Business

Planet Money
3:16 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Why Matzo Makers Love Regulation

Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz at the Manischewitz factory in 2007
Mike Derer AP

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 11:06 am

For more, see our video, Inside The Matzo Factory, and see Adam Davdson's latest NYT Magazine column

The matzo business may be the most heavily regulated business in the world.

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Series: Shifting the Balance
11:09 am
Mon April 9, 2012

At Google, well-fed employees are a solid investment

(Photo by Kenn Wilson via Flickr Creative Commons)

Think about the workplace perks that keep you a contented employee. Maybe there's free coffee in the kitchen, or, perhaps, your pooch is allowed to wander among the cubicles. 

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U.S.
3:25 am
Mon April 9, 2012

For-Profit Schools Under Fire For Targeting Veterans

Iraq war veteran Paul Rieckhoff (right), with Democratic Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Daniel Akaka of Hawaii and Patty Murray of Washington, introduces the GI benefit watchdog bill in Washington. Some lawmakers say for-profit schools are taking advantage of veterans and their educational benefits.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 1:27 pm

Hundreds of thousands of veterans have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, eager to get an education under the new post-Sept. 11 GI Bill.

Many vets looking for a school find they are inundated by sales pitches from institutions hungry for their government benefits. Now, lawmakers are looking for ways to protect vets without narrowing their education choices.

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Starting Up: Silicon Valley's Origins
3:00 am
Wed April 4, 2012

A Rare Mix Created Silicon Valley's Startup Culture

Courtesy of Intel

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 2:47 pm

The first in a 3-part series airing this week on Morning Edition.

When Facebook goes public later this spring, its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, will be following in the footsteps of a long line of Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs that includes Steve Jobs and Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin. But there was a time when the idea of an engineer or scientist starting his or her own company was rare.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
11:52 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Boss treating you like a dog? Maybe that's not so bad...

(Photo by emdot via Flickr Creative Commons)

Management consultants are often ridiculed for using words like “bandwidth,” “capacity,” and “low-hanging fruit.” When Word of Mouth noticed a consultant tweeting as @PeopleSense following our Twitter account, we thought…hmmmm…nice alternative to “out of the box thinking.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
11:25 am
Mon April 2, 2012

A Campus of Innovation

Fast Company’s annual list of the world’s 50 Most Innovative Companies included many of the usual suspects: Apple, Facebook and Google all made the list.

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Technology
10:47 am
Mon April 2, 2012

Fixing The Cutting-Edge: Innovation Meets Table Saw

David Butler and one of his safer tools.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 11:14 am

When you think of cutting-edge technology, power tools don't generally come to mind. Take the table saw: Many woodworkers are using 30-year-old saws in their wood shops and, among the major tool companies, there hasn't been much innovation since those decades-old tools came out.

But more and more inventors are trying to make these saws safer — and David Butler is one of them. At his home in Cape Cod, Mass., Butler flips on the fluorescent lights in his basement turned wood shop.

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Business
4:03 am
Mon April 2, 2012

Oil Scare Turns FedEx On To Energy Efficiency

A FedEx hybrid delivery truck. In FedEx's fleet of over 90,000 vehicles, 408 are hybrid or electric, and 4,000 are fuel-efficient, lower-emitting "Sprinter" vans.
Courtesy of FedEx Corp.

The rising cost of oil isn't just a hit to the family budget. Businesses are hurt, too. Few are more affected than firms like FedEx. It deploys nearly 700 planes and tens of thousands of trucks and vans every day to deliver packages around the world. And few business leaders are more focused on finding alternatives to petroleum-based fuels than FedEx CEO Fred Smith.

Shortly after Smith founded Federal Express, the 1973 Arab oil embargo almost killed it. The experience imprinted Smith with a keen interest in the price and availability of oil.

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Giving Matters
12:00 am
Sat March 31, 2012

Upper Valley Business and Education Partnership

The Upper Valley Business & Education Partnership makes connections between schools and their wider communities. Tyler Mansfield and Jim Madden met through the Partnership’s “Everybody Wins!” reading mentoring program.

JIM: I’ve always loved to read so it was really just sort of a natural fit to share my love of reading with the students. I guess we both discovered we kind of liked mysteries.

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Business
3:54 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Former MF Global Exec Takes 5th At Hearing

Former MF Global Holdings Ltd. Chairman and CEO Jon Corzine testified on Capitol Hill in December. On Wednesday, a former executive at the company refused to answer lawmakers' questions about events in the run-up to the firm's collapse.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 11:28 am

A former executive at the center of the meltdown of brokerage firm MF Global appeared before Congress on Wednesday to answer questions from lawmakers. Members of the House Financial Services Committee were hoping assistant treasurer Edith O'Brien would explain the actions of the firm's CEO, ex-New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.

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Business
3:13 am
Thu March 29, 2012

National Trend 'Mobs' Local Businesses With Cash

Lander's clothing store in Jamestown, N.Y., prepares for a "cash mob" to descend last week.
Daniel Robison WBFO

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 6:36 am

You may have heard of "flash mobs," where a mass of people invade a public space to make a scene. Now the idea has been turned on its head by "cash mobs," where large crowds of consumers show up at small businesses to spend money. But it's not just about propping up the local economy.

It's 5 o'clock on a Friday, and mostly quiet in the Lander's Men's Store, a mom-and-pop clothing store in Jamestown, N.Y. But shop owner Ann Powers is anticipating a mob.

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StateImpact
4:49 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

LLC Filing Overhaul Passes Senate

A bill overhauling the way numerous businesses file with the state has passed the Senate by a wide margin.  The AP reports SB 203 passed on a 22–2 voice vote:

“It includes provisions for electronic communication, conflicts of interest and provides an

easier path for corporations to move to New Hampshire. Supporters say this will

bring New Hampshire up to speed with its neighbors.

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StateImpact
12:12 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Dollar General Pushing For More Granite State Stores

Discount chain retailers have historically faced resistance in New Hampshire.  But as Kathleen Callahan reports for the New Hampshire Business Review, that’s not stopping Dollar General from drawing up ambitious expansion plans:

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StateImpact
4:49 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Executive Council Mulls Massive Medicaid Contract

The Executive Council is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a new Medicaid contract worth an estimated $2.2 billion–believed to be the largest contract in state history.

But signs from an Executive Council meeting Monday suggest that vote may be pushed back.  And the state may struggle to meet its July 1 deadline.

It’s a huge contract financially, handing over several billion dollars to three managed care companies to run the state’s Medicaid program.  And it’s huge for the some 140,000 New Hampshire residents who rely on Medicaid.

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All Tech Considered
11:31 am
Tue March 27, 2012

To Keep Customers, Brick-And-Mortar Stores Look To Smartphones

A shopper searches on her BlackBerry for coupons inside a Target store. Consumers with smartphones are changing the way stores set prices and track customer tastes.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 8:23 pm

Best Buy must live in fear of shoppers like Ave Lising. He and a group of friends walk through the Stanford mall in Palo Alto, Calif., their cellphones clutched in their hands.

Lising visited the electronics retailer recently, shopping for a video game.

"I went to Best Buy [and] looked at the price," Lising says. "I was like, 'Ehh — I'm sure I can find this cheaper online.' "

So he whipped out his smartphone and scanned the barcode, found it cheaper and ... no sale for Best Buy.

There's a word for that kind of in-store comparison shopping: "showrooming."

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