Innovation is the key

This is the post excerpt.

Welcome to a whole new class at Trinity Valley School. Mr. Bhatt and I are thrilled to partner on this honors course to give you all a taste of the intersections of economics, business, entrepreneurship and innovation. You will learn a lot. You may struggle a bit. But above all – you will grow. We look forward to what you design, develop, test, and reflect on as we move through this year.


The Fall of Rome

In 2000, Netflix founder, Reed Hastings, pitched his plan to provide the online service for Blockbuster as long as they plugged his company in their stores. Being the small up and coming company that Netflix was, he and his colleague were met with sharp criticism and no deal. This would prove to be a pivotal moment in Blockbuster’s downfall. At the time of proposal, Blockbuster was bringing in over 5 billion in sales and opening over 8,000 stores. Turning down Mr. Hastings didn’t have to have the colossal effect that it had on the video empire, if they wouldn’t have denied the power and necessity of innovation in the competitive world of business.fuck

Blockbuster was running a well oiled machine. In a perfect world, they could’ve continued to run the company the same way and their profits would undoubtedly grow at the same rapid rate. If the denial of a partnership with Netflix revealed anything, it was that those in charge at Blockbuster had gotten too comfortable with their model. They thrived off of late fees and faithful customers. After a while, people got tired of having to pay incredulous amounts for movies that they watched once, but maybe forgot they had or lost. Blockbuster realized this fault, but it was quite late when the company eliminated the late fees, about 6 years before filing for bankruptcy.

The field that Blockbuster really missed the mark on innovation in was the Internet. It is no doubt that the invention of the internet and furthering of technology had made humans lazier. Nowadays, one can open up “Favor” and have somebody go to the grocery store and bring them their groceries without even having to throw on a pair of pants(although opening the door for the delivery would be a bit awkward). Blockbuster CEO, John Antioco, wasn’t blind to the fact of the need for Blockbuster to reach the cyber masses. He fought hard to end the late fees and bring Blockbuster to the internet, but his boardroom weren’t quite on board with the changes. These changes would in short term damage profitability by about 400 million. In 2006, Antioco helped bring forth Blockbuster Total Access. Total Access allowed people to buy a membership and stream unlimited movies like Netflix’s new streaming model, but the choices were much more limited and lacked older classics. With a poor collection and too late of timing, Total Access wouldn’t bring the profit that Blockbuster needed.  Yes, Total Access was a failed innovation, but if Blockbuster wanted to continue, they would have to figure out how to crack the online code. Inner fighting and loss of faith led to Antioco’s departure, leaving the company in new leadership without the man that more than doubled its revenue under his control. Under new leadership, Blockbuster completely abandoned their internet advancements to return to their roots. The stubborn abandonment would be the final nail in the coffin.

The fall of Blockbuster serves as an important cautionary tale in the modern business world. There are always people out there looking for new ways to improve and compete with existing companies and products. If one wants to be successful, they must continuously innovate their present model, because you never know when a small company will take off or when a monumental company will fall.





How Sustainable Building Will Shape the Future

What is Sustainable Building?

A sustainable building is one that has sustainable initiatives within the building, which are evident in the way materials and other resources are used to achieve water and energy efficiency as well as maintaining healthy indoor environmental quality. Sustainable buildings, also known as green buildings, also have two other common objectives. One objective is to protect the employee or user’s health and increase productivity. Lastly, the objective of the sustainable building is to reduce the ecological footprint of said building, while reducing waste and pollution.


Why some dislike sustainable buildings

Sustainable buildings are quite often more expensive than your typical, everyday building. This can be a great disincentive to business owners or even potential homeowners. Green buildings also do happen to be delayed when under construction due to the restricted ability to attain certain materials required in erecting the building. While all green buildings do not have to have natural ventilation it could cause a problem with owners of green buildings as there is one great issue concerning natural ventilation. Natural ventilation in itself can cause rise to trouble with building owners as there is no proper temperature regulation due to the presence of air from the outside working as ventilation within the aforementioned buildings. The location of the structure has to be in a place that allows you to take advantage of natural resources to allow for greater usage of renewable and green resources. This could prove to be more costly and give you the threat of an environmental change to restrict your access to, for example, sunlight.

Fukuoki Sustain


How the problems of detractor’s are addressed

Concerning the greater upfront cost of purchasing a green building, when looking at the return on investment of conservation of resources, namely water, electricity, and gas, the extra costs are neutralized within a few years and after that begin to gain money through savings. When constructing the buildings, the government offers tax rebates upon buildings with certain attributes, with a primary example being a tax rebate for buildings using renewable resources. While green buildings do often get delayed while undergoing construction, this can be easily fixed by having all materials ready beforehand and having a good architect to give you a correct estimate on how long the construction time will take. Supplementary heating and cooling systems used at a minimal level can solve natural ventilation’s lack of typical temperature regulation and airflow control. The problem concerning the location, however, is not one that can be fixed without great effort, but it can be fixed with creative problem solving.



