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The Woulds of Wall Street

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You haven’t studied enough for the Scholar’s Challenge? “That’s a tomorrow problem,” your teammate says. “First, we need to book a flight to Baku.” Economists also distinguish between today’s problems and tomorrow’s: they define “the long run” as that time in the future when everything can be changed, versus “the short run” when we’re stuck with the world as it is. In the long run, a successful company can build as many factories as it needs; in the short run, it can’t make more products without taking extraordinary measures, like giving everyone coffee so that they work twice as quickly. Discuss with your team: does this distinction between the short run and the long run make sense for telling apart the present and the future in other areas of life, too?

A struggling company fires its CEO and reorganizes its operations in an effort to stave off disaster—see, Apple Computer, in 1985, letting go of Steve Jobs. Corporate restructurings are, in a sense, reimaginings of the present, usually under pressure. Apple restructured again when it brought Steve Jobs back in 1997. Explore the following examples of corporate restructurings, mainly from the tech world, then discuss with your team: what is a company that you would suggest restructuring?

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This New York Times article dates to 1985 when Apple announced Steve Jobs will be leaving his day-to-day position as general manager of the Macintosh business and only remain as Chairman of the Board. This was seen as a push by John Sculley, president and chief executive, to assert leadership at a time when the company is beset with numerous problems. Apple was reeling both from the general slowdown in personal computer sales and problems within the company. The reorganization was part of many steps Apple took to try to reduce costs and improve its management. It has scaled back advertising, closed factories for a week, eliminated its Lisa computer and some development efforts, and laid off more than 1,600 people. This corporate reorganization eliminates the two separate product divisions - one for the Macintosh and the other for the Apple II - and replaces them with an operations division and a sales and marketing division. 

To summarize Apple was getting rid of young but inexperienced executives (like Jobs) and getting more experienced veterans from other leading companies. Interestingly, even though there were reports of friction. Jobs also noted that he was better at product development and not so great with operations. The goal of bringing in Sculley was to get out of the old Apple culture, but as he was a subordinate working for Jobs, he was getting too caught up. Analysts supported this move as it made more sense for the two divisions to be united in marketing and sales, if they targeted the same retail partners. However, even these changes can't turn around the industry which is slowing down in general.  Coupled with Apple's challenges in selling to companies, it was a tough time for the tech brand. 

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, in 1997, it had a conventional structure for a company of its size and scope. It was divided into business units, each with its own P&L responsibilities. Believing that conventional management had stifled innovation, Jobs laid off the general managers of all the business units (in a single day), put the entire company under one P&L, and combined the disparate functional departments of the business units into one functional organization. Although such a structure is common for small entrepreneurial firms, Apple—remarkably—retains it today, even though the company is nearly 40 times as large in terms of revenue and far more complex than it was in 1997. In this article the authors discuss the innovation benefits and leadership challenges of Apple’s distinctive and ever-evolving organizational model in the belief that it may be useful for other companies competing in rapidly changing environments.

Apple is well-known for its innovations in hardware, software, and services. Thanks to them, it grew from some 8,000 employees and $7 billion in revenue in 1997, the year Steve Jobs returned, to 137,000 employees and $260 billion in revenue in 2019. Much less well-known are the organizational design and the associated leadership model that have played a crucial role in the company’s innovation success.  Currently, CEO Tim Cook occupies the only position on the organizational chart where the design, engineering, operations, marketing, and retail of any of Apple’s main products meet.

Usually, businesses as they grow, they shift from functional to multi-divisional, so not all the decisions go to the very top. In the early 20th century, DuPont and General Motors moved to a multi-divisional organization structure. Apple however believes that function structure is better suited for companies geared for innovation. 

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To create such innovations, Apple relies on a structure that centers on functional expertise. Its fundamental belief is that those with the most expertise and experience in a domain should have decision rights for that domain. This is based on two views: First, Apple competes in markets where the rates of technological change and disruption are high, so relying on technical experts rather than general managers increases the odds that those bets will pay off. Second, Apple’s commitment to offer the best possible products would lessen if leadership cared more about short-term profit and cost targets when judging investments. One example was the iPhone 7 Plus with dual-lens camera with portrait mode. The team that was in charge of it took a big risk and if they were wrong, they would lose credibility, but luckily they were right as people were willing to pay more for a premium camera. Harvard Business School historian Alfred Chandler argued, "structure followed strategy." 

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Steve Jobs's system expects to have three leadership characteristics:

1) deep expertise that allows them to meaningfully engage in all the work being done within their individual functions. The assumption is that it’s easier to train an expert to manage well than to train a manager to be an expert. In a 1984 interview he said, “We went through that stage in Apple where we went out and thought, Oh, we’re gonna be a big company, let’s hire professional management. We went out and hired a bunch of professional management. It didn’t work at all….They knew how to manage, but they didn’t know how to do anything. If you’re a great person, why do you want to work for somebody you can’t learn anything from? 

2) immersion in the details of those functions. “Leaders should know the details of their organization three levels down,” because that is essential for speedy and effective cross-functional decision-making at the highest levels." See example on left about squircles. Leaders can push, probe, and “smell” an issue. They know which details are important and where to focus their attention. 

3) a willingness to collaboratively debate other functions during collective decision-making. How on earth does Apple develop and ship products that require such coordination? The answer is collaborative debate. Because no function is responsible for a product or a service on its own, cross-functional collaboration is crucial. When debates reach an impasse, as some inevitably do, higher-level managers weigh in as tiebreakers, including at times the CEO and the senior VPs. 

Lastly, as Apple's size grew, it did not increase its senior managers as the same rate. Therefore, it also introduced the concept of discretionary leadership, where other expert in teams would have the ability to make their own decisions. Leaders would also have to dedicate effort to own new skills. Therefore, the delegating and teaching only accounts for 30%, while the owning and learning is as high as 70%. 

According to this article from the business journal at Warton, Google’s move to restructure itself under a new holding company named Alphabet will help protect its core brand, gives greater independence for its riskier investments — such as driverless cars or human longevity — and also brings greater accountability and transparency in those investments. Google is restructuring to meet competition locally and internationally and this move by CEO Pichai will test the competitiveness of non-internet related investments.  

As an Alphabet subsidiary, Google will retain the Internet products — including the search engine business, YouTube and Android. The rest — Google’s non-Internet arms like research and development biotech firm Calico, venture capital arm Google Ventures and growth equity investment fund Google Capital — will become other Alphabet subsidiaries. Google co-founder Larry Page in announcing the restructuring. “Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related.”

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While this restructuring helps the senior management focus on innovation, it also leads to transparency. If the non-internet related businesses do poorly, don't make money, such as driverless cars and drones, investors might not want to invest in Google. This new structure however, gives the start-up businesses more freedom for merger and acquisitions, as they were previously held under the rules and regulations of a publicly listed company. Google has also faced some privacy issues, especially in Europe and North America, and restructuring the business can help isolate or shield the new businesses. 

Eric Bradlow, Wharton professor of marketing and co-director of the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative. “It allows Google to have many uncertain, but high potential, ventures without damaging the parent brand. It also allows them the opportunity to keep the P&L separate for different areas of the company.” Further, he sees the move as allowing Alphabet to build brands that are further separated from the Google brand. Additionally, this helps them retain top talent such as Pichai, who now runs Google as CEO; he was rumored to be heading to Twitter, but co-founders Page and Brin were able to keep him at the same duties by giving him a CEO title. This also signals a trend for the next generation of senior management, as new talent takes the place of founders. One example was Satya Nadella, now CEO of Microsoft.

In 2021, Facebook reshuffled its names under a rebranded corporate parent: Meta. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the change, saying he wanted a new brand and a clearer corporate naming scheme to help focus on what's next for the internet beyond social media. Zuckerberg, who has a longtime interest in studying classical Greece and Rome, noted that "meta" is Greek for "beyond."

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However, shifting a 68,000-person social networking company toward the theoretical metaverse has caused internal disruption and uncertainty. This is not the first time that Facebook made some drastic changes. In 2014, it shifted its social networks away from desktop computers to mobile phones. This time, the shift may give Meta a head start on the internet’s next phase, the metaverse remains a largely theoretical concept — unlike the 2012 move to mobile, when smartphones were already widely used. 

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Following this announcement, meta began a hiring frenzy. Of the more than 3,000 open jobs listed on Meta’s website, more than 24 percent are for roles in augmented or virtual reality. One of key changes in the senior leadership was Zuckerberg appointing Andrew Bosworth (Boz) as the chief technology officer. 

So, how has the restructuring benefited or harmed Facebook? Meta Posts $4.2 Billion Restructuring Charge (pay outs to employees and redesigning

and shifting around office space).  “Our management theme for 2023 is the ‘Year of Efficiency’ and we’re focused on becoming a stronger and more nimble organization,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in a statement. Macroeconomic issues aside, Meta faces tough challenges. After 18-plus years of rocket-ship growth of user and revenue, the company runs the risk of longtime users departing to other newer apps like TikTok, which  Zuckerberg considers his most formidable opponents.

Elon Musk completed his acquisition of Twitter in October 2022; Musk acted as CEO of Twitter until June 2023 when he was succeeded by Linda Yaccarino. Twitter was then rebranded to X in July 2023. Initially during Musk's tenure, Twitter introduced a series of reforms and management changes; the company reinstated a number of previously banned accounts, reduced the workforce by approximately 80%, closed one of Twitter's three data centers, and largely eliminated the content moderation team, replacing it with the crowd-sourced fact-checking system Community Notes.

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Elon Musk finds out it is not easy running a social media app. One year after Musk's acquisition, active user engagement on the mobile app had declined 16% and the value of the company is estimated to be down between 55% and 65%, below the acquisition price of $44 billion. A lot happened. Here is a brief list of the events:

 

November 2022 lay off and mass resignation - Musk and Twitter began laying off a big portion of the company's workforce and Twitter temporarily closed its offices. On November 16, Musk delivered an ultimatum to employees via email: commit to "extremely hardcore" work in order to realize Musk's vision of "Twitter 2.0", or leave. 

November 2022 Twitter resignation poll -  On December 18, amid growing public discontent surrounding the ElonJet and Mastodon (Mastodon was created by Eugen Rochko in 2016 and gained significant adoption in 2022 in the wake of Twitter's acquisition by Elon Musk) controversies, Musk conducted an open-access Twitter poll asking whether he should resign from his position as Twitter CEO, claiming that he would "abide by the results"The poll resolved to "yes" after 57.5 percent of 17.5 million users voted in favor of him stepping down.

