Tag Archives: Environment

Meta launches ‘Threads’

X (previously known as Twitter) is under attack from Meta’s new app called ‘Threads.’ In less than a week after its launch in July, Threads signed up more than 100 million users. (It’s even a trending topic on X/Twitter.) While this level of new users is good news for Meta, the key will be getting people to use Threads long-term.   What is Threads? Threads is a social media app and microblogging tool. While it isn’t taking advertising placement – yet – it has access to all Facebook’s users plus Instagram and WhatsApp users. Threads allows users to log in using their Instagram or Facebook accounts, making the sign up process fast and easy. So easy that it signed up 30 million users in the first 24-hours of launch.   As a direct competitor to X, X’s lawyers immediately alleged that Meta hired X employees to help build Threads. X is used to controversy and, with recent limits on posts viewed daily and content moderation, no stranger to users ire at it. The biggest problem though is X’s loss of advertisers.   Threads is similar to X in many areas, including posts up to 500 text characters, reposting others’ threads, and posting photos and videos up to five minutes long. Threads is also free compared to users paying $8.00 per month for a X Blue subscription. Another allure of Threads is its quick connection to all your friends on Instagram. However, Threads does not have direct messaging yet, which keeps all posts in the public domain.   Time will tell how the marketplace, and eventually advertisers, bonds with Threads.   What do you think?      Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who has used Threads? Why? What is the experience?
  2. Show information about Threads: https://about.fb.com/news/2023/07/introducing-threads-new-app-text-sharing/
  3. View video about Threads: https://youtu.be/hbMJSn5GyOE  (there are many other videos also).
  4. What will move users to Threads from X/Twitter? What will move advertisers?
  5. Who are the competitors for Threads? (ex: BlueSky and Mastodon)
  6. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  7. How should Threads position itself to beat out competitors?
  8. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for Threads.

 Source: Chen, B., and Issac, M. (12 July 2023). Threads review: How Meta’s new app stacks up against Twitter. New York Times; Jackson, K., and Aguilar, N. (14 July 2023). Threads keeps growing, and new updates have arrived: What you need to know. CNET; Rodriguez, S., and Haggin, P. (6 July 2023). Meta’s Threads app see early success, drawing advertiser interest and Twitter’s ire. Wall Street Journal; Rodriguez, S. (6 July 2023). Day after Threads launches, Twitter accuses Meta of using its trade secrets. Wall Street Journal; other news sources.

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 100% Recyclable Running Shoes Rented By Subscription Only

We all know that the world has a growing waste problem, partly due to the age of disposable clothing and fast fashion. Apparel and sportswear companies are working to reduce emissions and decrease the products going to landfill, but is it enough? In particular, athletic shoes tend to be made from a great many complicated components, meaning that it isn’t worth it to separate the individual parts for recycling.

For college students and athletes, a big portion of their budget goes to shoes. And, a big part of their closets are likely old and used shoes that are rarely worn any more. If their closets are like ours, they probably have at least six pairs, of which five pairs are very used and dirty and ready to be thrown away.

But what if we didn’t have to enlarge the waste dump? What if we could wear our running shoes until they are worn or dirty, and then just trade it them to be recycled and receive a shiny, clean, new pair?

Sounds complicated, but Swiss sportwear company “On” has a solution. It recently launched the Cloudneo running shoe as is a recycled premium running shoe – but it can’t be purchased, only rented.

For a monthly fee of $29.99, s Cloudneo is a subscription service for not only a performance running shoe, but a fully recyclable plant-based shoe! Castor beans are used as the base, and the shoe upper is sewn from a single piece of fabric to help reduce waste. The shoe contains only nine pieces of material compared to dozens of materials in most brands. And, since dye contaminates plastic, the Cloudneo is only available in white.

On is now shipping more than a million pairs of its Cloudneo athletic shoes each month, plus has added a growing line of sports clothing. The Cloudneo was supposed to launch in 2021, but was held up by the pandemic and supply chain issues. It has also added non-subscription shoes which are sold individually, but can be recycled. On is distributed through retail partners in more than 60 countries, plus direct-to-consumer.