Why even create and use green or sustainable building?

The environmental impact of regular buildings throughout the world is substantially greater than anyone would assume. Buildings account for 41% of the world’s energy use and 73% of energy usage in the US. Energy and demand is estimated to increase greatly in the near future. This greater requirement of energy would result in a greater amount of environmentally unfriendly resources to be consumed creating an even greater impact upon the environment in which we live. Someone the things that consume the most energy within buildings are addressed by sustainable design within sustainable buildings. Buildings throughout the U.S. account for 39% of greenhouse gas emissions and using green buildings to reduce CO2 emissions substantially would solve this issue. Throughout the world, buildings use 13.6% of all potable water, which is roughly 15 trillion gallons of water per year. This absurd figure can be reduced by green building’s increased efficiency concerning the usage of resources. While also being environmentally beneficial, sustainable buildings have also been proven to increase productivity and happiness within the user of aforementioned buildings, while also lowering the costs per user. Through increased efficiency of using resources, the annual utilities cost per employee in green facilities was $675.26 lower than in non-green facilities. In a study done by Notre Dame professors, workers in a certified green building were found to be more productive and engaged in their work, while also seeing a greater amount of revenue in banks residing in green buildings than those in non-green buildings. Finally, through the impact upon human users and the impact upon the environment and the user’s wallet, sustainable building is proven to be what the future needs and what the future will hold for buildings as a whole.

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Overview of Green Buildings: Chapter 1

Transition to Sustainable Buildings: Strategies and Opportunities to 2050 (Executive Summary)

The Business Case for Green Building

Buildings and Climate Change (USGBC)

Notre Dame’s Professorial Study



Whether you love them or hate them, we all know them and we all watch them. The Kardashians have taken over social media in a way that no one thought was possible. The Kardashian and Jenners have accumulated hundreds of millions of followers on Instagram, many of which want to mimic their every move. The Kardashians have not only made a brand but they have made a lifestyle.


As more and more people stop going outside to pick up the Sunday newspaper they pick up their phones to check the newest Instagram post instead. Social media is the new way to not only share pictures but spread news and to advertise. Many companies have started to pay big time celebrities to post wearing or using their products to make the follower feel as if they will be more like that celebrity if they bought that item.


Kim Kardashian has over 100 million Instagram followers which is why she earns at least 500,000 dollars per Instagram post. The other sisters earn somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000 per sponsored post on social media. These posts aren’t just a picture of the product, they make the product look as if they are essential to their lifestyle. The minute that a sponsored post comes out from someone in the Kardashian-Jenner clan, it becomes a must-have for their many followers and supporters.

The brands that are sported by the Kardashians and Jenners are almost a guaranteed sell out the minute they press post. Many brands see it as an almost guaranteed return on investments. Social media has become a crucial part of the Kardashians wealth. While this is true, the girls do not accept every sponsored product thrown their way. They frequently say that they only sponsor things that align with their lifestyle.

These girls are not trying to fool you on their sponsored posts. On almost every paid advertisement that they post they make sure the viewer knows it. At the end of most of their sponsored post, they add something like #ad #spon or #collab. Keep on the lookout for these to see what they love on their own versus what they are paid to love.

Along with the sponsored post, many companies use discount codes of the celebrities name. Not only does the viewer feel like they are more like their favorite celebrity but they are also getting a discount.

As much as we all hate to admit, if there is ever a few minutes of free time we are quick to scroll through our phones to be fully updated on the world around us. It is our world and it is the way we communicate. Big companies see the huge following that the Kardashians and Jenners have and want to use it to there advantage. These girls aren’t at a disadvantage either, $500,000 isn’t too bad. Design thinking is all about evolving with the world around you. This is the new way to get products out there and popular.







Drones: The Future of Everything

10 years ago, if you were to ask someone what a drone is used for, the answer would probably be something about military technology. Before this decade, that was the image of drones: a futuristic, non-commercial item used only by official, most likely military, organizations. However, in the recent years that image has dramatically shifted. Now, you see drones everywhere from a family household to a racetrack.

Endless Uses

What makes drones so special is the endless possibilities of use. In today’s world you can get a drone as a toy for your kid, you can get a drone to use as a photographer, you can get a drone to help build a skyscraper. Each day, it seems people find a new way to innovate the market of drones to reach a new type of user. While there is the toy-drone craze going on right now, there are also many more significant uses that people have found with drones. Let’s look at some of the most innovative ways people are implementing drone technology in the world.


