E-Commerce

Amazon IS Santa Claus

screen-shot-2016-12-22-at-11-43-51-am

The decades-long process of Amazon taking over consumer product sales continues this holiday season with the company's dominance achieving daunting levels. The online retailer expects its peak shipments volume this year to be 10% greater than last year. In New York City, the superintendents in apartment buildings have been struggling this season to contain the huge mounds of online-ordered boxes.   More

E-Commerce

Cutting the Cords for the Holidays

rowkin-bit-charge-stereo-product-gallery-1

Advancements in connectivity and batteries have enabled new products that offer great convenience and freedom. We tested devices that leverage rapid advancements in wireless technology-including headphones, flying cameras, and devices to keep tabs on your kids or your home.   More

E-Commerce

A Techonomic Gift Guide

yepzon-freedom-boy

As is our tradition, Techonomy waded through geek-friendly options to come up with this annual gift guide–tech-related presents that are clever, easy to use, and fun. Check your sunscreen, find your suitcase, talk to your house, or skateboard electrically for 10 miles with what's in this Santa's bag.   More

E-Commerce

Techonomy’s Fourth Annual Holiday Gift Guide

Amazon's Echo is one of the hottest tech gifts this year. It's a truly new category of device.

With Black Friday lasting a full month this year, you may already be feeling some holiday-shopping fatigue. We’re here to help! Following our tradition, we searched high and low for Techonomic gifts to suit just about everyone on your list. Here’s what we’ll be shopping for this season.   More

Business E-Commerce Finance

Is Banking’s Uber On The Horizon?

Banks that can't bring services to consumers in real time will have a hard time in coming years. (image via Shutterstock)

Banking faces enormous challenges. Government regulatory initiatives have forced banks to spend billions of dollars to stay in business, while limiting the profits that they can make. Meanwhile, the Internet has spawned numerous companies now taking away businesses like lending, brokerage, investment, payments and credit cards. The revenue base of banks is shrinking and their cost base is increasing. Enter the Millenials, used to conducting their lives through cell phones. They want to buy goods and services on their mobile device, and expect immediate gratification. The banks are just not prepared for all this.   More

E-Commerce Mobile

My Independence Day: No Wallet, No Cash, No Credit, No Lunch

(Image via Shutterstock)

It was one of those days. ... Monday morning after a long weekend and I was rushing to get out the door to make a 9 am meeting. I got in my car, drove to the train station, and realized I had left my wallet at home. I paused for a second and decided I would attempt to brave the day with no ID, no cash, and no credit cards. Although it's not as ambitious as living for a day on Bitcoin, I figured I could take advantage of the investments made by Apple, Google, PayPal, and others into the mobile payments ecosystem. Armed with my Android phone, I set out to see how easy it would be to have independence from my wallet. Fortunately for my experiment, I switched a few weeks ago from Windows Mobile, where my options would have been even more limited.   More

E-Commerce Finance Techonomy Events

Why Everybody Cares About the Blockchain

(Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)

The blockchain is a key part of the system that underlies recordkeeping and transactions for Bitcoin, the virtual currency. But there are much bigger opportunities ahead for this decentralized recordkeeping system. In a session called “Why Everybody Cares About the Blockchain” at the inaugural Techonomy Policy conference earlier this month, panelists emphasized repeatedly that the database holds tremendous promise for an array of uses in banking, conflict tracking, and voting, among other things. It was a wide-ranging discussion, reflecting the vast possibilities proponents see for this contemporary technology. "Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had one universal ledger that we could use for everything and that was accessible to everybody?" said Jerry Brito, executive director of Coin Center. "Well, that is what the blockchain is. It’s a decentralized and open ledger."   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Beijing Cracks Down on Video and E-Commerce

(Image via Shutterstock)

It seems like I write about the latest Internet crackdown far too often these days, as Beijing focuses on a wide range of industries where it wants to clean up what it sees as unhealthy business practices. Another two such crackdowns are in the headlines as we head into spring, one in the scandal-wracked e-commerce space and the other in online video. Both crackdowns actually began earlier, and these latest moves just show the regulators don’t feel that their job is finished yet.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

The Vast Implications of the Networked Economy

(Image via Shutterstock)

Connections are changing the world. The connectivity enabled by the Internet has huge implications for the very structure of the global economy. While estimates of the Net's contribution to economic output vary, it's generally thought that it exceeds individual industry sectors like education, agriculture, and energy. The total value of transactions occurring today online are more than all but three or four of the world's largest national economies. In the past few years, many governments have recognized that there are momentous opportunities to increase their own GDP growth through e-commerce and digital channels, despite the economically challenging times. Data, it is generally agreed, is central to everything.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Tencent’s WeChat Trounces Alibaba at Chinese New Year

(Image via Shutterstock)

I remember a time not long ago when we China tech reporters used to write annual stories about the number of people who sent billions of simple Lunar New Year text greetings over their mobile phones. Those days now seem like a distant memory, and new data from Tencent’s WeChat and Alibaba’s Alipay are showing just how small those earlier figures were, even though they seemed impressive at the time. But the real story in this new tide of “red envelope grabbing wars” is the huge victory for Tencent over Alibaba.   More

E-Commerce Finance

In Pursuit of Crypto 2.0: The Coming Era of the Blockchain

(Image via Shutterstock)

