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How Do We Innovate in a World of Slowing Growth? – ReadWrite

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How Do We Innovate in a World of Slowing Growth? - ReadWrite


Millions of would-be startup entrepreneurs, software developers, and other innovators are struggling. They want to create new products, design new technologies, and introduce the world to new heights of productivity and wellbeing. But we’re entering an era of slowed technological growth – at least in some ways.

How Do We Innovate in a World of Slowing Growth?

Innovation is at the heart of any thriving economy. New technologies mean new companies, new jobs, and new opportunities for all existing companies – not to mention a higher quality of life for everyone involved (in most cases). But if our rate of innovation is unsustainable, where do we go from here?

Are We Really Slowing?

First, let’s explore the idea that innovation is slowing down – because it’s not a foregone conclusion. There are strong signs that innovation is slowing in some respects, but other experts have argued that many of these forms of deceleration are temporary.

For starters, productivity growth in the United States has been slowing consistently over the past few decades.

In the 1950s, American productivity was increasing by more than 3 percent each year. By the 1980s, that rate of increase had fallen to 2 percent, and today, the rate of increase is less than 1 percent annually.

What accounts for this slowing over the past few decades?

There are several potential factors. For starters, research-centric universities like MIT and Harvard were getting more funding and more attention. Major corporations like General Electric and Ford were investing heavily in R&D departments.

And technologies originally developed during World War II (often to fuel the war effort) were commercialized and distributed, with widespread access to them for the first time.

Some experts have suggested that the lack of innovation is a direct result of a lack of investment. If we invest more heavily in R&D in corporate departments and universities alike — we’d be able to see better results.

But this doesn’t necessarily stand to reason; our R&D spending is, collectively, many times higher than it’s ever been before. And yet, the productivity rate growth remains.

Is technological innovation to blame? How can that be?

Others suggest that this is the inevitable effect of technological innovation, which we would see in any society of intelligent beings. Major breakthroughs in technology function like low-hanging fruit; they’re relatively easy to brainstorm, and it’s only a matter of time before they get developed.

Once developed, breakthroughs increase our capacity and make other “low-hanging fruit” technologies easier to think up and develop. From the 1700s through the 1950s, we saw the development of technologies like the steam engine, running electricity, nuclear power, and of course, the internet.

What’s New in Tech?

But now that we’re here, the low-hanging fruit is no longer available. Scientists and researchers are spending all their efforts making our existing technology better – not necessarily coming up with something new.

We’re developing quantum computers as a kind of last area of research for computers, since we’re already pushing up against the boundaries of physics as we know it today.

We’re coming up on some hard limits of human knowledge.

Our model of physics is relatively unchanged since the 1980s. We haven’t made many major advancements in fields like chemistry for decades. And Moore’s Law, which once practically dictated the pace of improvement for transistors — is at its end.

Are we on a tech plateau?

That said, there are some arguments that we’re merely on a temporary plateau. The idea is that, sooner or later, new technology will come along to help us ascend to new heights, opening the door to other technological developments. For example, next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) could make it possible to solve problems that are currently unthinkably hard to address.

What about rates of productivity growth?

There’s also the argument that slowing rates of productivity growth are actually because of innovation, not due to a lack of it. When innovation happens quickly or occurs in an unexpected direction, it can disrupt the economy in such a way that interferes with GDP growth.

For example, when the internet began to encroach on the territory of newspaper companies, it shrunk the profitability of an entire industry.

Directions for Innovation

So how do we continue to innovate in an era with slowing growth?

There are a handful of important possibilities to note:

  • “First principles” thinking. One of the most important avenues for progression is going to be “first principles” thinking. In other words, we need to return to the ground level and rethink some of our longest-standing assumptions. When it comes to innovation, we tend to upgrade various components of an existing system or machine. For example, cars haven’t fundamentally changed in many decades; every component of modern cars is superior, in some way, to older variants, but we’re still working with an engine and four wheels. First principles thinking would encourage us to start from scratch, reimagining what a “car” is from the ground up and challenging our previous assumptions.
  • Lateral expansion. We could also attempt to innovate and expand laterally. Admittedly, this doesn’t qualify as “innovation” in the purest sense. Rather than inventing something totally new, you’ll be entering new, previously unexplored territory. That could be something as simple as reaching a new target audience with your digital advertising strategy, or as complex as introducing a new industry to a developing country that currently lacks it. Existing technology is highly advanced, but not all people of the world can access it equally. New audience targeting, geographic expansion, and cost cutting can all help us progress in this area.
  • Combination and repackaging. In the past decade, most of our best “innovations” have been novel ways of combining and repackaging other existing technologies. For example, the pinnacle of modern technology is, in many ways, the smartphone. But even Apple’s first-generation iPhone didn’t introduce many new features; calling, texting, emailing, and browsing the internet were all already in existence. They just weren’t packaged together conveniently. Since then, we’ve seen many new phone models, but the upgrades are relatively minor, such as more detailed cameras and slightly faster processors.