November 2022 - Twitter then began offering paid verification checkmarks, followed by removing legacy verification. On October 30, technology newsletter Platformer reported that Twitter would require users to purchase a Twitter Blue subscription to retain the blue checkmarks indicating they were "verified" on the platform, which Musk later confirmed, saying it was a measure to combat spambot accounts.

December 2022 and ongoing increase in hate speech  - Soon after Musk's takeover, Twitter announced it would no longer enforce its policy prohibiting COVID-19 misinformation. Algorithm changes promoted viral disinformation about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and led to significant gains in followers for media outlets affiliated with Russia, China and Iran. Additionally, antisemitic, LGBTQ, anti-Islamic and other groups also noted increase in hate speech. As of September 2023, Twitter now relies exclusively on its Community Notes program to combat misinformation. In November 2023, the CCDH released a new report claiming 98% of misinformation, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other hate speech, in relation to the Israel-Hamas war, remained on X after 7 days of reporting, generating over 24 million views. X responded by detailing the removal of 3,000 account and taking action against 325,000 pieces of content.

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April 2023 Pentagon leaks -  Leaked documents began to spread across Twitter, despite the platform's ban on such material. In response to a tweet about the leak, Musk sarcastically wrote that "you can totally delete things from the Internet" and "that works perfectly and doesn't draw attention to whatever you were trying to hide at all"

August 2023 Headline removal Fortune reported that Musk was planning to remove headlines and other text from news articles posted on Twitter, so that only the lead image would appear on tweets. Analysis conducted by research firm Sensor Tower in October 2023 found that global active daily users of X via mobile apps had steadily declined during the year after Musk acquired the company, down 16% by September 2023, while the metric showed positive growth for five other major social media platforms.

Ongoing issues: 

Account suspension - Since Elon came on board, different kinds of accounts have been suspended or deleted, including far-right activist groups, Donald Trump, Kanye West and other left-leaning journalists. In May 2023, Elon Musk announced Twitter would delete accounts that have been inactive for several years, including accounts of dead people. This led to criticism, mainly from those who charged it would disallow them from reading tweets written by their deceased loved ones.

New UsersIn October 2023, X began charging new users in New Zealand and the Philippines an annual fee of $1 in order to use basic features such as posting, replying and quoting tweets. The change was part of a test to determine whether users would be willing to pay a fee to access the platform. In April 2024, Musk announced that new users would soon have to pay in order to tweet, writing, "Unfortunately, a small fee for writing access from new users is the only way to stop the relentless onslaught of bots"

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Netflix is an American subscription video on-demand over-the-top streaming service. Netflix was founded by Marc Randolph and  Reed Hastings on August 1997 in California.  The service primarily distributes original and acquired films and television shows from various genres, and it is available internationally in multiple languages.

 

Netflix initially both sold and rented DVDs by mail, but the sales were eliminated within a year to focus on the DVD rental business. In

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February 2007, Netflix delivered its billionth DVD, a copy of Babel to a customer in Texas. In 2007, the company launched a streaming media service, introducing video on demand via the Internet. Following the success of Hulu and Apple TV, Netflix also began streaming movies and moved away from DVD. By 2008, Netflix had deals with all the major movie companies to stream movies online. Later in 2011, its first original show was "House of Cards". 

On September 18, 2011, Netflix announced its intentions to rebrand and restructure its DVD home media rental service as an independent subsidiary called Qwikster, separating DVD rental and streaming services. Instead of paying $10 a month for DVD rentals and unlimited on-demand streaming, customers who wanted both services would have to pay for two different packages, each starting at $7.99, or $15.98 for the pair.  

 

At first, the stock rose to an all-time closing high of $42.68, with investors drawn to the additional revenue per subscriber the move might produce. So if a customer with both services needed to change their billing or contact information, they’d need to do so in two places. Naturally, customers didn't like that at all. Qwikster was shelved after a mere three week. The whole ordeal cost the company about 800,000 US subscribers in the third quarter of 2011, its first decline in years. 

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Luckily,  Netflix streaming services survived the stumble and  continued its slow and steady upward trajectory with an aggressive price of USD 7.99 per month or USD 15.98 for DVD rentals and streaming service, by 2012 outperforming Apple, Google, HBO, or Amazon in terms of the volume of content available for the said price. Netflix finally learned its lesson and the next time it increased prices modestly, it did so when many hot shows were announced and took int account consumer behavior. 

Then in 2019, Uber had an IPO and it went downhill.  Uber lost $8.5 billion in 2019 and it had to lay off around 1,000 workers amid restructuring efforts. How did that happen?!

1) Regulation: The company faced enormous pressure from regulators, including California’s groundbreaking new gig work law that makes it harder for the company to classify drivers as independent contractors. It also lost its license in London after regulators identified a “pattern of failures.”  

2) Labor and costs: Labor activists are pushing back against the lack of worker protections for drivers.

3) Competition: In cities around the world, Uber faces well-financed competitors offering a substantially similar product. Lyft is Uber's leading competitor. 

4) Safety and privacy concerns: This has plagued Uber for a long time continues to worry consumers and drivers, as many incidents happened around the world. Most notably the murder of 16 drivers in Brazil. 

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May 2024, Ilya Sutskever, the OpenAI co-founder and chief scientist who in November joined three other board members to force out Sam Altman, the company’s high-profile chief executive, before saying he regretted the move, is leaving the San Francisco A.I. company.  Dr. Sutskever’s departure, which the company announced in a blog post on May 14, 2024 closes another chapter in a story that stunned Silicon Valley and that raised questions about whether Mr. Altman and his company were prepared to lead the tech industry into the age of artificial intelligence. After returning to OpenAI just five days after he was ousted, Mr. Altman reasserted his control and continued its push toward increasingly powerful technologies that worried some of his critics. 

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May 2024, OpenAI unveiled a new version of its ChatGPT chatbot that can receive and respond to voice commands, images and videos, joining tech giants like Google and Apple in a race toward a new kind of talking digital assistant. 

Founded in 2015 by Sam Altman, Elon Musk and several young researchers, including Dr. Sutskever, OpenAI has long been at the forefront of A.I. research. Dr. Sutskever’s involvement provided the company with instant credibility. As a graduate student at the University of Toronto, he had been part of an A.I. breakthrough involving neural networks — the technology that has driven the field’s progress over the last decade.

OpenAI’s structure is corporate unique. It started as a nonprofit organization with a mission to develop AI that would be helpful and safe for everyone. This was different from the profit-focused approach of other big tech companies. However, in 2019, they started a for-profit part of the company to get the funding and resources they needed. This made the company’s structure more complex.

This mix of nonprofit and for-profit aims was a bold experiment. It tried to balance the goal of developing AI for the good of humanity with the reality of needing money and resources. The directors had to focus on developing AI safely and beneficially, but the for-profit part had to think about making money too.

In 2023, the board became smaller as some members left, reducing its diversity and range of experience. This change led to the recent surprising decisions. As AI is so important and influential in society, is it safe for such an impactful company to be controlled by such a few people at the top. What kind of ethical risks might there be?

As you review the above examples, consider the different kinds of restructuring. For instance, many theorists argue that small companies are organized functionally—each person or department does a different thing, such as writing Challenge questions or booking flights—but that, as these companies grow larger, they inevitably reorganize into different divisions, each in charge of its own products or region. This article disagrees: it contends that Apple, under Steve Jobs and his successors, has shown that even giant companies can continue to operate with a functional model. Discuss with your team: can we apply these approaches in our own lives? What would it mean for a school to be structured functionally?

Restructuring mainly changes the inside of a company; rebranding changes how it presents to the world outside. Check out this ongoing rebranding effort by a recently revitalized Air India, or ask Gemini about Google’s rebranding of its AI chatbot, Bard. Investigate these examples and those below, as well as others happening throughout the year, then discuss with your team: can a rebranding succeed even if the product or service stays the same? And should consumers have a voice in rebranding campaigns?

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India's Tata Group has unveiled a new logo, branding and livery for Air India as part of a multi-million dollar transformation of the former national carrier. The logo includes a design with golden, red and purple colours, and will replace the old one of a red swan. A big part of this rebranding exercise of Air India is its logo, the Vista, which draws inspiration from the airline’s ‘jharoka’/window.  The rebranding exercise comes years after Tata Group bought the debt-ridden airline in October 2021.  

CEO Campbell Wilson said the company will not completely do away with the airline's iconic mascot of a cheerful Maharaja, which has been one of India's most recognisable symbols.

But they would "move beyond" it while retaining the mascot's elements that spell hospitality and service. Air India was founded by the Tata group in 1932 before it was taken over by the government in 1953. Since taking control, Tata has spent millions of dollars to update the air carrier's fleet. In February, the company announced a deal with Europe's Airbus and US-based Boeing to buy a record 470 new aircrafts as part of the airline's push to become a bigger global player.  

Mr Wilson said that all of the airline's widebody planes will be refurbished with new livery by 2025. He added that Air India was also building new lounges at the Delhi and New York airports as part of its plans for a global lounge network that covered all destinations in its international route.

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In Feb 2024, Google rebranded its generative AI chatbot Bard to Gemini and also launched its most powerful LLM called Gemini Advanced.  Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai shared the reason for this major step. This shift marks a strategic move to align with the company’s approach to building advanced, safe, and responsible AI models.

Such a comprehensive rebranding begs the question of what exactly Bard and Duet AI were meant to represent for Google. It could be argued that they were somewhat of a stopgap until the tech giant could build up its capabilities. It’s no secret that Google was broadsided by Microsoft in late 2022 with the launch of ChatGPT.

Gemini's core features remain intact, but there will be updates to visuals and UI.  Google will launch a paid Gemini Advanced version, which uses a more powerful generative AI model.  A new Gemini app is coming to Android and will integrate with Gmail, Maps, and YouTube.

“Gemini is our approach overall in terms of how we are building our most capable and safe and responsible AI models, it’s the frontier of the technology we are pushing along. And Bard was the most direct way people could interact with our models. So, it made sense to evolve it to be Gemini, because they’re actually talking directly to the underlying Gemini model when using it. It will also be the way by which we will keep advancing our models and users can experience it directly. And so, the name change made sense,” said Pichai. While Bard was launched with PaLM as its underlying generative AI model, Google introduced its new AI model Gemini late last year. It looks like the rebranding is an effort to show that the product is now so significantly better that it deserves a new name.

