo (Calif.)-based Woodman Labs, will soon have the option of going public.

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Amazon vs. Publishers: The Book Battle Continues


See on Scoop.ithuman being in – perfección

There’s a glaring anachronism at the center of most Amazon.com (AMZN) fulfillment centers: aisle after aisle of old-fashioned books. Amazon stocks these volumes for the many customers who still favor the tangible pleasures of reading on paper. Yet the company is relentless about increasing efficiency and has at the ready an easy way to remove some of those bookshelves: on-demand printing. With an industrial-strength printer and a digital book file from the publisher, Amazon could easily wait to print a book until after a customer clicks the yellow “place your order” button. The technology is championed by those who want to streamline the book business—and it might turn out to be a flash point in the hypertense world of publishing.

The book industry isn’t eager to embrace any more wrenching changes. The introduction of the Kindle in 2007, and Amazon’s insistence on a customer-friendly $9.99 price for new releases, has set off a multifront fracas. Efforts by the largest publishers to sidestep Amazon’s pricing strategy attracted the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice, which recently filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple (AAPL) and five book publishers over their alleged collusion to raise e-book prices. (Three publishers have settled the lawsuit.) The issue of print on demand has taken a backseat as this e-book drama plays out. Leer más “Amazon vs. Publishers: The Book Battle Continues”

Finally, an Espresso Machine for the Car

The invention frees caffeine lovers from the tyranny of the clunky, immobile espresso machine. The company draws its unofficial motto, “Liberté, qualité, mobilité” from the French Revolution slogan, “Liberté, égalité, fraternité.”

Some might consider front-seat brewing an accident waiting to happen. No laws prohibit this kind of drinking and driving, but the company encourages users to stop their cars to savor the espresso, says spokeswoman Catherine Nielsen, also the wife of Handpresso inventor Henrik Nielsen, who passed away three months ago, before this product hit the market.

Handpresso Auto started selling in France last month for €149—the first shipments go out in April—and the company will make a big push at the Paris Motor Show in September. As part of a viral marketing strategy, samples have also been distributed to cab drivers, who have received positive feedback from passengers so far.


By  and 
http://www.businessweek.com

0326_handpresso_630x420It’s 8:45 a.m. and you’re just getting into your car to leave for work. There’s no time for coffee—but you’ve never needed it more. A new espresso machine that plugs into a car’s cigarette lighter socket aims to give French drivers a cup of espresso wherever they are.

The Handpresso Auto is the newest addition to Fontainebleau-based Handpresso’s line of portable, hand-held espresso makers. Users plug the machine, about the size of a flashlight, into a cigarette lighter, add water, pop in a pod of espresso grounds (any brand is fine), and press a button. Water is pumped through the grounds at 16 bars of pressure—nine bars is typically considered the minimum—and the drink is ready in two minutes (click to see a video). Leer más “Finally, an Espresso Machine for the Car”

Pepsi Levies a Sin Tax on Its Workers

The workers decided they wanted to withdraw as a group from Pepsi’s health plan, so Martucci began shopping for a new one. A dozen insurers were interested in the Teamsters’ business, but they wouldn’t provide quotes without seeing a history of employee health claims to get a sense of the costs they could expect. Martucci says Pepsi-Co failed to turn over everything the Teamsters requested, citing health-care privacy laws. “We have always been willing to provide the unions with as much information as possible,” says Dave DeCecco, a PepsiCo spokesman. Martucci filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board last fall alleging that the company violated its contract with the Teamsters. A spokesman for the NLRB says it’s trying to negotiate a settlement.

PepsiCo opposes so-called sin taxes when it comes to levying them on its own products—an idea Congress floated in 2009 as a way to pay for health-care reform. Thirty states introduced legislation for soda taxes meant to improve residents’ health and close budget gaps. PepsiCo spent at least $17 million on lobbying and advertising to battle the proposals from 2009 to 2011, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington advocacy group. In the end, none of the taxes passed. “Most rational people understand that one product is not the cause of obesity,” says DeCecco. “It’s caused by a multitude of factors.”


By  | businessweek.com

Pol_pepsi12__01__630x420Four years ago, PepsiCo (PEP) began rolling out a wellness program that charges its employees $50 a month if they smoke or have obesity-related medical problems such as diabetes, hypertension, and high blood pressure.