Supporting Further Innovation

Innovation doesn’t typically happen in a vacuum. It most often happens in dense teams, with strong leaders, and the backing of tons of interested investors and supportive partners. In other words, our best innovators need support.

So how do we, collectively, support further innovation and growth?

  • Investment. One straightforward method is to pour mor money into research and development. With more investment, scientists, inventors, and developers can do more. Of course, there are some limitations here; our R&D spending is higher than ever, yet it’s not giving us a steady conveyor belt of new technologies.
  • Risk. Culturally, we need to embrace risk and rethinking long-standing structures and systems. It’s a risky move to rethink our concept of a car from the ground up, especially if you’re starting a brand new company to do it.
  • Public recognition. We also need to recognize that innovation is slowing and behave accordingly, as consumers. The most recent iPhone isn’t substantially different than the previous generation; perhaps we can throw our enthusiasm behind more novel, innovative presentations.
  • Political theories. It’s also worth noting that people from different political backgrounds have different ideas for tackling this issue. For example, some could suggest the best solution is to foster a truly free, capitalistic market that naturally encourages entrepreneurs. Others may believe that more government control and investing could develop ideas that a free market may not support.

Toward the Next Generation of Technology

The human thirst for innovation and growth is unquenchable, so if we’re currently in the middle of a technological slowdown, the optimistic view is that this is only temporary. We’ll continue making iterative progress in areas that can continue progressing and eventually stumble upon a major breakthrough that forces us to reconsider everything we used to know.

However, if we’re going to find that new technological breakthrough, and support a healthy economy while we wait for its arrival — it’s important that we recognize this slowdown and foster innovation in any way we can.

Productivity increases may have slowed, but they’re still increasing – and that should give us plenty of momentum to keep growing for decades to come.

Image Credit: susanne jutzeler; pexels – thank you

Timothy Carter

Chief Revenue Officer

Timothy Carter is the Chief Revenue Officer of the Seattle digital marketing agency SEO.co, DEV.co & PPC.co. He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO and digital marketing leading, building and scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and drive growth from websites and sales teams. When he’s not working, Tim enjoys playing a few rounds of disc golf, running, and spending time with his wife and family on the beach…preferably in Hawaii with a cup of Kona coffee.

Politics

RUSSIA’S DEFAULT IS A REALITY AS GRACE MONTH IS OVER

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ValueWalk


Russia’s default has finally arrived on its sovereign debt in foreign currency for the first time in more than a century. Moscow has been unable to pay the interest on two bonds in dollars despite having enough foreign exchange reserves to do so. Investors assure that they have not received payment after the grace month.

Russia’s Default

Russia is showing the consequences of the sanctions the West has massively imposed on it after the war against Ukraine.

 

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For months, the country has managed to find ways and shortcuts to wade through the measures that tried to isolate the government of Vladimir Putin and make the country fall into technical default. In the end, the West has achieved its goal, albeit somewhat later than expected.

Although Russia had the capacity to meet this payment, leading economic indicators —the composite PMI sank in March and remain below 50, indicating that the economy is contracting— reveal that the country is facing one of the major economic crises of recent decades.

With double-digit inflation and several leading companies on the way out, Russia will face a deep recession and perhaps years of economic stagnation.

The one-month grace period expired on Sunday on around $100 million of trapped interest payments due May 27, a deadline that is considered an event of default if not paid in the correct currency, according to Bloomberg.

Data

Russia’s default is also backed by other data. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reveals that the Russian Government had a debt of around $40 billion in hard currency at the end of 2021 —a relatively small amount.

Although the total foreign debt exceeds $470 billion, only part of that amount is in foreign currency and a smaller part is still a liability to the Russian Government.

This is a clear symptom of the rapid transformation that the country is facing, both financially and economically. Russia will have to go on without the foreign capital flows that have historically helped finance investments in emerging countries.

The nation’s Eurobonds have been trading on the secondary market at very low levels since early March, while the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves remain frozen. Russia’s largest banks are cut off from the global financial system, leaving the country in isolation.

Published First on ValueWalk. Read Here.

Image Credit: by Happy Donut; Pexels; Thank you!

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Take Inspiration From Trending and Successful eCommerce Businesses

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Take Inspiration From Trending and Successful eCommerce Businesses


Believe it or not, online shopping has become a massive trend nowadays, and its popularity is increasing daily. Of course, we were already in the era of digitalization, but this entire pandemic situation has made eCommerce industries flourish more than expected in the last few years.

