Sports and Fitness Trends

July 18, 2014
The old adage for achieving optimal fitness used to be to “eat your Wheaties.” Now, it’s “there’s an app for that.” Today tech gadgets are going the extra mile to enhance the athletic experience. According to a survey by CEA, wearable fitness devices quadrupled last year compared to 2012. Three times as many consumers now own some sort of gadget designed to enhance their health or athletic performance. The survey suggests more than half of these consumers use portable fitness devices for motivation, while 47 percent use them to monitor fitness goals and 46 percent monitor activity levels...

Your Brand Deserves Change

July 08, 2014
There are only a few “cult” brands whose lifetime value-tail and social consumer-tale allows for small mistakes along the way. Twists, turns and trials launching new products in lock step with market investments fuels, or perhaps dampens, brand level pent-up demand. On special product earned occasions the consumer becomes one with the brand and the brand is won with the consumer. In that affable life-cycle moment, investing a dollar to create change in the language of consumer opportunity to make or take a market accelerates the muscle of any “brand machine.” After all, the goal of a brands’ competitive prowess is to...

Online Curation: Human vs. Machine?

June 24, 2014
From Beats Music to 5by.com to GoodReads to bundled video apps on smart TVs, “curated content” is now a preferred way to hear, watch and read online in today’s cacophonic media environment. Curation, once the provenance of museum decision-makers, is now a way for digital audiences to find and consume exactly the entertainment and information they want. Curation means letting someone (or something) tell you what you like and then deliver it to your digital receiver. In the music category, for example, curation is a highly elevated version of the “mix tape” or...

What’s Driving Tech Spending in Poland?

June 18, 2014
The Polish economy is a heavyweight in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and a bellwether of the region’s economic health. And given the projected rate of Poland’s consumer spending on technology, which is helping to drive innovation and entrepreneurship across the region, the country is facing a dynamic future.   Though Poland’s economy is still emerging from a significant slowdown in late 2012 and early 2013, just last week the government said it expects the Polish economy to grow 3.8 percent in 2015. And with this recovery, demand for consumer electronics (CE) in the region is on the rise, according to research from the Consumer Electronics...

What’s Upp!

June 17, 2014
Two words can accurately sum up the first quarter of 2014 in tech and consumer electronics M&A: What’s Upp! Facebook alone announced more than $20 billion of deals, and a flurry of surprising and jaw-dropping valuations put an exclamation point on a robust quarter of deal activity. Acquirers and investors made big-time bets in the first quarter of 2014. Some strategically motivated deals involved proven and fast growing technologies such as Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp and Google’s $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest Labs. Financial investors also placed capital with...

The Promise of High-Resolution Audio

June 04, 2014
Last September, CEA announced its support for a new initiative called High Resolution Audio in a release including a statement from CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro as well as comments from top executives from leading CE manufacturers and music companies. For the first time, an entire industry was calling for a new approach to recording, distributing and listening to digital music. How significant is this initiative? “As the digital music space continues to evolve, we think a higher-quality listening experience will become a differentiator for increasing numbers of consumers of music and electronics products&mdash...

Retail Lessons Learned

June 03, 2014
Today, brick-and-mortar retailing is a brutal, rough and tumble slug-fest business undergoing colossal CPSF (cost per square foot) hyper-change among a multitude of risky headwinds. Selling and marketing in physical retail stores has accelerated from a low-risk, high-traffic, long-term secure investment business model to a new bulwark arena of mammoth change, disruption and losses. Retailers used a simple formula for decades to build revenue growth, profit and market dominance: build more physical stores, with more desired brands and products, with sharp price and promotion motivators...

How WhatsApp, SnapChat and Other Social Platforms are Changing the Way We Communicate

May 29, 2014
When Facebook agreed to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion, most analysts focused on the messaging app’s mega-sized valuation and global customer base – about 450 million people, 70 percent of whom are daily users. In March, Facebook was at it again, snapping up virtual reality leader Oculus VR Inc., creating what Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg called “the most social platform ever,” one that would “change the way we work, play and communicate.” Analysts who focus on the size and scope of these acquisitions are missing the bigger picture: these investments are about community. Like Facebook itself, WhatsApp and Oculus facilitate easier...

Rational Expectations for China

May 12, 2014
China’s growth is slowing. While I don’t believe economic growth will slow enough to produce a hard landing, China’s search for a more sustainable economic model will lead to a changing business environment that executives doing business in China need to come to grips with. Slowing economic growth is inevitable in maturing markets. China’s economy has grown by roughly 10 percent each year since the 1980s, but China’s “Five Year Plan” calls for slower growth. The economy grew just 7.7 percent in 2013 and is targeting 7.5 percent growth for 2014. As China turns its...
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