1950's Pepsi Please

Workers can avoid the surcharge if they attend classes to learn how to break their nicotine addictions or lose weight. When about 400 unionized PepsiCo bottlers and truck drivers in central New York learned early last year they’d be subject to the fee, they rebelled. It’s a “sin tax,” says Ozzie Martucci, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 669 in Albany. “We’re against that type of tax, frankly. It feels wrong.” Leer más “Pepsi Levies a Sin Tax on Its Workers”

Do We Need a Copyright Symbol for Sharing?

Found a funny cat photo online? You can post it on Pinterest, tweet it, Tumblr it, or Facebook it—but Maria Popova, the blogger behind the popular Brainpickingswebsite, says you’d better be sure to cite where you found it.
Popova spends hours each day finding links to share with her audience, and argues that curating others’ work makes her just as much a creator as the people she blogs about. And just as deserving of credit.

“Discovery of information is a form of intellectual labor,” she said to theNew York Times.
“When we don’t honor discovery, we are robbing somebody’s time and labor.” She’s proposed the

“Curator’s Code” to standardize attribution on the Web, with two new characters that would work much like the © symbol used to indicate copyright >>>>


Social Media
By 

Found a funny cat photo online? You can post it on Pinterest, tweet it, Tumblr it, or Facebook it—but Maria Popova, the blogger behind the popular Brainpickingswebsite, says you’d better be sure to cite where you found it.
0313_tech_copyright630x420Popova spends hours each day finding links to share with her audience, and argues that curating others’ work makes her just as much a creator as the people she blogs about. And just as deserving of credit.

“Discovery of information is a form of intellectual labor,” she said to theNew York Times.
“When we don’t honor discovery, we are robbing somebody’s time and labor.” She’s proposed the

Curator’s Code” to standardize attribution on the Web, with two new characters that would work much like the © symbol used to indicate copyright  >>>> Leer más “Do We Need a Copyright Symbol for Sharing?”

Soft Drinks vs. Energy Drinks

What helps you perform better: the calorific elixirs of old, or today’s supercharged formulas?

Praised as the antidote to evil, fattening sodas, functional beverages from vitamin-enhanced waters to happiness tonics have been tearing up the American drinks market this decade.

“[Functional] beverages in today’s market [are] certainly driving growth across the board, in all beverage categories,” says Andrew Guard, new products editor at BevNet, a beverage industry news site, describing a market that’s already “functional crazy.” However, the latest drinkable health boom may just be history repeating itself.


http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/soft-drinks-vs-energy-drinks-01192012-gfx.html
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What helps you perform better: the calorific elixirs of old, or today’s supercharged formulas?

Praised as the antidote to evil, fattening sodas, functional beverages from vitamin-enhanced waters to happiness tonics have been tearing up the American drinks market this decade.

“[Functional] beverages in today’s market [are] certainly driving growth across the board, in all beverage categories,” says Andrew Guard, new products editor at BevNet, a beverage industry news site, describing a market that’s already “functional crazy.” However, the latest drinkable health boom may just be history repeating itself. Leer más “Soft Drinks vs. Energy Drinks”

Facebook and Goldman Sachs: Inflating a New Bubble?

More than a decade has passed since Time Warner (TWX) and America Online (AOL) merged in a $180 billion deal, marking the peak of the Internet bubble and beginning a long drought for technology stocks—a drought that has arguably been broken only by Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG). Now Facebook seems to be taking the lead in the next wave of tech-stock enthusiasm, with Goldman Sachs (GS) reportedly investing $450 million in the social network, giving the company a theoretical market value of $50 billion and positioning it for what seems like an inevitable initial public offering. That may be good for Facebook and Goldman, but will it be good for investors?


Goldman’s gambit, of buying Facebook shares before they go public, values the social network at a hefty $50 billion

By Mathew Ingram
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jan2011/tc2011013_185170.htm

More than a decade has passed since Time Warner (TWX) and America Online (AOL) merged in a $180 billion deal, marking the peak of the Internet bubble and beginning a long drought for technology stocks—a drought that has arguably been broken only by Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG). Now Facebook seems to be taking the lead in the next wave of tech-stock enthusiasm, with Goldman Sachs (GS) reportedly investing $450 million in the social network, giving the company a theoretical market value of $50 billion and positioning it for what seems like an inevitable initial public offering. That may be good for Facebook and Goldman, but will it be good for investors? Leer más “Facebook and Goldman Sachs: Inflating a New Bubble?”