Nowadays, everything is digitized as people buy food, groceries, cosmetics, clothes, and even electronic gadgets online. This digital revolution has made it easier for creative founders to convert their dreams and ideas into a waking reality.

Old ways and patterns of handling businesses are changing every day, and business owners need to adapt to the fluctuating market trends. And in this, some trending eCommerce businesses have taken this eCommerce industry to a whole new level. They are ruling and conquering like a boss.

Here in this blog, we will be discussing such inspiring eCommerce businesses. So, keep reading to find out more and cope for the better.

What are The Types of eCommerce Businesses?

E-commerce businesses are not limited to one particular business model. Instead, there are various sorts of eCommerce business models as per their business offerings. So have a look at some of the highly prevalent eCommerce models.

  • Business to Consumer (B2C): The process of selling from business to customer comes under B2C type E-commerce.
  • Business to Business (B2B): The buying and selling process between businesses comes under the B2B type of E-commerce.
  • Direct to Consumer(D2C): This new idea of selling directly to end customers without the involvement of any retailer comes under D2C type E-commerce.
  • Consumer to Consumer (C2C): Consumer-to-consumer sales on platforms like eBay, Etsy, Fiver, and many more come under C2C type E-commerce.
  • Consumer to Business (C2B): An individual selling their services to different businesses comes C2B type E-commerce.

Examples of Successful E-commerce Businesses

1. Warby Parker

Warby Parker is popularly known for producing designer, reliable and inexpensive frames for eyeglasses. An MBA student, Neil Blumenthal, and 3 of his friends launched this eCommerce company in 2010. They proposed the idea in 2008, and took nearly two years to implement.

Their idea of business was something very essential at that period because Luxottica (Another eyewear brand) was one of the few companies that used to sell designer and reliable frames, but they were costly as compared to Warby Parker.

Warby has a free try-on policy with free shipping and numerous return offers, and this is what the brand has adopted to stand out from the crowd and appeal to its customers.

2. Leesa

An online Mattress retailer is helping people sleep better and comforting their sleep cycle. The whole idea behind this business model was to help people realize the importance of sleep and how an adequate amount of sleep can increase their productivity and quality of life.

Their first-ever mattress was “Universal Adaptive feel.” It was so flexible that it could easily adjust to all body types.

The 100-night free trial policy worked well for their customers and made the business model a huge success. Leesa had traditional showrooms at first, but with time they also opened online stores.

3. Modcloth

ModCloth is an eCommerce company launched in 2002, selling women’s clothing worldwide. They sell fun and quirky clothes that are not so exclusive but are comfortable and budget-friendly.

Everything about their store is creative and exciting – which customers nowadays love. The copies describing their clothes are also fun to read because every product has a name and story behind it – now, this is something very catchy.

ModCloth became a brand within a few years of its launch because of its targeted marketing strategy. They know who their target audience is and what requirements they have. Knowing this has made their business reach exceptional heights within a short period of time.

4. Amazon

Mostly we know Amazon was launched in 1995 as an online bookstore and has been flourishing since then. Now amazon is not limited to books anymore because now it sells almost everything you can think of. From groceries to clothes and even jewelry, Amazon has it all.

Right now, Amazon is one of the largest eCommerce stores by revenue worldwide. Though amazon started with no competitors, now it has Walmart as one of its biggest competitors. Last year Amazon made a revenue of $470 billion.

Amazon has adopted a stellar marketing strategy, which is targeting the right customer and offering products at comparatively lower rates.

5. Shopify

Shopify is a SaaS (Software-as-a-service) company that provides all the tools needed by a business to run its eCommerce business smoothly. It helps them with website building, marketing, payment processing, financial tracking, and everything in between.

It is a tech infrastructure that supports more than 2 million merchants and various operations ranging from mom-and-pop businesses to global brands. Shopify made $389 million in revenue in 2016 to $4.6 billion in revenue in 2021.

The profitability of Spotify has been improving with time because, just like every SaaS business, it has also scaled up.

6. LARQ

LARQ is a business model that makes self-cleaning water bottles that are reusable, rechargeable, and also have some advanced features. For example, it has UVC technology used to eliminate viruses & bacteria from water bottles.

LARQ has the initiative to provide clean water to everyone. They also raised $1.7 million for the same. In addition, LARQ donates 1% of its earnings to help maintain clean water worldwide.

The product was so unique and exciting that it attracted numerous customers. As a result, many environmentalists and aware citizens switched to these LARQ bottles and saved their money from buying single-use water bottles.

7. Beer Cartel

Beer Cartel, as the name suggests, is Australia’s number one beer subscription service. It is said that some ideas sell themselves; the same was the case with this one.

Beer Cartel sells beers from all around the world to their subscribers at their doorstep. This online store gives people the freedom to select their unique beer bottles at a price better than traditional stores.

