Easily Integrate These Wall Street Journal Articles in Your Class
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Special Student Webinar Series

The WSJ College Program has launched a new webinar series especially for college students. The first, focused on Interviewing, aired earlier this week.

WSJ Editor Nikki Waller and industry expert Pamela Skillings shared tips and answered questions on NOT bombing the interview. Viewers learned how to impress while avoiding common pitfalls.

They can view this webinar and register for future ones at WSJ.com/studentwebinars.

Be sure to share this information with your students.
THIS WEEK'S ARTICLES
Inside Wal-Mart's 'Shark Tank'
At Etsy, 86% of Sellers are Female
Clouding Amazon's Blue Skies
Apple's iPhone Sales, Up 35%, Disappoint
Spotify Users Explore New Music With Weekly Service

Inside Wal-Mart's 'Shark Tank'
by: Sarah Nassauer
Jul 23, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Competitive Advantage

SUMMARY: At Wal-Mart's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark, 'Shark Tank" like pitches take place between prospective vendors and Wal-Mart staffers. The vendors are hoping to land their products on Wal-Mart shelves. Many of the "vendors" are fledgling entrepreneurs, pitching products as diverse as frozen deep-fried turkeys to toddler dirt bikes. For Wal-Mart, the events are a double-edge sword. New vendors bring risks of inexperience and untested products. But Wal-Mart also needs a constant flow of new products. The company is also trying to shed its image of stocking cheap imported goods. One recent Wal-Mart "Shark Tank" like event was billed Made in USA "Open Call" designed specifically to look at products made or assembled in the U.S. Wal-Mart won't say what its acceptance rate is for pitches made in events like "Open Call." Those who do get a shot at Wal-Mart are often given a small run in a few hundred stores, so as not to overwhelm their startup business.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: This article provides insight into what it's like to pitch to Wal-Mart and some of the constraints involved with being a Wal-Mart supplier. Talk through the article with your students, stressing both the opportunities and challenges of stocking a company's products on Wal-Mart shelves.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) Having read the article, briefly describe what you believe the pitch experience would be like if you pitched a product to Wal-Mart?

2. (Advanced) Why do you think Wal-Mart is so selective?

3. (Advanced) If you were a fairly new entrepreneur, discuss both the opportunities and challenges involved with selling your product via Wal-Mart.

Reviewed By: Bruce Barringer, Oklahoma State University


At Etsy, 86% of Sellers are Female
by: Lauren Weber
Jul 23, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Entrepreneurship

SUMMARY: This article provides information about the typical Etsy seller. The typical seller is female, has a college degree, probably used savings to start her online shop, and most of her household income comes from other sources. The data comes from Etsy itself. Etsy also found that about 30% of its sellers use their business as their sole source of earnings, and that Etsy sellers have a median household income (from all sources) of $56,180, which is slightly above the general population. For the average Etsy seller, Etsy income contributes about 15% of the total. In its report, Etsy suggests that it "democratizes access to entrepreneurship" by offering low-risk opportunities to start small businesses. It is fairly inexpensive to setup an Etsy shop.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Discuss Etsy and the space that Etsy fills in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Spend a little time illustrating how easy and inexpensive it is to setup an Etsy store. Talk about Etsy's claim that it "democratizes access to entrepreneurship." Also, discuss why 86% of Etsy sellers are female.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) Briefly describe what Etsy is and how one goes about opening an Etsy store?

2. (Advanced) Why do you think 86% of Etsy sellers are female?

3. (Advanced) What does Etsy mean when it says it "democratizes access to entrepreneurship"? Do you think Etsy is actually achieving this objective?

Reviewed By: Bruce Barringer, Oklahoma State University


Clouding Amazon's Blue Skies
by: Dan Gallagher
Jul 25, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Competitive Strategy

SUMMARY: Amazon's cloud business is bringing in both customers and revenues. The company's second quarter financial results showed a strong impact from Amazon's Web services arm known as ASW. Operating income from ASW accounted for one-third of Amazon's total even though it comprises just 8% of revenue. Amazon stock now trades at 43 times projected free cash flow-double Google's multiple. The momentum has resulted from Amazon's earnings growth. The issue of sustainability remains. Amazon has frequently followed periods of earnings growth with cycles of heavy spending.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Interesting article. Ask your students to speculate on why Amazon's cloud business is growing so rapidly. Talk about why the company's cloud services apparently has better margins than other parts of Amazon's business. Discuss several of the terms in the article, such as "cloud business," "free cash flow," and "multiple."