Run, recycle, run again.

 Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss a subscription business model. Poll students: What subscription services do they use? Other services they can name? (Ex: meal kits, shave clubs, entertainment, etc.).
  2. Poll students: How many running or athletic pairs of shoes do you own? How long do they last? How much do you spend?
  3. How many pairs of athletic shoes do they have currently? What do you do with your old shoes?
  4. Show video about the company and its process.: https://youtu.be/tCH7lqkud8w
  5. Show On Running website: https://www.on-running.com/en-us/cyclon
  6. Who is the target market? Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team come up with a promotional plan for Cloudneo.

Source: Ballard, E. (7 July 2022). The 100% recyclable running shoe that’s only available by subscription. Wall Street Journal.; Danziger, P. (4 April 2023). On, the $1 billion Swiss running-shoe company, declares Cyclon its sustainability incubator. Forbes.

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Consumer Electronics Show 2023

If you love technology and new gadgets, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the place to be. CES is one of the largest and most influential showcases in the world for introducing innovative technology products from around the globe.

This year the Las Vegas-based show brought in 115,000 industry professionals, making it the largest audited global tech event since 2020.  With more than 3,200 exhibitors, including 1,000 start-up companies, CES 2023 gave us new innovations in mobility, health, transportation, sustainability, and more.

A diverse group of companies from around the globe showcased the latest innovations in the technology industries to attendees from more than 140 countries. In all, 60% of the Fortune 500 companies were represented.

The show also provided looks at products in the marketplace as well as products-yet-to-be-launched highlighting key trends such as:

  • Human security for all
  • Automotive and mobility
  • Electric vehicles
  • Digital health
  • Sustainability
  • Web 3 and Metaverse

New products demonstrated how technology can conserve energy, increase power generation, address food shortages, create sustainable agricultural systems, power smart cities, support access to clean water, and improve life for people with physical challenges.

The last category – physical challenges – may be one of the most innovative as companies worked on technology to improve lives of people who may often be overlooked. Some of the highlights include power wheelchairs, augmented listening, new earbuds, speech amplifiers and more. It’s one of my favorite categories.

What’s your favorite innovation from CES?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:  

  1. Discuss the purpose of CES show and how innovation fits into it.
  2. View the CES Web site: https://www.ces.tech/
  3. Also discuss the use of trade shows and exhibits as part of a marketing plan.
  4. Show a video overview of CES 2023: https://youtu.be/fAJ1LCO4cV4
  5. Show a summary video covering new innovations for accessibility: https://www.wsj.com/video/series/dalvin-brown/ces-2023s-most-innovative-assistive-tech-jabra-whispp-and-more/F7DEC067-2116-4C51-A173-E0A071E28EEA
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a product featured at CES.
  1. Scewo Bro: https://www.scewo.com/en/  (Power wheelchair)
  2. L’Oreal Hapta: https://www.loreal.com/en/articles/science-and-technology/hapta-ces-2023-lancome-innovation/  (For beauty lovers with limited hand and arm mobility)
  3. Xander Glasses: https://www.xander.tech/  (Augmented listening for people who are hard of hearing)
  4. Jabra Enhance Plus: https://www.jabra.com/hearing/enhance-plus?gclid=Cj0KCQiAiJSeBhCCARIsAHnAzT_SGnooIY_nEW554M23GwsvGWKrIKnazpnbsvmc1Rh1Gi87YUm8kQsaAhwGEALw_wcB##21879090  (Earbuds for enhancing your hearing)
  5. Whispp: https://whispp.com/?lang=en  (Speech amplifier for people with a voice disorder)
  6. Instruct students to research the products online, and define a target market for the product?
  7. Which ones do they think will be winners in the marketplace? What products miss the mark?
  8. Discuss the use of trade shows and exhibits as part of a marketing plan.

Source:  C/NET; TechRadar; The Verge; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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