In independent assessments, Gemini Advanced with Ultra 1.0 outperformed leading alternatives in chatbot preferences. With Ultra 1.0, Gemini Advanced excels in complex tasks like coding, logical reasoning, and creative collaboration. It supports longer, more detailed conversations and understands context better. It also serves as a personal tutor, assists in advanced coding scenarios, and aids digital creators in content generation and audience growth.  Users can now engage with Gemini in over 40 languages and 230 countries. Gemini Advanced introduces Ultra 1.0, their most powerful AI model.

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Of course, it's not uncommon for major rebrandings to happen. Microsoft did the same in November 2023, dropping the Bing Chat branding to Copilot to create a more aligned image for its flagship feature.

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In September 2018, Dunkin’ Donuts did a big rebrand into Dunkin'. It has been on a first-name basis with its fans long before the introduction of its iconic tagline, “America Runs on Dunkin’,’’ with customers around the world naturally and affectionately referring to the brand as “Dunkin’.” In recognition of this relationship, and as one of many steps to transform itself into the premier beverage-led, on-the-go brand. The new branding conveys the company’s focus on serving great coffee fast, while embracing Dunkin’s heritage by retaining its familiar pink and orange colors and iconic font, introduced in 1973.  People seem to have completely forgotten that Dunkin’ was meant to be a verb in the name. It was only natural for the brand itself to follow suit.

According to Dunkin’ Brands’ CEO and Dunkin’ U.S. President David Hoffmann, “Our new branding is one of many things we are doing as part of our blueprint for growth to modernize the Dunkin’ experience for our customers. From our next generation restaurants, to our menu innovation, on-the-go ordering and value offerings, all delivered at the speed of Dunkin’, we are working to provide our guests with great beverages, delicious food and unparalleled convenience." Now, Dunkin’ is hoping the rebrand will shed more light on their popular beverage products. Dunkin’ claims that beverages, especially coffee, make up 60% of the company’s US sales, and this name update gives the chain a chance to increase the brand’s flexibility. 

In 2022, T-Mobile rebranded. Gone is the old, iconic magenta the Un-carrier is known for. Today, nearly two years after joining forces with Sprint, T-Mobile introduced New Magenta, a revolutionary new color fit only for the 5G leader with the largest and fastest 5G network. More Un-carrier, more 5G and most of all … more magenta. 

 

Is color really that important to a brand? From Tiffany blue to UPS brown, the telecom company isn’t alone in trying to protect a particular color as part of its trademark.

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Lemonade, a digital insurance American company has filed a motion with the court to invalidate Deutche Telekom’s magenta trademark, and petitioned the German Trademark Office to revoke their claim to the color magenta in the insurance sector. In the end, precedent indicates that a color can be trademarked when it becomes a recognizable brand symbol—though the trademark is limited to the industry the company works in. But determining exactly what qualifies as a recognizable symbol, when it comes to color, is up to the courts to decide. 

In 2021, Pringles UK has revealed a rebrand, introducing a new version of its Mr. P mascot for the first time in 20 years.

The new look has been created by design studio Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR) and timed for the 30th anniversary of the crisp’s UK launch. It includes a new logo and updated packaging.

“The intention with the new look is to simplify and modernise the design, giving the brand’s mascot a bold makeover and highlighting the stackability of the crisps across the range,” said UK. Pringles brand design director Pete Matthews. One of the most noticeable changes to the logo is Mr. P’s hair loss. However, Pringles says that “at 54 years old, he is still looking as handsome as ever” and that the makeover is Mr. P’s “boldest look yet”.

Not only did the logo change. To match the modernized look, the entire packaging also got a refresh and it is aimed to appeal to a younger audience. 

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Gap is a well-known, well-established clothing and accessories retailer founded in 1969. It stands as one of the largest global specialty retailers due to its popularity amongst a broad demographic of consumers. It was once the icon of the fashion retail industry. But, in 2010, following slumped sales after the Financial Crisis of 2008, Gap decided to redesign its 20-year longstanding logo, giving rise to the ‘Gapgate’ phenomenon. 

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The old Gap logo disappeared pretty much overnight. It was replaced on October 6, 2010, with a new logo that featured a much smaller dark blue box and the ‘Gap’ name written in bold, black Helvetica font. This new logo was designed by a leading New York based creative agency, Laird and Partners, who holds a solid reputation in the field of branding and communication in the fashion industry. It is estimated to have cost around $100 million.

Two reasons it happened: First, the brand was in a panic mode to rejuvenate its sales figures showing signs of slow down. The same store performance was down 4%, following -10% the previous year. Second, the company was feeling "brand fatigue" and wanted a change for change's sake. 

In an embarrassingly quick turnaround, Gap took the decision to revert back to its old 1990 logo after less than one week (on October 12, 2010). The same spokesperson, now backtracking on her original “modern, sexy and cool” comment, stated that “we’ve learned just how much energy there is around our brand, and after much thought, we’ve decided to go back to our iconic blue box logo”.

Consumers quickly took to social media platforms to express their disdain for the new logo. Within just 24 hours, one online blog had generated 2,000 negative comments, a protesting Twitter account (@GapLogo) gathered 5,000 followers, and a “Make your own Gap logo” site went viral, collating almost 14,000 parody logo redesigns. 

To cover up the embarrassing rebranding fail, Gap tried to pretend it was a deliberate  branding exercise to crowdsource ideas for a new logo. On their Facebook profile page, Gap wrote, “Thanks for everyone’s input on the new logo! […] We know this logo created a lot of buzz and we’re thrilled to see passionate debates unfolding! So much so we’re asking you to share your designs. We love our version, but we’d like to see other ideas.”

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In conclusion, brands must to know their customers better and fully understand their brand's unique positioning. Most importantly, the brand's audience must be a part of the process and not be shocked, or backlashes are bound to happen. To know more about Gap's brand analysis. Check this out!

Twitter’s blue bird logo has been synonymous with the platform since it came to Twitter in 2012, and is recognized worldwide as a symbol of the text-based social media app. However, it seems that Twitter Executive Elon Musk came onboard, the bird is getting 'X'ed literally, July 2023.  ​The company will even abandon the term “tweet” and propose to call posts “X’s”. So, twitter fans say bye to Larry the blue bird. Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino supports this and believes it is a chance to "transform the global town square." 

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First of all, Musk likes X. The letter X has been a part of Musk’s personal branding for a few years now. It’s in his company SpaceX’s name, it’s the name for the Tesla SUV, and X.com was the previous name for Paypal, which was co-founded by Elon Musk.  Additionally, the rebranding of Twitter reflects the rumors of the billionaire’s vision to create a “super-app” comparable to China’s WeChat, which has over 1 billion users in China alone. CEO Yaccarino revealed that X.com will be “powered by AI”, and will help connect people in “ways that we’re just beginning to imagine”. Allegedly, X will operate across video and audio messaging, payments and banking, and even as a global marketplace for ideas and opportunities.

The decision has been widely criticized by users and journalists, who called the rebranding illogical and trivial, and its implementation careless. The rebranding process was a chaos and inconsistent as users found it was not implemented fully on all the marketing and user-interacting collateral. In addition, Musk did not think in advance about renaming the official account to @X. For 16 years, this link opened the page of photographer Gene X Hwang – and, according to him, after the rebranding, the social network deprived him of his account, telling about what happened in an email. That sucks!

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Five major changes: 

  1. Logo Change: The iconic blue bird, which had served as Twitter’s logo for 11 years, was replaced by the letter X. The new logo was introduced impulsively, with Musk tweeting about the upcoming change and then revealing the new logo within an hour.

  2. Name Change: Along with the logo, the name Twitter was also phased out. The platform is now referred to as X.

  3. Change in Terminology: The term “tweet” for posts on the platform is being phased out, with Musk suggesting that posts be referred to as “X’s”.

  4. Potential Color Change: Musk has hinted at a potential color change for the platform, with black being the default color. This change was supported by almost 75% of Musk’s followers in a poll.

  5. Domain Change: The platform is expected to migrate to the domain name X.com. Currently, this address redirects to twitter.com.

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On the 24th January 2018, Leeds United unveiled their new club crest to celebrate their centenary year in 2019. The new crest was the result of six months of research, with 10,000 people consulted, and it features a “Leeds salute” symbol, which is often done by fans on match days while singing the club’s song "Marching on Together".  However, the club faced immediate backlash from fans. Supporters made their voice loud and clear as over 77,000 people signed a petition to stop the launch of the new crest, somewhat overshadowing the 10,000 who had been consulted. It’s also worth bearing in mind that Leeds United’s Elland Road stadium holds 37,890 people, so a lot of fans were unhappy, to say the least.  One twitter fan recapped it: “It’s a nice illustration, but completely inappropriate for a football crest. Trying to be too trendy when a football crest should look traditional.”

However, the intentions for the new Leeds crest were sincere. As Managing Director, Angus Kinnear explained in an interview with Radio Yorkshire’s Tom Carnduff, the salute had become a sign of unity between the club, the players and the fans. The crest embraced this, and put fans at the heart of the club’s new identity, as shown in the promo video below.

So, you’d expect fans to love their new prominence on the crest, right? Wrong! The rebrand became somewhat of an own-goal. Many fans to the internet to make their own versions of the badge. 

In the end, the club decided to make a small amend to the current Leeds United crest for the 2019-20 centenary season.  It's not the only football brand to encounter backlash for a rebrand. Premier League football team Everton FC has completed its rebrand U-turn with the unveiling of a new crest chosen by fans in 2013.

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A post-modern dispatch company Royal Mail's roots are apparent in its very name. In 1635, King Charles I opened up the elite royal postal system to the public. Mail was carried between posting stages by horses and messengers. Currently, the Royal Mail Group Limited is a British postal service and courier company. It is owned by  International Distributions Services. It operates the brands Royal Mail (letters and parcels) and Parcelforce Worldwide (parcels). The company used the name Consignia for a brief period in the early 2000s but changed it afterwards. The company was renamed Consignia Public Limited Company in 2001 and the new name was intended to show that the company did more than deliver mail; however, the change was very unpopular with both the general public and employees. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) boycotted the name, and the following year, it was announced that the company would be renamed Royal Mail Group plc.