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) Briefly explain what is meant by the term "cloud business." Why do you think Amazon's cloud business is growing so rapidly?

2. (Advanced) What does the term "free cash flow" mean? Why is the term relevant for a growing entrepreneurial firm?

3. (Advanced) What is an earnings "multiple?" Why is this a number that a company and its investors pay attention to?

Reviewed By: Bruce Barringer, Oklahoma State University


Apple's iPhone Sales, Up 35%, Disappoint
by: Daisuke Wakabayashi
Jul 22, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Competitive Advantage

SUMMARY: Expectations for Apple are sky high, to the point where the company can't always deliver. Apple said this week its profits surged 38%, aided by strong demand for its latest iPhone and robust growth in China. Still, it stock fell by as much as 7% on the news, because some analysts had predicted even stronger sales. The iPhone is Apple's most important product, accounting for nearly two-thirds of Apple's revenue in the quarter ended June 27 versus less than half three years ago. As a result, any sign that iPhone growth is reaching a peak is a major concern for investors. Sales of the larger-screen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have been particularly strong. When challenged by analysts that Apple needs to move beyond its reliance on the iPhone, Apple CEO Tim Cook indicated that he believes the iPhone has "lots of legs" to it. The latest iPhones are especially popular in China. In addition, in the last quarter, the highest rate of switchers from Android phones to iPhones took place. It isn't yet clear whether Apple's sales will greatly benefit from the Apple Watch. One disappointment is the iPad. In contrast to the iPhone, iPad sales continue to slump.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: This should be a popular article, given that many of your students will be iPhone and Apple users. Ask your students to comment on why the iPhone has been so popular. Speculate on why the iPhone is popular in China and why people are migrating from Android to the iPhone. Ask your students if they agree with Tim Cook's assessment that the iPhone has "lot of legs" to go prior to a decline in sales. Discuss why iPad sales are sagging.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) Why do you think the iPhone is so popular?

2. (Advanced) Why do you think the iPhone is popular in China?

3. (Advanced) Do you agree with Tim Cook's assessment that the iPhone has "lots of legs" to go prior to a decline in sales? Explain your answer.

4. (Advanced) Do you still consider Apple to be an "entrepreneurial" firm? Why or why not?

Reviewed By: Bruce Barringer, Oklahoma State University


Spotify Users Explore New Music With Weekly Service
by: Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Jul 22, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: New Product Introduction

SUMMARY: Spotify's latest innovation is to help music lovers answer the age-old question "What should I listen to next?" The new service is called Discover Weekly, and it serves up two hours of personalized music selection delivered every Monday morning. The goal of Discover Weekly is to introduce users to new music by dissecting their listening habits. Spotify does this by building up case profiles for every users which log playlists, albums and artists. All this information is then loaded into a computer algorithm which generates recommendations. The service is designed to evolve with a user over time. The streaming music business is very competitive. Discover Weekly is among a number of features Spotify is introducing to keep the listeners it has and to win over new customers.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Discuss with your student how much of a draw Discover Weekly will be with current and potential Spotify users. Also, discuss the ability of a computer algorithm to dissect the listening habits of Spotify users and to make recommendations. Brainstorm other ways in which computer algorithms could be used to make personalized recommendations to consumers.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) To what extent do you believe Discover Weekly will be a draw for current and potential Spotify users?

2. (Advanced) On a scale of 1-10 (10 is high), how impressed are you that a computer algorithm can dissect a music lover's listening habits and make recommendations based on the type of music they like?

3. (Advanced) Brainstorm other applications for computer algorithms to make personalized recommendations.

Reviewed By: Bruce Barringer, Oklahoma State University


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