One of the most significant, and commonly seen uses of drones is in photography. Photographers have used the aircrafts as a way to capture what used to be impossible shots. What once would have been a picture that could only be taken by someone with a helicopter and a healthy budget can now be done by the average joe with a drone. This opens the door for new opportunities in film making as well as ever day photography. Whether you want to shoot the intense battle scene in the new Lord of the Rings, inspect the damage from wildfires in Yosemite, or show off New York City to your friends from a new angle, drones have given you the ability to do so.

Industrial Drone Innovation

Innovation in the drone market has created the ability to help build architecture, inspect planes, and survey for fires. For example, a company called Airbus uses drones to inspect their planes. “Their drone captures high definition images of aircraft, then those images are quickly analyzed by computers to help find imperfections.” A process that would have taken time and manpower now is cut down to just the use of a drone and a computer. It is said that “it usually takes two hours for two men hoisted in a cherry picker to quality inspect a new Airbus aircraft. With a camera-equipped UAV, his team can produce better data from the 150 high-definition pictures captured in about 10 minutes.”

For firefighters, drones can mean the difference between life and death. Autel Robotics is developing the use of thermal technology on drones to help firefighters find and extinguish fires, while also saving victims. This saves crucial time for the firefighters, as even a few seconds can be the difference between a save and a casualty.

Drones can even be used to help construction projects. Intel has systems where they are able to “[fly] over and beside constructions to create highly accurate 3D modeling in order to be able to detect damages and cracks just from the data.  This is a very cost efficient way and you can do it with bridges and any kind of constructions.” On top of this, the same systems can be used to live monitor oil inspections. An ability that is said to be 90% safer, and maximizes profits by allowing the owner to constantly inspect from the comfort of his desk without shutting down production.

What this means for the future

While these are only a couple of the ways drones are used, that doesn’t mean it is all of them. Drones are making the impossible, possible. It is already obvious the impact drones have made on the world, and it seems that the innovation in the market is only increasing. There are human holding drones being made with talk of using them for transportation and even food delivery. Something like this means your Uber might not need to wait in traffic, or the meal you Favored might arrive at your door like it’s fresh out of the oven. What’s special about drones, is the end is unknown. It is so new to our society, an evolution is made so frequently, that the ceiling could be endless. What is known, however, is the impact they will make in the world. Whether you are a parent or the CEO of Google, a drone can make an impact on you, and make your life easier.





The Start

The company Netflix started around the same time as other movie renting companies. Its business model was different from companies like Blockbuster and Hollywood because Netflix wanted to give people the ability to rent a movie without the person leaving the house and that’s why nearly everyone in the US knows about Netflix but barely remembers Blockbuster and Hollywood. Netflix started in the late 1990’s. People rented movies by sending a request in the mail then getting the movie in the mail then once you were done mailing it back, all in the comfort of their home.

The Decline of DVDs

Netflix executives started to notices the decline in DVD sales and needed to think of a way to increase their sales which would be hard because almost all their sales came from DVD rental. They wanted to keep their model of people staying home to use their service. This in when they came up with the idea to put their movies on the internet as well keeping the ability to mail in a rental. In 2008 Netflix announced a partnership with Starz to bring over 2000 shows and movies to a website. It was not until 2011 that Netflix offered two separate subscriptions; one for mail in rentals and one for online. It was at this time that the online sales began to rises drastically from the DVD rentals.

Movies at the Click of a Button

Netflix started cutting deals with TV producers where there was a button put on the remote the read “NETFLIX”. All you had to do to watch netflix was click this button then choose your movie or show. This simplicity is what made Netflix different from the other show rental companies. This creativity is why Netflix is one of the most popular companies in the USA.

It was from this simplicity that made Netflix the company it is today. They always stuck to their plan of having their consumers never leave their house. Another innovation they have is the shows they produce. Before the first show they produced, House of Cards, Netflix relied on other companies for their products (TV Shows and Movies). They decided to produce their own shows this disconnects the middle man so the reap all the profits from the shows and movies. Now they do not have to pay as much to other companies so more of the money they earn goes straight to them.

Netflix and Chill

Netflix, through innovation and creativity, is now worth 61.1 billion dollars, earning it a spot on Forbes Top 200 Growth Champions as of May 2017. They have received many awards for the movies and and shows they made and for the buisses ideas and innovation.