The first example of modern franchises is hard to pin down, but is most likely a chain of hair salons, the Harper Method Shops, founded by the Canadian-American Martha Matilda Harper in the 1890s; such coordination may have been impossible without 19th century advances in communication technology. Explore the other new business models below, then discuss with your team: which ones could have existed earlier if someone had thought of them, and which ones, like franchises, had to wait for key technological innovations or social changes?​​

Franchising owes a great deal to Canadian-American entrepreneur Martha Matilda Harper (1857–1950). Her hair salons, known as Harper Shops, changed the way women cared for their hair and navigated the evolving standards of grooming and beauty in the first half of the twentieth century. Like her African American counterpart, entrepreneur Madam C. J. Walker (1867–1919), Harper pioneered and defined women’s self-presentation in a rapidly changing world. She publicly credited Christian Science with healing her and sustaining her through decades in business.

Harper was born into poverty in Ontario, Canada. At the age of seven she started working for a relative as a domestic servant and at 25, she went to Rochester New York and began working for a wealthy family.  She began using Moscano Tonique to dress her employer’s hair and it was the product  that would launch her career. She later claimed that this formula was given to her by a German-born physician on his deathbed. In 1888, using her savings of $360, Harper opened a beauty salon in central Rochester. This enterprise was a novelty; women at that time either cared for their own hair or employed hairdressers to visit them at home. But Harper’s salon was a success. Her clientele were primarily upscale, although she recruited employees from among Rochester’s domestic workers. She became the first female member of the city’s chamber of commerce and offered unusual incentives to customers that included child care during appointments and evening hours to accommodate working women. 

Because of the hard work, she became ill and was unable to work. She sought out Christian Science. They believed that sin and illness can be overcome by prayer and faith. As Harper developed her brand, she also emphasized facial, neck, and shoulder massages for customers. To facilitate 

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the use of Harper’s products, her training school offered a complete course for operators of new stores. This included lessons in anatomy and techniques for treating the face, scalp, and hair. 

Beginning in 1891 Harper expanded her business, when she introduced the franchising of Harper Method Shops. Most of these “Harperite” franchisees were women, many from modest backgrounds like their founder’s. They were trained in Rochester (and later in two additional locations), using The Harper Method Textbook. Courses lasted several weeks for experienced beauty operators and six months for neophytes. By the 1930s about 500 Harper Shops were located in the United States, Canada, England, France, and Germany. Harper is credited with inventing the reclining shampoo chair and shampoo basin, which are found today in almost every hair salon and barber shop. However—unlike Moscano Tonique—she did not patent them. In the 1930s, approaching age 80, Harper increasingly turned over management of the organization to her husband, Robert McBain. Eventually, he sold the business and their stores gradually faded out of the limelight in 2000s.

A business model that can link a new technology to an emerging market need is the key to industry transformation. When Apple coupled the iPod with iTunes, it revolutionized the audio devices market. But most attempts to introduce a new model fail. The authors, 

Stelios Kavadias,​ Kostas Ladas, and Christoph Loch, did an in-depth analysis of 40 companies that had launched new business models in a variety of industries. They looked for recurring features in the models and found six: personalization, a closed-loop process, asset sharing, usage-based pricing, a collaborative ecosystem, and an agile and adaptive organization. No model displayed all of them, but having a higher number of features usually correlated with a greater chance of success at transformation. (The taxi service Uber can claim five of the six.)  

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Companies that are thinking about changing their business model or entering an industry with a new model can rate themselves on the six features to assess the likelihood that they’ll be transformative. 

 

Definitions of “business model” vary, but most people would agree that it describes how a company creates and captures value. Basically, a business model is a system whose various features interact, often in complex ways, to determine the company’s success. For example: The founders of Airbnb realized that platform technology made it feasible to craft an entirely new business model that would challenge the traditional economics of the hotel business. Airbnb represents 19.5% of the hotel room supply in New York and operates in 192 countries, in which it accounts for 5.4% of room supply (up from 3.6% in 2015).

Below are the 6 features that are essential to transformative business model:

1. A more personalized product or service: Many new models offer products or services that are better tailored than the dominant models to customers’ individual and immediate needs. Companies often leverage technology to achieve this at competitive prices.

2. A closed-loop process: Many models replace a linear consumption process (in which products are made, used, and then disposed of) with a closed loop, in which used products are recycled. This shift reduces overall resource costs.

3. Asset sharing: Some innovations succeed because they enable the sharing of costly assets—Airbnb allows home owners to share them with travelers, and Uber shares assets with car owners. Sometimes assets may be shared across a supply chain. The sharing typically happens by means of two-sided online marketplaces that unlock value for both sides.

4. Usage based-pricing: Some models charge customers when they use the product or service, rather than requiring them to buy something outright. The customers benefit because they incur costs only as offerings generate value; the company benefits because the number of customers is likely to grow.

5. A more collaborative ecosystem: Some innovations are successful because a new technology improves collaboration with supply chain partners and helps allocate business risks more appropriately, making cost reductions possible.

6. Agile and adaptive organization: Innovators sometimes use technology to move away from traditional hierarchical models of decision making in order to make decisions that better reflect market needs and allow real-time adaptation

The article analyzed a case study: tech venture Healx, which focuses on the treatment of patients with rare diseases in the emerging field of personalized medicine. A big challenge for pharmaceutical companies in this domain is that rare-disease markets are very small, so companies usually have to charge astronomical prices. (One drug, Soliris, used in the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, costs about $500,000 per patient-year.) Healx came up with a platform that leverages big data technology and analytics across multiple databases owned by various organizations within global life sciences and health care to efficiently match treatments to rare-disease patients. Its initial business model hit three of our six key features: asset sharing, personalization, and collaborative environment. With AI, it can add agility in its treatment of patients, adding to the company's tranformative qualities. 

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If you have a great idea but no money to achieve it what can you do? One popular solution is crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing involves a large group of dispersed participants contributing or producing goods or services—including ideas, votesmicro-tasks, and finances—for payment or as volunteers. Contemporary c​rowdsourcing often involves digital platforms to attract and divide work between participants to achieve a cumulative result. Crowdsourcing is not limited to online activity, however, and there are various historical examples of crowdsourcing. The word crowdsourcing is a portmanteau of "crowd" and "outsourcing".  Advantages of using crowdsourcing include lowered costs, improved speed, improved quality, increased flexibility, and/or increased scalability of the work, as well as promoting diversity. One super well-known example is wikipedia, which relies on the public to create a virtual encyclopedia. 

There is nothing new about crowdsourcing. Societies have been using it historically, but the term crowdsourcing was coined in 2006 by two editors at Wired, Jeff Howe and Mark Robinson, to describe how businesses were using the Internet. With the Internet, crowdsourcing elevated to a whole new level - the world is your crowd! Crowd sourcing is not limited to technology. In history, it has touched almost every industry from agriculture, genetics, science, design, art, charity  and public policy. One we might be very familiar with is open-source software in the domain of developers around the world contributing to computer programs.  

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"Please like and subscribe to my channel." You have all probably heard that a million times, but where and when did it the concept begin? The subscription business model is a business model in which a customer must pay a recurring price at regular intervals for access to a product or service. The model was pioneered by publishers of books and periodicals in the 17th century, and is now used by many businesses, websites and even pharmaceutical companies in partnership with governments. 

Rather than selling products individually, a subscription offers periodic (daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, semi-annual, yearly/annual, or seasonal) use or access to a product or service, Thus, a one-time sale of a product can become a recurring sale and build brand loyalty. Industries that use this model include mail order book sales clubs and music sales clubs, private web mail providers, cable television, providers with digital catalogs with downloadable music or eBooks, mobile network operators, internet providers, software 

publisherswebsites (e.g., blogging websites), business solutions providers, financial firms, health clubs,  pharmaceuticals, renting an apartment, property taxes, as well as the traditional newspapers, magazines, and academic journals. A common variation of the model in online games and on websites is the freemium model, in which the first tier of content is free. Still, access to premium features (for example, game power-ups or article archives) is limited to paying subscribers.

The best example of drop-shipping is Amazon or Taobao for those of you in China. Drop shipping is a form of retail business in which the seller accepts customer orders without keeping stock on hand. Instead, in a form of supply chain management, the seller transfers the orders and their shipment details either to the manufacturer, a wholesaler, another retailer, or a fulfillment house, which then ships the goods directly to the customer.

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The seller is responsible for marketing and selling the product, but has limited control over product quality, storage, inventory management, or shipping. This way, it eliminates the costs of maintaining warehouses and even a storefront,  purchasing and storing inventory, and employing necessary staff for such functions. As in any other form of retail, the seller makes profit on the difference between an item's wholesale and retail price and expenses.

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The concept of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) has its roots in the computer industry, where it refers to the communication between multiple machines. In business, P2P typically means transactions between individuals, such as lending personal possessions, providing specific goods and services, and sharing information and experiences. The organizing business acts as a facilitator, ensuring the safe and efficient handling of these transactions and potentially becoming a hub for community connections. As the model matures, it can be monetized through transaction fees, advertising, or donations.

Some famous examples of peer-to-peer business:

  • Uber, Lyft: rideshare apps, who connect drivers/car with riders.

  • Fiverr, Freelancer, Upwork, Toptal, Guru: platforms who connect freelancers and clients, in different areas, such as marketing, translation, graphic design, and programming.

  • eBay, AmazonEtsy, Alibaba/Taobao: sellers list their products for a small fee (or free) and buyers purchase through the platform.

  • Airbnb, Tripping, HomeToGo: the apps connect people who can earn extra income by renting underutilized property to people who need accommodation.

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Freemium, a portmanteau of the words "free" and "premium", is a pricing strategy by which a basic product or service is provided free of charge, but money (a premium) is charged for additional features, services, or virtual (online) or physical (offline) goods that expand the functionality of the free version of the software. This business model has been used in the software industry since the 1980s. A subset of this model used by the video game industry is called free-to-play. Freemium games have come under criticism from players and critics. Many are labelled with the derogatory term 'pay-to-win', which criticizes freemium games for giving an advantage to players who pay more money, as opposed to those who have more skill.

