AT&T and the Fall of Unlimited Data

Recently, the war for wireless supremacy took a strange turn. While the bottom tier of the Big Four are desperately trying to win customers by all but giving them cash, and, in some cases, actually giving them cash, at least one major player is actually charging more for its most popular plan. AT&T has been trying to get customers to abandon their unlimited data plans, but some have resisted. The carrier has decided that’s fine if you are willing to pay more. Last week the wireless provider said it would be raising its unlimited data plan rates from $30 to $35. Not much of a bump, but a curious move in a marketplace where they are not the top in…

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Cyberbullying insurance: Yes you can

There’s no doubt about it, cyber bullying is a real problem. More and more often we read stories of some poor kid who took drastic action to stop his or her peers from attacking him or her online. Kids have always been mean, but, in these days of pervasive 24-7 media, there really is no escape from the barrage of hurtful and threatening messages. So, yes, it’s a problem. But cyber bullying insurance? Really? Could there really be such a thing? Well, now there is. Global insurance giant Chubb recently announced a new line of “cyberbullying insurance” for well-off customers in Britain and Ireland. According to a company release, Chubb will shell out up to $74,600 to help customers and…

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Walmart continues to defy convention

Walmart is known for many things, but, when it comes down to it, innovation really isn’t one of them. Sure, you can find just about anything you want at any given store, some at any time you want it … but when’s the last time Walmart did anything really, truly … NEW? Well, they were one of the first national store brands to be open on Thanksgiving. And, if that counts as innovative, then grab a seat, because they’ve done it again. Walmart recently announced plans to stay open until 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve … because nothing says I love you like rushing into the mouth of a retail gauntlet mere hours before Santa lands in your living room.…

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Olive Garden continues a comeback

Olive Garden might be the butt of innumerable foodie jokes, but the company isn’t listening. The home of breadsticks and endless bowls of salad has been shouldering most of the load for parent company Darden Restaurants as of late. Overall Darden earnings easily eclipsed expectations, and, believe it or not, Olive Garden can take most of the credit. And, for the second quarter in a row, Darden raised its fiscal outlook… right, and it announced a new stock buyback plan while also boosting its dividend. Talk about making everyone happy! Consequently, Darden stock is up nearly 20 percent in 2015. Of course, none of this was really expected. Olive Garden’s First Big Mistake Back in September 2014, industry watchdogs came…

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Elie Hirschfeld: Entrepreneur Of The Month

If ever a man fits the description of driven to succeed, Elie Hirschfield does. His father, Abe Hirschfeld was a major real estate developer, but Elie has taken it to the next level – his real estate holdings include over 1,000 apartments in New York City, approximately one million square feet of commercial property in the City, and added to that, other real properties including what was once the summer home of the Clinton’s – with an estimated value of over $32 million for just that property. He’s the President of Hirschfeld Properties. The list of historic and luxury properties he developed reads like a who’s who for New York City real estate including Park Avenue Court, the Crowne Plaza…

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Bigger is, once again, better!

There was a time, not long ago, when American consumers were thinking small. Smaller cars, smaller portions, even smaller homes. Those days are over. If the Small Movement was ever a trend, consider it done. When you ask retail CEOs, they will all tell you, Americans want Bigger along with their Better. Those two modifiers go together in the American consumer brain like peanut butter and chocolate. This newfound return to excess crosses just about every consumer segment. In consumer electronics, as tech gets increasingly more advanced, wireless and communicative, consumers are back to wanting bigger TVs and other devices. Sure, iPads are still selling, but the “mini” experiment? Not going as well as expected. And when it comes to…

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Is Alibaba Getting Even Bigger?

When it comes to business success, bigger and more is almost always better. Particularly when you can take something struggling and turn it into a winner … or better still, take a winner and turn it into an untouchable dynasty. That’s exactly what Alibaba founder Jack Ma is hoping to accomplish on the heels of his company’s takeover bid of the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s leading English only daily newspaper. If the deal goes through, Ma will be added to an ever growing list of Internet tycoons turning to print media in search of profit. Not that long ago – back in 2013 – Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos came out of his own pocket to purchase the Washington…

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Tesla Invites Customers to Customize their Car

In recent months, Tesla has been on a public relations roller coaster. From the release of new models and new features to the unfortunate recall of these high-tech vehicles for a simple seat belt latching issue. Now, they’re back with a strong vengeance: Personalize your Model X. Tesla Customization a Great Idea The SUVs are not the most popular Tesla models … everyone seems to love the sports cars … but those who want an electric SUV are sure to salivate at the opportunity to personalize their new truck. The deal currently only applies to those who previously reserved their vehicle. But the offer still makes for strong international PR. One of the biggest hindrances to past one-off car companies…

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Did Crest Mislabel Their Product?

Few people noticed, but Crest’s mouthwash once featured one very questionable label. Whether it included an actual error, or left meaning open to interpretation, the phrasing was dubious. On the label, Crest promised customers 24-hour protection, but required them to use the product twice per day. Wouldn’t the need to use the product twice in 24 hours mean that it only offers 12-hour protection? Anything can offer 24-hour protection if you take enough of it, or use it several times per day. However, it seems unlikely that this was the message Crest wanted to bring across to the masses. Crest PR Success Even so, that is how the company chose to phrase it. Whenever Crest got the chance to elaborate…

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Chipotle Still Reeling Thanks to E-Coli Scare

Chipotle just felt the “two” of the one-two punch land. Immediately after the CDC discovered an outbreak of e coli in locations in Seattle and Portland social media exploded with endless barrages of consumer doubt and disgust. Recently, the company was forced to disclose the outbreak was not contained and could be in as many as six states. Upon hearing that news, the market responded accordingly. Chipotle stock plummeted about 12 percent last. Now the company is facing a PR crisis on two fronts: consumer and investor. The consumer PR crisis is bad and getting worse. Every time the CDC announced a new state impacted by the outbreak – California, Minnesota, Ohio, New York, Oregon and Washington have been listed…

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