How YouTube has officially entered the race over TV’s Future

We have all been there multiple times looking down on our phone seeing that it is 1 a.m. and telling ourselves “Okay, let’s just watch one more video and then go to sleep.”  YouTube has taken over the way we watch videos online. There are millions of videos ranging from Khan Academy math tutorials to History Channel clips about Supreme Court cases, to Roman Atwood’s daily family vlogs, and to videos about how humans react to boredom. Connecting through YouTube is not just a superficial glimpse into the world and lives of others. It provides an almost unlimited resource of information to satisfy our thirst for knowledge that can be accessed by everyone.Screen-Shot-2017-05-09-at-11.33.46-AM

YouTube started in 2005 created by 3 former PayPal employees. Only a few months after its launch YouTube became the fastest growing site on the world wide web and almost 2 years later YouTube was bought by Google for an astonishing 1.65 billion dollars. For the past 12 years, YouTube has taken over the way the everyday individuals watch videos online. When YouTube was bought by Google it started its partnership with Google AdSense which is a program in which an advertiser pays a publisher and the publisher can generate revenue on a “per-click” basis. Today you can get an average of $10,000 per 100,000 views. Having this allowed for YouTube to become a full-time job that many families and individuals have taken on. Although YouTube has not completely taken over the workforce it has completely changed we watch videos. YouTube gets over 3 billion views daily and in today’s generation of young adults, we watch internet videos almost three times more than TV. YouTube has taken many steps in the direction of trying to take over cable and subscription-based companies like Hulu and Netflix. They started off in 2015 by introducing YouTube Red which is a monthly subscription service that removes all ads from your YouTube videos. It also includes offline screening and being able to watch videos when your iPhone screen is off. This can be beneficial for individuals that travel a lot and don’t have internet or individuals who want to listen to an audiobook but want to turn off their screens. It also includes original YouTube Red shows featuring some of the top YouTubers like MyLifeAsEva, Gigi Gorgeous, Joey Garceffa, and PewDiePie all creators whose channels have over 2 million subscribers.


To add to that YouTube has recently launched a cable subscription called YouTube TV. YouTube TV is a monthly subscription that includes cable channels like ABC, FOX, ESPN, Disney and many more. It is just like YouTube Red but now cable channels are included. It allows for 6 accounts to be connected to it instead of having to pay cable per individual TV. Another unique feature that is included on YouTube TV is the Cloud DVR which allows you to record as many shows as you want because of the unlimited storage and it allows you to have them available offline and your shows can be streamed anywhere for up to 9 months instead of only 28 days, which is what is available on Netflix. Also, YouTube has announced that they will have original shows and movies featuring celebrities like Katy Perry, Ellen DeGeneres, and Kevin Hart. Which will only be available to YouTube TV customers. This is not the end of YouTube they have many ideas to make the platform of YouTube more appealing than TV, Netflix, or Hulu altogether.


We used to watch television and go to the movies but in today’s world, we spend hours on YouTube, Watching video after video YouTube has shows, movies, web series and more. We can watch it all from the comfort of our own home for free. YouTube has changed the face of entertainment. Although YouTube is not cable TV and never will be it is something way greater than that. It is a platform where anyone can come and express themselves for the world to see. Through You Tubes multiple launches of subscription programs it has officially started competing with cable TV and subscription-based sites like Hulu and Netflix to completely change the face of entertainment.



How Yeti Coolers Changed the Game.

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Frustration is often the birthplace of innovation and phenomenal success. Take the story of Ryan and Roy Seiders, two avid outdoorsmen who got frustrated with the quality of coolers available for their frequent hunting and fishing expeditions. The coolers they used limited their good times. Handles and hinges would break over time, and they were constantly worried the lid would cave in when sight casting for redfish in the flats. These frustrations led them to design the Yeti cooler.

our-story-seiders-1280x720.jpgThe brothers focused mostly on necessity and firsthand experience when designing the cooler. They wanted to make a cooler that would last a lifetime that will not break after constant abuse. They believe that cooler should not break if you stand on top of it, if it falls out the back of your truck or if I bear attempts to take the food inside. However, durability was not the only thing they wanted out of their coolers, they wanted it to keep ice colder for a longer period of time. Before Yeti Coolers hit the markets, the top of the line coolers could only hold ice for one day at the most before it would melt, limiting the amount of time you can be on the water or whatever else you are using it for. Thanks to the 2 inch thick walls filled with Permafrost insulation, a Yeti can keep ice anywhere from 3 days to 14 days.  These coolers allow you to go on longer trips without having to come in for more ice.
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Ryan and Roy never planned on changing the industry of coolers, but they did. Ever since Yeti released their first cooler, competitors have been trying desperately to catch up. Thanks to Yeti’s new innovation center they will always be on top. The innovation center is a top-secret building, where they test the durability of each of their products and formulate new prototypes. On average, they come up with 10 to 15 new prototypes each day, but sometimes over 100 in a single day. They have machines that zip and unzip the hoppers to verify the zipper is Yeti approved. Meanwhile, another machine is dropping a 250-pound weight into the new Yeti bucket to ensure it can withstand the pressure. At the innovation center, there are 10 fulltime employees and another 45 engineers and designers that are part-time. These people are in charge of not only making sure each product has what it takes to be considered a Yeti (Wildly stronger! Keeps ice longer!), but also come up with new ideas for future products and improve the existing ones.