One of the key concepts is frictionless acquisition of new customers. A freemium model is sometimes used to build a consumer base when the marginal cost of producing extra units is low. Thus little is lost by giving away free software licenses as long as significant cannibalization is avoided. Cannibalization is competition between its own products. 

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The razor and blades business model is a business model in which one item is sold at a low price (or given away for free) in order to increase sales of a complementary good, such as consumable  supplies. It is different from loss leader marketing and free sample marketing, which do not depend on complementary products or services. Common examples of the razor and blades model include inkjet printers whose ink cartridges are significantly marked up in price, coffee machines that use single-use coffee pods, electric toothbrushes, and video game consoles which require additional purchases to obtain accessories and software not included in the original package.  

The legend about Gillette is that he realized that a disposable razor blade would not only be convenient, but also generate a continuous revenue stream. To foster that stream, he sold razors at an artificially low price to create the market for the blades. But Gillette razors were expensive when they were first introduced, and the price only went down after his patents expired in the 1920s: it was his competitors who invented the razors-and-blades model.

The digital storefront is a part of a digital shop eCommerce system, where buyers can see their products, choose and buy them.  Sounds like a website! In reality, the digital storefront concept is much bigger than just a website and comprises lots of capabilities both for buyers and sellers. 

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Key milestone in virtual storefront development. 

Emergence of E-commerce: The launch of platforms like Amazon and eBay in the 1990s paved the way for online retail.

Mobile Commerce: The proliferation of smartphones led to the rise of mobile commerce, allowing more customers to shop on their mobile devices.

Social Commerce: Platforms like Instagram and Facebook have integrated shopping features, blurring the lines between social media and e-commerce.

E-commerce markets are growing at noticeable rates. The online market grow around 56% in 2015–2020. Traditional markets are only expected 2% growth during the same time. Brick and mortar retailers are struggling because of online retailer's ability to offer lower prices and higher efficiency. Many larger retailers are able to maintain a presence offline and online by linking physical and online offerings.

Some key challenges of virtual storefronts:

1) environmental impact - delivery containers lead to lots of waste

2) cyber security / privacy - personal data being stolen or exploited.

3) loss of human connection - lack of engagement with customers.

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Pop-up retail, also known as pop-up store or flash retailing, is a trend of opening short-term sales spaces that last for days to weeks before closing down, often to catch onto a fad or scheduled event. Pop-up retail was an increasing factor during the retail apocalypse of the 2010s, such as  seasonal Halloween  retailers who operate stores in vacant spaces during the season. In 2018 the pop-up industry was estimated to be worth $50 billion.

The term pop-up retail can be traced to the late 90s, although temporary retail options, such street markets and fairs, have existed for centuries, such as Christmas markets or organic markets. There are various benefits to pop-ups such as marketing, testing products, locations, or markets, and as a low-cost way to start a business.  These shops, while small and temporary, are used by companies to build interest in their product or service, and seed their product with cultural influencers. Pop-up retail allows a company to create a unique environment that engages their customers and generates a feeling of relevance and interactivity. 

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A value-added reseller is a firm that enhances the value of third-party products by adding customized products or services for resale to end-users. Value-added resellers play a prominent role in the information technology (IT) industry, providing additional hardware, installation services, consulting, troubleshooting, or other related products or services on top of core products. The majority of a VAR margin comes from the value-added products and services, not the products themselves, which usually are marked up only a small amount. There is no such thing as a standardized VAR program. 

 

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One famous business model change occurred not in a traditional corporation but on an American baseball team, the Oakland Athletics, which adopted a new data-driven approach to decision-making in 2002. Their plan, to spend less money more strategically, and to ignore gut feelings in favor of statistical evidence, succeeded so brilliantly that, 20 years later, the book written about it—Moneyballis still inspiring other industries to reimagine their approaches, from digital marketers to political parties. Discuss with your team: when would you want to follow a Moneyball approach, and when is it better to make decisions based on emotion, intuition, or tradition rather than on careful analysis of the data?

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Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game is a book by Michael Lewis, published in 2003, about the Oakland Athletics baseball team and its general manager Billy Beane. It describes the team's sabermetric approach to assembling a competitive baseball team on a small budget. Sabermetrics is the empirical analysis of baseball, especially baseball statistics that measure in-game activity.  It led to the 2011 film Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. (click to image to watch the movie trailer)

The central premise of Moneyball is that the collective wisdom of baseball insiders (including players, managerscoachesscouts, and the front office) over the past century is outdated, subjective, and often flawed. That the statistics traditionally used to gauge players, such as stolen basesruns batted in, and batting average, are relics of a 19th-century view of the game. Sabermetrics and statistical analysis had demonstrated, for example, that on-base percentage and slugging percentage are better measures of batting. The Oakland A's began seeking players who were "undervalued in the market"—that is, who were receiving lower salaries relative to their ability to contribute to winning, as measured by these advanced statistics.  Moneyball also looks at how the A's evaluated prospects. Sabermetricians argue that a college baseball player's chance of MLB success is much higher than the more traditional high school draft pick. 

By re-evaluating their strategy in this way, the 2002 Athletics, with a budget of $44 million for player salaries, were competitive with larger-market teams such as the New York Yankees, whose payroll exceeded $125 million that season. The approach brought the A's to the playoffs in 2002 and 2003. 

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B2B and AI Blogger Leon Lawrence talks about the concept of Sabermetrics. Can sabermetrics be adopted to digital marketing?

If baseball players are selected based on statistics and metrics, aren’t we doing the same for which email template to choose or social media platform to adopt?  As a digital marketer he found several digital marketing tactics undervalued. 

1) Social Bookmarking. People confuse social bookmarking with web browser bookmarking.  Social bookmarking as the name suggests allows you to bookmark the webpage and easily share it with friends, peers or clients. Popular sites include: Medium, Scoop.it, Pintrest and Evernote.

2) business storytelling - sharing the brand values of the product

3) search engine marketing - shorter distance between consideration to purchase. 

4) email marketing - social media has overtaken it, but it is still useful and cheaper.

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It also translates to different sports. Liverpool F.C owner John W. Henry didn’t trust the traditional player scouting methods fully. He wanted a mathematical view of hiring players. Just like Boston Red Sox won the World Series three times, he wanted to break Liverpool’s streak of not winning the English Premier League title for 34 years.

He got a model worked out with Cambridge physicist Ian Graham. That same model helped select current manager Jurgen Klopp. Players were also selected and signed as per this model.

Offering a potential roadmap to 2024, a Democratic-aligned group specializing in training staff believes they’ve found a moneyball strategy that worked in 2022 and could change statehouse campaign spending going forward. In a memo obtained exclusively by The Daily Beast, the theory of the case goes something like this: For just $25,000, you can win a competitive seat. It just depends on when you spend the money, and, who—not what—you spend it on. 

As Managing Partner Lauren Baer put it, the pilot program led by Arena—a nonprofit group backing Democrats and looking to “expand and diversify who can enter politics”—targets spending earlier in the cycle and delivering trained staff to campaigns that otherwise couldn’t afford them. They won eight out of the 11 battleground races in Michigan, Arizona, and Pennsylvania where a staffer on a six-month contract earned $25,000, usually as a field organizer or director. “There is still an overwhelming bias in Democratic politics in late cycle investment, when dollars have the least flexibility in terms of how they can be deployed,” she said. “So we’ve really hit on a low-cost and effective way of deploying resources, but it fundamentally depends on donors being willing to put in money earlier in the cycle.”

In the early 1990s, the company Barnes & Noble opened massive bookstores across the United States—equipping them with cafés where you could read for hours without buying any books. Yet, even as Barnes & Noble drove many smaller bookstores out of business, a different company was reimagining the entire industry: Amazon. Confronted with this largest bookstore on Earth (.com), Barnes & Noble itself entered a long decline. Yet, lately, it has found success again—and is even benefitting from TikTok. Discuss with your team: what turned the company’s fortunes around, and what other products or industries that seemed doomed might be able to find new ways to succeed?

After years of store closings, Barnes & Noble is making a comeback with 30 new stores planned for 2023—and a new image. Barnes & Noble ended 2022 with some surprising news: After more than a decade of shuttering locations, the chain plans to debut 30 new stores this year. “We’ve now got both the profitability and the confidence to start opening up stores again,” CEO James Daunt told The Wall Street Journal. And it’s hard to deny that the brand is enjoying its most flattering moment in the spotlight in ages. Somehow, one of the great cultural villains of the big-box retail heyday is now an underdog hero, making a welcome comeback as a symbol of the true love of books. 

While it traces its roots to a late-19th century New York shop, Barnes & Noble went on to become synonymous with profit-centric and homogenous megastore culture that bullied mom-and-pop booksellers out of business. Famously, it was the obvious model for Fox Books, the rapacious chain in the 1998 romcom You’ve Got Mail. At its apex, around 2008, it had about 725 locations.  

The plot twist, of course, was the steady transformation of Amazon that undermined not just mom-and-pop bookshops, but Barnes & Noble, and ultimately the entire big-box ecosystem. Since that 2008 peak, Barnes & Noble has closed 150 locations, repeatedly shuffled 

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its management and strategy, and finally sold to a hedge fund for $628 million in 2019. 

Luckily, the chain’s new owners, Elliott Advisors, sought to turn the page by bringing in Daunt, the chief executive of U.K. book chain Waterstone. Basically, they let each store run its own business so it would be more like a local neighborhood shop. They used the pandemic to revamp and restock. Traditional bookstores are not dying. An estimated three-quarters of publisher sales revenue still comes from physical books. And the pandemic era was relatively good for books. Print sales reportedly rose 8% in 2020, one of the biggest spikes in decades, and rose again in 2021. While Barnes & Noble is adding some locations, it is still closing others, and seems to be shifting to smaller footprints. Times are changing!

Thanks to the advent of #Booktok on Tiktok, traditional books are landing in the hands of young readers. Seems like short videos are the best ways to reach new readers. Barnes & Noble, notably, reported a 14% gain in book sales in 2020, the 

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the year #BookTok launched, according to The New York Times. Now, the bookstore chain and #BookTok are partners; Barnes & Noble’s website includes a dedicated #BookTok page featuring the most popular #BookTok books. Other chains, including Books-a-Million and Half Price Books, also are taking a page from #BookTok. In early 2023, with more than 100 billion global views as of mid-January, #BookTok is one of TikTok’s most popular hashtags, the social platform reported. To young shoppers, social feeds are like malls. The lion’s share of Gen Z and millennial shoppers, 80%, have purchased products on social media feeds. 

