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Business moves fast in the 21st century. Smith Brain Trust can help you keep pace with bite-sized business insights on the latest headlines. With expertise in nearly every industry and region, we can point you to the news you need to know and explain why it matters. Check this feed for regular updates, and follow us on Twitter @SmithBrainTrust.

Jul 21, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

J.Crew is battling some choppy seas. It's had 10 consecutive quarterly sales declines, two straight years of losses, and now the iconic, classic clothier is swimming in more than $2 billion in debt. Its longtime style maven and creative director Jenna Lyons is out, as is its once-celebrated CEO Mickey Drexler. It's paddling against unprecedented challenges from fast-fashion retailers and e-commerce competitors. And now as J.Crew looks to right its course, it's facing another crisis: an identity crisis. Read more...

Jul 19, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

BBCThe BBC's "Doctor Who" series has long embraced the idea of change. It's been written into the script for years, with the timelord protagonist's biological ability for regeneration and new incarnations. Now the series is preparing for what is perhaps its most striking transformation. For the first time in the British sci-fi series' 54-year history, the Doctor will be portrayed by a woman. Experts at the Smith School share their views on the series and its 13th time-traveling alien. Read more...

Jul 18, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

Why might Warren Buffett be interested in Sprint? The question emerged from an annual gathering of CEOs in Sun Valley, Idaho, last weekend. Sprint is losing money and is saddled with more than $32 billion in debt, notes the Smith School's David Kass. And at first glance, it would not appear that telecommunications is within Buffett's "circle of competence," Kass says. But there's more to this story, he adds. Read more...

Jul 16, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

For Volvo, the decision to introduce only hybrid or all-electric vehicles starting in 2019 is about going green. But it's also about making green; changing the story that Volvo has been selling to investors. It's about stealing some limelight from Tesla, and potentially about positioning the Sweden-based automaker for a possible initial public offering, says the Smith School's David A. Kirsch. It's about branding Volvo as a car company of the future. Read more...

Jul 14, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

When a hot designer wants a blast of interest in a new product line, there's a single strategy that has recently risen to the top: The drop. It's the sudden availability of a buzz-worthy new item, online or in a limited location, and in very limited quantities. If you want to get it, you gotta move quickly. The drop is a competitive shopping sport. And that's precisely the point. The Smith School's Amna Kirmani explains. Read more...

Jul 12, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

Amazon's Prime Day summer sale, now in its third year, is becoming something that even the e-commerce giant might not have intended. It's becoming a big day for its rivals. The midsummer hype about deals online is having an impact beyond Amazon's seemingly endless website, says the Smith School's P.K. Kannan. "If the other retailers have a significant presence online, then they can expect what we call 'spillover traffic,'" he says. Read more...

Jul 08, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

Ataribox logoAtari teased the gaming world on June 8 with a YouTube video promoting the company's first new console in 24 years. Besides ominous background music and close-up shots of a wood veneer surface, the only message is: "Coming soon." Smith School marketing professor Henry C. Boyd III says the beleaguered company has an iconic brand but will have to work like Pac-Man to chomp its way back into the gaming hardware space. "Even when the teaser ad came out, a lot of people thought it was a hoax," Boyd says. "It does beg the question: 'Can they pull this off?'" Read more...

Jul 07, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

Is the growing gig economy skewing the national labor market participation rate? Quite likely it is, says the Smith School's Phillip Swagel. He says government statistical agencies are working to keep up with the changing economy, but that growing numbers of people working short-term and freelance jobs as part of the gig economy inevitably may "lead to fuzziness in what have been clear distinctions in our labor statistics." Read more...

Jul 05, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

Setting aside NAFTA reform, a border adjustment tax and U.S.-China trade war as potential disruptors, "conditions especially favor the United States to remain a key hub in the global supply chain and to expand its competitive leadership in the future," says the Smith School's Sandor Boyson He sized up the U.S. supply chain base for a recent Washington, D.C., gathering of industry leaders hosted by SelectUSA, a program housed in the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce. "The U.S. increasingly attracts substantial supply chain investments," he says. It's a trend that's driven by demand from reshoring U.S. companies and from companies...

Jun 30, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

It looks like Facebook has been sending friend requests to Hollywood. The social media giant has reportedly been talking with Hollywood studios and agencies about creating original television content to launch on the social-media platform by late summer. And this could be a big deal. The news comes as Facebook has crossed another stunning milestone, notching 2 billion active monthly users. With that kind of reach, Facebook's original programming would seem destined to be an instant smash success. Consider this: Netflix only has about 100 million monthly users worldwide. The Smith School's P.K. Kannan explains the impact that Facebook could have on the already-crowded field of streaming entertainment....

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