One of the significant reasons for Beer Cartel’s success is that they offer exclusive taste under budget. In addition, they have a wide range of varieties that keeps their customers interested and coming back.

8. Berlin Packaging

Berlin Packaging is well known for sourcing, designing, and even distributing containers and closures for companies like fortune and various family-owned startups.

They have always provided products at a lower cost to their customers to increase the overall efficiency of their enterprise. One interesting fact about it is that it is not a new startup; it is 80 years old, in fact. But Berlin Packaging has somehow still managed to bring their customers the latest and top-quality beer.

They started this eCommerce business model to keep up with the times, which worked out well for them.

9. Bonobos

With the introduction of eBay, Bonobos knew that the eCommerce business was getting more competitive with each passing day. So, they introduced a unique business model targeting only a super-specific audience.

This strategy of narrowing down to a particular audience helped them make loyal customers who also flourished their business in the long run. Bonobo’s success made everyone realize that focusing on the competition is not good for your business’s health.

They should focus on the value they provide to their customers, and they will reach greater heights of success.

10. TOMS

The name of the company seems fascinating, right? Well, so is their initiative. TOMS is an eCommerce company that sells its customers quality shoes that are reliable, comfortable, designer, and inexpensive.

What separates TOMS from other similar eCommerce is that with every transaction, they will help one in need. Yes! Not only this, but they also run various social media campaigns with hashtags like #withoutshoes and many more to stand out from the crowd.

Everything about their business model is catchy and interesting, making it easier for them to drive more traffic to their online shop.

What are the Biggest Benefits of eCommerce?

Shopping in the comfort of home: eCommerce has made shopping easier and more convenient for our customers. Buying and selling things is a child’s play nowadays. As a result, our purchases are simpler, faster, less time-consuming, and not so hectic.

Markets are globalized: Now, you can shop from anywhere around the world at the convenience of your home. The impact of eCommerce on the planet can easily be visible. There are no limitations or barriers to buying from a different state or country.

Building startups is not so expensive anymore! Yes, in this era of digitalization, anyone can set up their online store at a meager cost. In addition, the operating cost is minimal because both buyers and sellers are now digital.

Conclusion

Technologies are evolving rapidly because of this, eCommerce businesses have to see a lot of changes frequently.

If you have an eCommerce business that is not growing as expected, you must adapt to new business models that add value to your customer’s life and your e-commerce services (my business: krishaweb dot com).

Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!

Parth Pandya

“Nothing Is Impossible” – is a quote that guided me to climb up the toughest peak of my professional journey. Having a great zeal for excellence and ambitious nature to reach the peak, leads me uninterrupted to provide the best content to all the visitors. I like to read and share contents which are related to Technology Solution and Digital Marketing.

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What Does the G7 Russian Gold Ban Mean for Gold Stocks?

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Gold Ban Mean for Stocks?


The G7 plans to announce a ban on Russian gold imports. But does that really matter for investors? While there hadn’t been an official Russian gold ban until now, this news isn’t exactly a surprise to the industry. Today, we’re seeing that lack of reaction in gold prices.

Typically, a ban on imports for a particular commodity sends prices soaring higher. Just look at what happened to oil after Russia invaded Ukraine. As it pertains to gold, prices also initially ticked higher this morning, with the futures opening up by under 1%.

However, it has now turned lower on the day, as have the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX) and the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDXJ).

Does the Russian Gold Ban Matter?

This latest decision does matter. However, it will have a limited impact on the global gold market and gold-mining stocks. Warren Patterson, Head of Commodities Strategy at ING Groep NV (NYSE:ING), had the following to say:

“The impact from a ban on Russian gold imports by G-7 nations is likely to be fairly limited, given that the industry already took steps to restrict Russian gold […]It looks as though its largely symbolic.”

Russia has the world’s fifth-largest gold stash according to the World Gold Council. However, it only exported roughly 5% of the world’s gold supply in 2020. A bulk of those exports — over 90% — went to the United Kingdom, a G7 member. Still, Russia will likely find buyers in China and India.

In actuality, the buying pool may shift, but it will not completely evaporate.

How Does This Affect Gold Stocks?

At this point, the ban does not seem to have much of an impact on gold stocks. There’s multiple reasons why this is the case.

  1. The industry seems to have largely prepped for such a ban.
  2. Russia is not that large of an exporter of gold.
  3. The efforts from central banks to raise interest rates and strengthen currencies is likely playing a more important role in regards to precious metal prices.

Ultimately, a Russian gold ban certainly doesn’t hurt gold prices — if anything, less supply is a bullish catalyst — but right now that catalyst is not reverberating through the market. However, removing Russian supply from the market will be a modest positive for gold miners.

Published First: InvestorPlace. Read Here.

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