The biggest box stores of all—hypermarkets—were also ascendant in the 1990s, with so many Walmarts opening in small cities that economists dubbed their impact on local communities “the Walmart effect.” Explore the impacts that such “big retail” can have on communities, then discuss with your team: would your neighborhood benefit from having a store like a Walmart—or does it already? Consider the following poetic and artistic selections, then discuss with your team: what aspects of the consumer experience are they capturing effectively, and how would you update them in the year 2024

Famous of infamous? Walmart, the discount chain carries the contradictory titles of most popular retailer in the United States and the entire world in terms of revenue—$344 billion in fiscal 2007—and public enemy number one, particularly in a community sense.

Wal-Mart has been fingered as the source of virtually every conceivable economic ill. It kills jobs and downtowns, say critics, and destroys community character. It's been accused of discriminating against women, using illegal immigrants, requiring work off the clock and being overly aggressive in stopping the formation of labor unions among its workers.

But some argue that the company can be, and often is, a force for good. Wal-Mart's low prices are hard to dispute, and the biggest benefactors are low-income shoppers. The company has received considerable attention for various environmental initiatives from energy saving lights to cutting waste and reducing the carbon footprint.

Walmart is such a part of American culture, it even has its own musical called "Walmartopia" is a political satire that premiered in Madison, Wis., and is currently a full-fledged off-Broadway production. Why Wal-Mart receives the attention is pretty obvious. Nearly 90 percent of the country's population lives within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart, and two-thirds of all retail stores are located within five miles of a Wal-Mart. 24% think Walmart is really bad. 31% view it unfavorably, but 81% believe it is a good place to shop.

The fedgazette did an in-depth analysis of 40 Walmart communities versus 40 non-Walmart communities. For example, Wal-Mart is widely believed to destroy local firms and jobs and to have a dampening effect on wages.  But fedgazette findings suggest the opposite: Firm growth, employment and total earnings were somewhat stronger in Wal-Mart counties and, in some cases, even in the retail sector. The research does suggest that retail earnings per job fell in virtually all counties studied. But they actually fell by less in Wal-Mart counties. But neither has Wal-Mart been a boon for local communities. Poverty rates, for example, declined in most counties during the period studied, but they declined by less (poverty rates didn't improve as much) in Wal-Mart counties.   Given some positive and some negative outcomes, it's probably safest to say that Wal-Mart's net imprint on a county's health appears to be smaller than most perceive.

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This sculpture of the Photo realist movement shows a massive change to a consumerist culture. Duane Hanson used this work to comment on these changes, as well as portray the changes to society. He portrays the excessive buying of this culture, as shown in the overflowing shopping cart of various junk food items and ready made packaged materials like chocolate chip cookies and other foods like Coke. The shopper herself appears very lifelike, mostly because she is made out of fiberglass material. Duane shows the shopper as an obese, unhealthy looking female, with her hair still in curlers, showing the form that society is taking on. This artwork is very important because it very easily shows the consumerist mindset of "Buy, Buy, Buy!" 

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This poem by Ginsburg imagines what famous poet and writer Walt Whitman (Oh Captain! My Captain!) would say about present day America, full of supermarkets. Instead of nature, America now embraces consumerism and commerce. Is this the America imagined by its forefathers? 

Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
        Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?

A student of conceptual photography,  Andreas Gursky takes an ordered, indexical approach to his work. Capturing scenes with enormous amounts of visual information, Gursky subtly enhances and adjusts the structure of his photographs, enabling viewers to assimilate and consume more than possible with our eyes alone. 99 Cent is a clear example of Gursky's alteration of an image for a totalizing effect. Modifications such as the arrangement of the  store’s product aisles and the

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addition of a mirrored roof flatten the iconic work. The spectacle of consumerism appears composed in an organized, rigorous, formal fashion. The presented image is hyperreal. While it is rooted in reality, it is somehow more than real; it is familiar and yet there is no physical space quite like it. By portraying such heightened constructions of our shared existence — from the dollar store to the soccer field to the sprawling cityscape — Gursky’s photographs act as symbols of contemporary life.

1990 had only just begun when McDonald’s opened its first location in the Soviet Union; despite freezing weather and long lines, it served 30,000 customers on opening day. By the end of the nineties, there were nearly a hundred McDonalds across Russia and the Soviet Union no longer existed. Today, the chain is gone altogether, replaced by a local brand with a remarkably similar menu following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Research the spread of global franchises in the 1990s, then discuss with your team: what can we learn about a country from the global franchises that exist in it—and from those that thrive?

The golden arches and Big Mac may have gone, but Russians saw 15 former McDonald’s restaurants reopen on Sunday under new branding and ownership, according to its owner Alexander Nikolaevich Govor. 

The American fast-food giant has been renamed “Vkusno & Tochka,” which translates to “Tasty and that’s it.” The company, which has Oleg Paroev serving as director general, plans to open 200 branches by the end of June 2022.

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The rebranding coincided with Russia Day, a holiday marking the country’s independence. It took place at the same location in Moscow’s Pushkinskaya Square, where McDonald’s opened its first Russian restaurant on January 31, 1990.   McDonald’s subsequently expanded its reach within the country and as of early March, there were about 850 locations operating in Russia. However, the chain decided to leave the country and sell its Russia business, in line with many other Western businesses following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began in February.

In the science fiction novel Foundation and Earth, the main character lands on a long-abandoned human colony—and is instantly attacked by a pack of wild dogs. With no one around to take them on walks, the colonists’ poodles and pugs had essentially become (very cute) wolves. Explore the concepts of primary and secondary succession, in which the web of species in an ecosystem changes whenever one goes extinct or the environment shifts around them. A recent study has shown that the animal most successful at filling an extinct counterpart’s niche is not always the one most closely related to the original; pay special attention to the giant llama, Macrauchenia, and to which animal has recently replaced it in the Colombian countryside. (Spoiler alert: it isn’t the alpaca.) Discuss with your team: if we were to de-extinct a species in hopes of reintroducing it into the wild, what would we do with the animals that have already taken their place? If humans went extinct, what animals would be the most likely to replace us?

Foundation and Earth is a science fiction novel by American writer Isaac Asimov, the fifth novel of the Foundation series and chronologically the last in the series. It was published in 1986. The plot: Several centuries after the events of Second Foundation, two citizens of the Foundation, ​Councilman Golan Trevize, historian Janov Pelorat, search for Earth, the legendary planet where humans are said to have originated. Even less is known about Earth than was the case in Foundation, when scholars still seem to know the location of 'Sol'. 

The first Spacer planet they visit is Aurora, which was abandoned by its inhabitants and has a collapsing ecology. Trevize is nearly killed by a pack of wild dogs, presumed to be the descendants of household pets reverted to wolf-like savagery. 

Later, after visiting several other planets, they finally arrive at earth. They detect it to be highly radioactive and not capable of supporting life but, while trying to use the ship's computer to locate Solaria. They turn their attention to the moon, which is large enough to serve as a hideout for the forces that lived on Earth. There, they find R. Daneel Olivaw, who explains he has been paternalistically manipulating humanity long before the Galactic Empire or Foundation. He thus caused the settlement of Alpha Centauri, the creation of Gaia and the creation of psychohistory.

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Ecological succession is the process by which the structure of a biological community changes over time. In most ecosystems, if succession is allowed to continue without a major disturbance (such as a flood or a wildfire), the ecosystem structure will be composed of a mix of plants and animals that maximizes the “goods” (such as moisture and nutrients) the environment can provide. 

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Primary succession is the process in which plants and animals first colonize a barren habitat. On a newly created volcanic island, for example, after the rock cools, seeds blown by the wind may lodge in crevices. There they can germinate and take root. Often these first colonizing plants are weedy species, such as fast-growing grasses, that do not grow tall but do reproduce quickly.

Secondary succession differs from primary succession in that it begins after a major disturbance—such as a devastating flood, wildfire, landslidelava flow, or human activity (farming, road or building construction, or the like)—wipes away part of a landscape. The stages of secondary succession are similar to those of primary succession: insects and

weedy plants (frequently from surrounding ecosystems) are often the first to recolonize the disturbed area, and these species are replaced by hardier plants and animals as time goes on.  

Although wildfires and other disturbances can certainly bring ruin to a landscape, the soil often retains a bank of seeds that can sprout shortly after the effects of the disturbance pass, so ecosystems within the landscape can recover through secondary succession.  Sometimes, however, catastrophic disturbances, such as massive volcanic eruptions or advancing glaciers, effectively eliminate all of the biological activity in a landscape. 

Introduced species are generally seen as a negative for the ecological destruction they cause to native habitats, but could there be a silver lining in some cases? A new study suggest that in fact there could be, after a global analysis of introduced herbivores found that they can help restore some elements of ecosystems that have been lost through human-induced species extinction, pointing to the hippos Pablo Escobar (famous drug lord)  brought to Colombia as just one example. The drug kingpin left behind four on his private ranch when he died in 1993. These have since bred to number between 80 and 100, and now inhabit Colombia’s rivers.

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According to the scientists, as species like these ones are introduced into new habitats, they can inadvertently restore ecological traits that were lost long ago by influencing factors such as the growth of shrubs in drylands. They arrived at these conclusions after looking at the key characteristics of herbivores from before the Late Pleistocene extinctions, around 11,000 years ago, including their body size, diet and habitat, and comparing them to herbivores roaming around today.

“This allowed us to compare species that are not necessarily closely related to each other, but are similar in terms of how they affect ecosystems,” says lead author Erick Lundgren, from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). “By doing this, we could quantify the extent to which introduced species make the world more similar or dissimilar to the pre-extinction past. Amazingly they make the world more similar.

The team calculates that some 64 percent of introduced herbivores are more similar to these long-lost species than local native ones. “For example, the feral hippos in South America are similar in diet and body size to extinct giant llamas, while a bizarre type of extinct mammal – a notoungulate – shares with hippos their large size and semiaquatic habitats,” says study co-author John Rowan, Darwin Fellow in organismic and evolutionary biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “So, while hippos don’t perfectly replace any one extinct species, they restore parts of important ecologies across several species."

