A Blurry Customer Focus

Several years ago, I walked into my local bank branch at 5:55. Knowing that they closed at 6:00, I thought I had some time but they said I was too late. I said I had 5 minutes, they said no and by the…

You've Got Mail?

While the U.S. had postal services since the 1600s, Ben Franklin transformed the system. Appointed Deputy Postmaster for the Colonies by the British, he established our first home mail delivery system…

Amazonian eWarfare

By Mira Korber, guest blogger. The Amazon rainforest may be shrinking, but Amazon.com certainly isn’t. The superpower “e-tailer” has all but taken over, and it’s selling just a…

Sounds Like Bell Labs

Google has a “secret” lab. Called Google X by the NY Times, it sounds like the old Bell Labs. Before 1984, when AT&T was a monopoly, their research subsidiary Bell Labs employed a batt…

Can the USPS Deliver?

You’ve got mail? Maybe not on Saturday. As explained in a Teaching Company lecture (#28), the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) faces competition from UPS and FedEx, from email, faxes, and texts. Their…

Coupon Economics

When Starbucks raised its prices during the beginning of 2010, it lowered the price of a tall regular to $1.70. But, if you wanted a splash of foam, a shot of espresso, or a touch of flavor, the addit…

Popcorn Margins

Higher quality film? Better projectors? Online ticketing? No. The “most important technological innovation since sound” was the armrest cup holder (according to a movie theater owner). Ple…

Pricing Airline Tickets

During the 1970s, a ticket to fly between New York and Washington, D.C. cost $50 whereas one between Los Angeles and San Francisco-almost twice the distance-cost only $40.  Why? Before deregulati…

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