What should we make of Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies these days? The world’s preeminent cryptocurrency ended 2013 riding high, with supporters proclaiming that it was destined to revolutionize the global financial system. But 2014 turned into a roller coaster ride, prompting some watchers to question both BTC’s market maturity and overall potential. Last year, BTC experienced a 67 percent drop in value ($951.39 to $309.87). That prompted many articles that reflected poorly on the industry, such as by focusing on the Mt. Gox collapse. But despite the setbacks, many cryptocurrency advocates remain bullish about BTC’s future, and their optimism should not be quickly dismissed.   More

E-Commerce Techonomy Events

April Rinne of WEF on Regulating the Sharing Economy

​The sharing economy has taken off with the dramatic rise of companies like Uber and Airbnb, but the measures to regulate it are lagging far behind. April Rinne of the World Economic Forum says the public’s perception of what’s necessary to extend the benefits of so-called collaborative consumption to everyone—high and low income alike—is also lagging. “At the end of the day, sharing rather than owning assets, regardless of how much you have, still helps you save money,” Rinne said at September's Techonomy Detroit conference at Wayne State University. “We need to rethink whether we’re looking at this as there’s one model for hipsters and people that are well-to-do and there’s another model for low income. There’s a whole lot of opportunity in the middle.”   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Birthing an Enabling Economy in Tourism

The peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (image via Shutterstock)

Access to a marketplace is the first way digital technology empowers more people to conduct commerce. Transformative companies like eBay, Airbnb, and Etsy have gained incredible competitive edges in product-based commerce by giving individuals and small businesses access to a global audience of buyers, and the tools to transact safely online. At AnyRoad, we call the intersection of the marketplace and these tools the "enabling economy."   More

E-Commerce Techonomy Events

The Economics of Sharing

Airbnb, DogVacay, Uber, Lyft and TaskRabbit. A host of new platforms are transforming the economics of sharing. But what does their rapid spread mean for a city and its citizens? Is the sharing economy the future of employment, compensation, and exchange of value? As the trend reorients business, social and cultural norms, how can we ensure that cities and citizens become beneficiaries? TaskRabbit's Stacy Brown-Philpot, April Rinne of the World Economic Forum, and NYU's Arun Sundararajan discuss the future of the sharing economy in this session from Techonomy Detroit 2014, moderated by Jennifer Bradley of the Brookings Institution.   More

E-Commerce Government

Can Uber Reroute Germany to a Shareable Future?

(Image via Shutterstock)

In "The Zero Marginal Cost Society," economic theorist and writer Jeremy Rifkin coins the term Collaborative Commons to describe the "digitalized space where providers and users share goods and services" in the emerging "shareable economy." It's no surprise then that Rifkin casts as shortsighted the German court system's decision this week to ban in that country the low-cost UberPop service from Uber, the global carsharing service. In response to a lawsuit filed by Taxi Deutschland in Frankfurt, the court ruled that Uber lacked legal permits to pick up passengers.   More

E-Commerce Government

Governments and Sharing: Lessons from the UK’s Beyond Jobs Project

shutterstock_133991300

What can governments do to boost the sharing economy? What would be their incentive to do so? Where are the commercial opportunities if public policy were to fully embrace sharing transactions? I have spent 20 years writing, consulting, and overseeing publicly funded projects based on these questions. The answers in brief: governments are potentially the biggest buyers of fragmented labor, its regulators, setters of tax/welfare codes, administrators of databases of record, and ideally will serve as marketing machines for economic initiatives.   More

E-Commerce

Detroit’s Chalkfly Brings Social Good to Office Supplies

Chalkfly co-founders Ryan (left) and Andrew Landau

Andrew and Ryan Landau attended rival universities in Michigan, then left the state after graduation to pursue jobs at Google and IBM. But the pull of home, and the prospect of being part of a burgeoning entrepreneurial renaissance, brought the brothers back to Detroit to launch an innovative e-commerce company. Chalkfly, their fast-growing two-year-old office-supply e-commerce company, lets users donate 5 percent of each sale directly to teachers. Andrew calls the chance to work with his brother and be part of Detroit's revitalization an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.   More

Business E-Commerce

New Economics: Sharing Isn’t Free, and Price Gouging Isn’t Mean

shutterstock_183488666

The pros and cons of the so-called "sharing economy" are getting plenty of press these days. Consider the diverse takes this week from Technology Review, the New York Times, and the Kansas City Star. In a Times report about workers who are finding "both freedom and uncertainty" in the contract employment trend, Natasha Singer explains how Navy veteran Jennifer Guidry attempts to help cover her family's food and rent costs with popup gigs.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Bitcoin Momentum Grows in Emerging Markets

bitcoin-emerging-markets

Bitcoin is gradually making progress as a medium of exchange in developing countries. While it can be volatile as an investment asset, it has real utility as an instrument for payment and money transfer, especially in places where conventional payment systems are immature. Because Bitcoin facilitates instant payment through peer-to-peer technology, most transactions can be completed in less than 10 minutes no matter how distant the two parties are. In addition, each transaction is recorded in a public ledger, enhancing transparency and trustworthiness.   More

E-Commerce

Sharing Economy in Cities: Moving Towards a More Inclusive Urban Future

The 2008 economic crisis hit Greece hard, and the country is still struggling. The sharing economy could offer some solutions. (Image via Shutterstock)

The sharing economy makes headlines daily: from anti-Uber protests across Europe to Airbnb's recent $10 billion valuation, new start-ups entering the private sector are offering more things to share (or rent, swap, borrow or barter) and more ways to do so. Quietly and gradually, however, a parallel evolution is taking place in the public sector.   More