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With advances in technology, it is now possible to bring many extinct animals back from the dead. Here are some of the animals that scientists are considering resurrecting. Tens of thousands of years ago, the disappearance of megafauna anywhere in the world coincided with the arrival of human beings. In Europe, the famed woolly mammoth disappeared. In the Americas, strange animals like the glyptodon were hunted to extinction, and in Australia, 85% of all animals weighing over 100 pounds went extinct after humans arrived! This included omnivorous kangaroos, super-sized koalas, and enormous wombats. This article introduces 6 animals being considered by de-extinction.

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1. An Extinct Animal From the Tip of Africa: The Quagga

The quagga was a subspecies of plains zebra that roamed the southern tip of Africa. It was distinctive in that it had stripes on its head and the front half of its body, while the rear half was brown. The Quagga Project aims to bring this extinct animal back to life. As far back as the 1950s, it was suggested that Quaggas could be re-bred via selective breeding. In 1980, research on mitochondrial DNA proved the quagga was indeed a subspecies of the plains zebra. In 1987, nine zebras were selected and brought to a specially constructed breeding camp farm. So far, six individuals are almost identical to the original quagga. Although not quite quaggas yet, these individuals are known as Rau quaggas.

2. Aurochs

During the Pleistocene era (2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago), a massive species of cattle called the aurochs was widespread across Eurasia, North Africa, and the Indian subcontinent. The first attempts to bring back the aurochs started in the 1930s by Heinz and Lutz Heck, who selectively bred modern cattle. The result was interesting but resulted in a breed called the “Heck cattle,” which differed significantly from the original aurochs. The Tauros Programme and the Taurus Project are both trying to revive the aurochs by using selective breeding, while the rival Uruz Project by the True Nature Foundation wants to use genome editing in their program. 

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3. Pyrenean Ibex

A subspecies of the Spanish ibex, the Pyrenean ibex is an extinct animal that disappeared due to overhunting in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1999, the last Pyrenean ibex, a female named Celia, was tagged and collared. A tissue sample was taken from her, and she was released back into the wild. A year later, she was found dead, crushed by a tree. 

In 2003, scientists used the tissue sample to clone Celia. Her cells were transferred into the egg cells of goats. Many goats were impregnated, but only one came to term. The clone was born with a 

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lung defect and lived for only seven minutes. Despite the sad outcome for this clone, the experiment was deemed a massive success in bringing the Pyrenean ibex back to life.  The problem that exists is that scientists only have the DNA of a female ibex. Scientists plan to address this issue by breeding future clones with the closely related Southeastern Spanish ibex. This would result in a hybrid that could be further bred to resemble the Pyrenean ibex.

4. Passenger Pigeon 

Commercial hunting wiped out the passenger pigeon in the early 20th century. Once roaming North American skies by the millions, these now-extinct animals could make a comeback.

 

Problems lie with the lack of intact DNA, and as such, cloning would not be a viable way to reproduce this bird. A conservation non-profit organization, Revive & Restore, is instead focusing on identifying mutations in the DNA that cause phenotypic differences between the passenger pigeon and the band-tailed pigeon, which is its closest living relative. Through this, the DNA of the band-tailed pigeon can be modified to have the same traits as the passenger pigeon.  They plan to start captive breeding in 2024 and reintroduce to the wild in 2030.

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5. The Thylacine, an Extinct Animal Better Known as the Tasmanian Tiger

They once roamed over the Australian mainland, New Guinea, and Tasmania; this marsupial population was dwindling even before European arrival in Australia. What little the Australian government did to save the animal was too little and far too late. In 1936, the last known specimen, named Benjamin, died of neglect at the Hobart Zoo. In 2017, it was announced that the full nuclear genome of the thylacine had been sequenced. Andrew J. Pask from the University of Melbourne explains that the next step would be to create a fully functioning genome by 2027. 

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6. Woolly Mammoth 

From a prehistoric perspective, the extinction of the woolly mammoth is recent. They disappeared around 1650 BCE. That’s over a thousand years after the Pyramids of Giza were built! For over a decade, research teams from countries such as Japan and Russia have been researching how the woolly mammoth could be resurrected.  The cloning method, which would require mammoth DNA, is not feasible yet, as not enough DNA has been found, although more DNA is being found on a regular basis, especially with the receding reach of permafrost. Another method would involve artificial insemination using mammoth sperm and an Asian elephant mother. A third method would be to migrate genes from the mammoth genome into the genes of an Asian elephant.

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Bonus: Our Extinct Cousins, the Neanderthals

Homo sapiens (us) did not evolve from neanderthals. We and our neanderthal cousins evolved from a common ancestor, likely Homo heidelbergensis. Neanderthals went extinct around 40,000 years ago, but not before they met up with Homo sapiens and interbred with our ancestors.  Outside of sub-Saharan Africa, neanderthal DNA makes up between 1% and 3% of our modern DNA. Neanderthals were smart, and like us, they were excellent problem-solvers, and we can definitely learn a lot from them, but it is right to bring them back? The ethical debate is obvious. Talking about bringing antelopes and birds back from the dead is one thing (which already garners protest), but to bring back a human being is an entirely different debate. Whatever the case, neanderthals live on in us.

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Picture on the top is one of the products of conservationists:  aurochs-style breed, called tauros, which are less aggressive. Goderie now has about 500 animals at various stages of becoming modern-day aurochs and even wild horses. There are similar projects being done in Germany and all over Europe at different stages. Of course, they also care if these new beasts are dangerous to man and how they will fit into the new ecosystem. So far, they are thriving!

We are all probably familiar with the paleolithic cave drawings of wild cattle called Aurochs, but did you know that scientists are trying to bring them back to life. Not for bull-fighting, but for ecological sustainability. These creatures were once native to the Portugal’s Côa Valley and are the common ancestor to all domestic cattle breeds, so their DNA is still hidden in the DNA of modern cattle.

 

Since they have been gone for too long, back-breeding is now the most feasible path. The man behind the project is Ronald Goderie, cattle breeder/ecologist. Along with geneticist, their project is called Rewilding Europe. They are reintroducing menacing horns and stripped back to modern species and reintroducing them to Europe's plains. According to

Goderie, “Agricultural land is being abandoned on a large scale in Europe, and natural grazing is one of the key processes for preserving biodiversity. We’re trying to re-establish a wild bovine that can do the job. To be able to do this as well as possible, we think these cattle should resemble the aurochs as much as possible.”

 

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After years of working on bringing back one of the most popular extinct animals—the dodo—Colossal Biosciences has found a home for its bird in Mauritius in a new partnership with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. "Colossal's progress on the dodo would lead the bird back to its native home in East Africa and potentially give the company the power to save other soon-to-be extinct species," said Ben Lamm, co-founder and CEO of Colossal Biosciences.

Though Colossal still doesn't have a timetable for the dodo's return, its comeback could turn the tides for birds, like the pink pigeon, which are close to meeting the same fate, Matt James, Colossal's chief animal officer, said. The pink pigeon, a 15-inch tall herbivorous bird native to Mauritius, is also facing extinction due to habitat degradation, diseases and inbreeding, according to the Natural History Museum. The pink pigeon nearly became extinct in the 1970s and the 1990s and is still very rare. It is the only Mascarene pigeon that has not become extinct. There are currently only about 500 pink pigeons left in Mauritius, according to the company.

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The technology Lamm, James and the Colossal team are using to resurrect its species from the dead is genomic editing technology; a method to alter the DNA of a cell or organism. They have landed investment and going full steam ahead on their dodo de-extinction project by working with the local government and experts.

Out of all the creatures in the world, the dodo is probably the icon for extinction and now it is the debate of de-extinction. These flightless giant birds lived in Southeast Asia mostly in Mauritius and were hunted to extinction in mere decades due to humans and the human-related species, ie rats.   Scientist Beth Shapiro of the University of California at Santa Cruz, said that she had already completed a key first step in the project — fully sequencing the dodo’s genome from ancient DNA — based on genetic material extracted from dodo remains in Denmark. The next step is to compare it to its closest living relative which is the Nicobar pigeon, and the extinct Rodrigues solitaire, a giant flightless pigeon that once lived on an island close to Mauritius. It’s a process which would allow them to narrow down which mutations in the genome “make a dodo a dodo,” Shapiro said. Importantly, they are not trying to bring back the 'old dodo' but to create a new one with traits that helps it adapt to the new ecology. So Shapiro is working on planting the dodo egg inside modern relatives to give birth to new and improved dodo hybrids that have immunity and can combat climate change. 

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The woolly mammoth once roamed the earth in Eurasia and also North America and they became extinct roughly 10,000 years ago, as the climate became warmer and hunting by humans. Colossal, a US biotech company, is trying to bring back the woolly mammoth by 2027 through gene editing. They plan to reintroduce the mammoth to Siberia, Russia in an effort to fight climate change, believing that these giant creatures are crucial in maintaining the biodiversity of the Artic tundra (frozen earth). 

How do they plan to bring these gigantic creatures back? Well, they share 99.6% of the    same genes with Asian elephants, their closest relatives. They plan to plant the embryo in a surrogate African elephant for it to give birth to their megafauna again!  Basically, drive   advancements in in gene-editing, specifically CRISPR editing.

Scientist who support the research believes that mammoths could help to restore the Arctic tundra and rebuild the Mammoth Steppe through their migration, by slowing the melting of Arctic permafrost (preventing greenhouse gas emissions into the permafrost, for there are 1600 billion metric tons of carbon) and turn over-shrub forests to natural Arctic grasslands. Basically, create an ecosystem that’s resilient to the climate change by giant creatures that keep vegetation flat. Some scientists are doubtful. They state that while they will have the same DNA, it will not have the same behavior. Also, they will not be living in the same ice-age ecosystem. Plus, you need a big herd to have any real difference, which makes it logically nearly impossible. 

The Pyrenean Ibex, AKA the bucardo, is a subspecies of Spanish Ibex that went extinct in 2000 and was the first ever extinct species to be de-extinctified, though only for a few minutes.  They died out due to human hunting and the last specimen of Pyrenean Ibex known as Celia was killed by a falling branch. Using frozen skin samples from a specimen in 1999, scientists made clone embryos by inserting the bucardo's DNA into goat eggs and then implanted into other close relative.  It was not an easy process; of the 208 embryos implanted, only seven goats became pregnant, and just one bucardo made it to term - and died in a few minutes!  The main concern with cloning is that animals will lack genetic diversity and the population will die easily from diseases or even climate change.

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Given that they went extinct rather recently, the act of de-extincting the Pyrenean Ibex will obviously help restore biodiversity and perhaps stop a chain reaction in its natural ecosystem. However, as with all forms of de-extinction, low genetic diversity would make them highly vulnerable, especially if hunting efforts do not stop. 

Mastodons and mammoths are both from the order Proboscidea. Mastodons were endemic in North America and became extinct around 10,000 years ago. Mastodons actually were around 20 millions years before mammoths and therefore, it is impossible to bring that back as they are too genetically different from modern day elephants. Watch the insightful video below to see the difference between mastodon and mammoths. Also the habitat that they once roamed would have changed so dramatically, where would we breed them? 

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Passenger Pigeon or Wild Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) is an extinct species of pigeon that was abundant in the great plains, with the last one, Martha, dying on September 1, 1914. The passenger pigeon looked like the mourning dove and the turtledove but bigger. The passenger pigeon died out due to hunting and deforestation. Even though this species is extinct, it is possible to revive this species by breeding it back through the closest relative, the band-tailed pigeon.

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As scientist have access to their DNA, through their soft tissue. Doing this would help restore the ecosystem and help biodiversity.  However, others argue that it is a dumb idea. "The passenger pigeon is often mentioned as a target for de-extinction. Passenger pigeons once supplied people with abundant meat and likely helped to suppress Lyme disease. To create even a single viable population might well require fabricating a million birds or so, since the species apparently survived by a strategy of predator saturation" The forests that it once inhabited are gone or fragmented, thus it would become a pest to a new ecosystem. It used to feed on American Chestnut, but that's extinct too. Thus, bringing back benign creatures of the past may turn them into predators and lead to the creation of new dangerous retro-viruses.

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As the moa's extinction is somewhat recent, meaning that moa DNA is still present; we may be able to create a clone of or use it for genome editing to mimic a moa's. In 2018, scientists have already assembled the first nuclear genome for an extinct moa species. Genetically, moa may be polyphyletic, which means they have several ancestral lines. Back-breeding would require more research, as the true ancestors of the moa remain unclear and modern relatives are really small compared to their giant ancestors. Some of the more recently-dead species may be clone-able using living ratites. Intact eggs and feathers of moa can still be found today! 

The history of the thylacine is a sad one. The thylacine was broadly distributed across Australia before becoming extinct on the mainland around 3,000 years ago. But it continued to exist in Tasmania. However, this unique animal was hunted to extinction by European settlers who thought it a threat to the Tasmanian sheep industry and the last known animal died in captivity in 1936. The thylacine was completely unique among extant marsupials at the time. It had an iconic wolf or dog-like appearance, often described as a long dog with stripes, because it had a long, stiff tail and a big head.

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Scientists have also argued on several fronts regarding bringing back the moa. 1) As some of New Zealand's ecosystems are still the same as they were, de-extinction can help preserve and restore the environment. 2) The costs are so high and the numbers needed for re-introduction are significant, that it is not worth while financially. 3) To bring back the moa, they would also need to bring back the microbiomes and parasites so the new moa-hybrids can survive.  So, science only shows a way, but not a clear path at all.

It was known as Australia’s only marsupial apex predator. The emergence of the fatal Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease is a clear example of what can happen in an ecosystem when sick animals are no longer preyed upon and removed from the population. Thylacines would have helped control the spread of this deadly disease in Tasmania, and could have helped prevent the now near-extinction of the Tasmanian devil.

It just might be the ideal animal for de-extinction.  First, modern-day habitat in Tasmania, it has remained relatively unchanged. This means it provides the perfect environment to re-introduce the thylacine, enabling it to reoccupy its niche. Second, even thought bringing back an animal costs a lot of money, a recent major philanthropic donation has provided 10 years of funding to establish the TIGRR lab (Thylacine Integrated Genomic Restoration Research lab).  Their work will lead to much-needed technological advances, including developing methods for creating marsupial stem cells to biobank species diversity and protect against species loss from events like Australia’s recent devastating bushfires. Developing gene editing technologies means we can tackle issues like engineering cane toad toxin resistance into vulnerable marsupial species. While the work on marsupial cloning along with embryo growth and development can help marsupial breeding programs and species management strategies.

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There are 9 steps to making this happen:

1) getting a complete DNA genome of the species -  They have gotten that done in 2017, and to date, the thylacine represents the highest quality extinct genome for any species (and before you ask, yes, that includes the woolly mammoth and the dodo). 

2) getting the gene sequence for several closely related species -  for the thylacine, its closest relatives includes the dunnart or marsupial mouse.

3) complete a  large bioinformatics (or computational) project- this compares marsupial genomes to identify all the differences that would potentially need to be edited into the hosts genome to create a ‘thylacine’ cell. This element is currently a major objective of the new TIGRR lab.

4) collect cell samples from close living relatives - they have derived stem cells for

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model marsupial species, the fat-tailed dunnart, from which a lot of the techniques needed for our thylacine de-extinction will be developed.

5-7) develop reproductive technologies - These techniques are required to use living stem cells to make an embryo and then successfully transfer it into a host species’ uterus.

8-9) reproduction and breeding - This is where de-extinction efforts for marsupials have a distinct advantage over other mammals. All marsupials give birth to tiny young which complete development in the pouch while suckling milk. It means that unlike other animals that require long and complicated gestation times, we can generate living animals in a range of host species and potentially without the need for a host at all. 

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The Carolina parakeet was the only indigenous parrot within its range, as well as one of only three parrot species native to the United States. 

When European settlers arrived in North America, they were stunned to discover a gorgeous parrot. The face of the Carolina parakeet was red; its head was yellow, its wings green. Measuring a foot or more from beak to tail, the parakeets thrived in noisy flocks from the Atlantic Coast to what is now Oklahoma. “I have seen branches of trees as completely covered by them as they could possibly be,” John James Audubon wrote in 1830.   In 1918, the last captive died in a Cincinnati zoo. After a few possible sightings in the wild, the species was declared extinct.

In addition, the Carolina parakeet showed a special genetic mutation which made them favor cockleburs, an herbaceous plant that contains a powerful toxin, carboxyatractyloside, or CAT, which did not seem to affect them but made the birds notoriously toxic to most predators. In 2019, scientists are left with little information about the bird. But now a team of researchers has sequenced the genome of a specimen that died a century ago. The new study was led by Carles Lalueza-Fox, an evolutionary biologist at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. Dr. Lalueza-Fox and other experts have developed tools powerful enough to attempt to reconstruct all of the bird’s DNA — its entire genome. The researchers drilled a piece of bone from the specimen’s leg and discovered billions of genetic fragments. To assemble the DNA fragment, they used the sun parakeet from South America, which split form a common ancestor 13 million years.

 

They discovered that these birds including the passenger pigeon was most likely caused by something dramatic and quick,  most likely humans or chickens. Yes, as humans settled, the disease of chickens got spread to these birds. So, a plague was a likely cause. Until scientists figure that out, it's not smart to bring back the Carolina Parakeet. For example, they breed a few hundred and release them in the wild and they all die because of a chicken. 

The departure of most Western brands from Russia was a massive disruption to a different ecosystem: a commercial one. Every shopping mall was left littered with boarded-up storefronts. And, just like after any mass extinction event, it wasn’t long before new species filled those niches. Where once shoppers for fast fashion might have frequented the nearest Uniqlo, Zara, or H&M, now they can drop by Just Clothes or any of a half-dozen Turkish clothing chains. Even Coca-Cola was rebooted (or, technically, rebottled) as a new soda from a Russian juice brand, Dobry, while other competitors spied an opening and flooded the market. Discuss with your team: does the speed with which Russia replaced so many products and services with mainly homegrown equivalents suggest that even the most famous brand names are more vulnerable than they seem? If major companies left your country, what would take their place?

Russian designers and brands are helping the retail sector gradually recover from a turbulent 15 months of store closures and slumping demand, with new labels plugging the gap left by foreign rivals and shoppers tentatively returning. Hundreds of foreign retailers shut up shop in response to Russia dispatching troops to Ukraine in February 2022, leaving some of Moscow's most prestigious streets with boarded up stores and the industry reeling from a roughly $2.5 billion hit. If you want to buy Zara in Russia, you can't it anymore, but you can find MAAG. 

 

Not only are brands disappearing, another problem is the shortage of staff, citing a lack of seamstresses and professionals in textiles that a consumer believes only government-led initiatives could resolve.

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Instead of Uniqlo, Just Clothes stores has opened it's first store in Moscow, Russia. Aviapark, Russia's largest shopping mall is the location of the first Just Clothes store in Russia. Just Clothes is a brand of casual, fashionable clothes who value simplicity, quality, comfort and follow trends. Overall, the store looks almost exactly the same, same layout, same selection, and same feel.

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In 2022, local competitors to Coca-Cola have flooded the market since the company left Russia after it sent thousands of troops into Ukraine. Coca Cola has started making a local cola, Dobry Cola, in Russia after stopping production and sales of Coca-Cola Co products following the mass exodus of Western companies earlier this year. Coca Cola HBC had been depleting its stock of Coca-Cola products since placing its last order for concentrate in March.

Dobry has been a juice brand in Russia but Coca-Cola HBC, which separate from Coca-Cola Co, said it was exploring extending existing local brands through its Multon Partners business. Dobry Cola has no connection with Coca-Cola or the Coca-Cola Co, Coca-Cola HBC said in a statement.

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August, 2022, Russian drinks producer Ochakovo on Thursday said it had increased the annual bottling capacity of its CoolCola, Fancy and Street soft drinks by 2.5 times to try and plug the gap in the market left by exiting Western brands.

A mass exodus of Western firms due to sanctions and restrictions over Russia's actions in Ukraine has created an unexpected opportunity for Russian businesses and entrepreneurs.  Although fizzy drinks made by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are still available in Russia, they are set to disappear over time as stocks are run down, leaving local manufacturers to step in. Ochakovo, which produces beer, juices and carbonated soft drinks similar to Coke, Fanta and Sprite, said it had increased bottling capacity to 125 million decalitres a year from 50 million. Rival Chernogolovka is aiming for a 50% share of Russia's nearly $9 billion soft drinks market now that Coca-Cola is reducing operations.

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