Easily Integrate These Wall Street Journal Articles in Your Class
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Did you know that you can use these Weekly Review articles to easily assess your students' comprehension of course concepts and current events?

With our new WSJ Assessment Tool, they'll complete the online quizzes based on the articles and you'll have immediate access to their results.

You can learn more at WSJ.com/assessment.
THIS WEEK'S ARTICLES
Q: Can an App Be Too Successful?
Meet the Hottest Tech Startups
Technology Bubble? Ask Waffle House
'Piggybackers' Hitch Themselves to Airbnb, Uber
Pandora: Victim of Success

Q: Can an App Be Too Successful?
by: Sarah E. Needleman
Feb 21, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: apps

SUMMARY: This article focuses on Trivia Crack, the latest red-hot mobile game. It has been downloaded more than 130 million times and has been the most popular free app in the Apple App Store for 66-straight days. Trivia Crack is a trivia game. The distinction between Trivia Crack and other trivia games is that it features questions written by players, along with their names and photos. The problem is that Etermax, the small Buenos Aires firm that makes the app, is struggling to keep up. In recent months players have submitting an average of one million questions a day. Since each submission must get a positive rating from at least 100 fellow players to make the cut, only about 1,500 new questions are being added each day. The constant flow of new questions is what makes the game fun. But the backlog of submitted questions waiting approval is starting to irk some Trivia Crack players. Etermax, which has six games including Trivia Crack, is by its own admission "very profitable." Trivia Crack makes its money via in-app purchases and advertising. Etermax plans to bolster its employee roster and a sequel for Trivia Crack is planned for spring.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: This is an interesting article. Ask your students to put themselves in the place of the CEO of Etermax and brainstorm plans for reducing the backlog of submitted questions waiting for review for Trivia Crack. Also, ask one or more students to download Trivia Crack (it is free). Try to discern why Trivia Crack has been so successful.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) Do you think Etermax could have better anticipated the number of questions that would be submitted to Trivia Crack for consideration? How big of a problem do you think the question backlog is for Trivia Crack?

2. (Advanced) Spend some time looking at Trivia Crack (it can be downloaded for free). Try to discern why the game has been so successful.

3. (Advanced) What can app entrepreneurs learn from the Trivia Crack story?

Reviewed By: Bruce Barringer, Oklahoma State University


Meet the Hottest Tech Startups
by: Scott Austin
Feb 19, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Valuation

SUMMARY: According to a WSJ study, at least 73 private companies worldwide are valued at $1 billion by venture-capital investors. This number is a stark contrast to several years ago, when only a handful of companies met this milestone. In 2014, 48 companies entered the club-a pace of nearly one a week. A total of 13 fell off the list either because they went public or got acquired. The number of companies valued at $10 billion or more doubled in the past year to eight, including smartphone maker Xiaomi and car hailing app Uber. There are several reasons for the rapid growth in $1 billion companies, including the fact that companies are waiting longer to go public and private capital is relatively easy to obtain. Statistically, the number of $1 billion venture capital backed firms is still small. The 73 firms represent just 0.004% of the roughly 16,700 still-active private companies that have raised venture capital since 2011-the group's cut-off. A full list of the companies is provided in the article and is available at wsj.com/billionclub.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Speculate with your students the reasons for the growing number of $1 billion plus companies, beyond the reasons provided in the article. Talk about whether a run-up in $1 billion plus companies is a good thing or a bad thing for the entrepreneurial sector of the U.S. economy. Speculate on whether the trend for $1 billion plus valuations will continue.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) Discuss, in broad terms, how a value is placed on a venture-backed private company.

2. (Advanced) Do you believe the run-up in the number of $1 billion plus (valuation) venture-backed companies is a good thing or a bad thing for the entrepreneurial sector of the U.S. economy?

3. (Advanced) Do you think we're in the midst of a "bubble" in terms of venture-backed firm valuations? Why or why not?

Reviewed By: Bruce Barringer, Oklahoma State University


Technology Bubble? Ask Waffle House
by: Laura Stevens
Feb 24, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Sharing economy

SUMMARY: In the latest attempt to disrupt the package delivery market, startup Roadie aims to entice college students and other travelers to earn money by delivering packages on the way to where they're already going. The meeting point for the senders and receivers will be Waffle House restaurants, which are located throughout the U.S. Roadie is still small. But big investors have signed on for the over $10 million initial investment round. Package delivery startups have had limited success, with no startups relying on the so called sharing economy making significant inroads. Roadie will pay drivers 80% of the price, less a $1 safety fee to cover insurance for the items. Waffle House may be just the first of the meeting points that will be established for drivers to hand items over to receivers. One of Roadie's early investors is UPS. UPS made the investment through its Strategic Enterprise Fund, which invests in startup companies redefining logistics ranging from e-commerce to healthcare to aerospace.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Ask your students their take on Roadie. Discuss why it's been difficult for package startups utilizing the so called sharing economy to make it. Spend some time looking at Roadie's Web site and speculate on the company's prospects for success. Discuss why serious investors would be interested in putting money into Roadie.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) Why do you think it's been difficult for package startups utilizing the so called sharing economy to realize success?

2. (Advanced) What do you think it is about Roadie that has attracted the interest of serious investors?

3. (Advanced) Why do you think UPS invested in Roadie? By investing in Roadie, isn't UPS investing money in a potential competitor?

Reviewed By: Bruce Barringer, Oklahoma State University


'Piggybackers' Hitch Themselves to Airbnb, Uber
by: Charles Wells
Feb 19, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Entrepreneurial ecosystem

SUMMARY: A growing number of entrepreneurs are building derivative startups, or businesses pegged to others' success. For example, at least half a dozen new businesses have surfaced in the past three years to help users optimize their experience on Airbnb. Similarly, the rise of Uber and Lyft has spawned startups Breeze and HyreCar. Each offers to lease vehicles to would-be Uber and Lyft drivers. Broadly speaking, these businesses seek to build out a surrounding "ecosystem" much like small software companies built product and services on top of Microsoft Windows in the 1990s. Given that startups are inherently risky, the breed of derivative startups is even more so. As a result, one issue for entrepreneurs building derivative businesses to consider is whether they hitch their success to one company or bet on a whole market. One of the biggest risks for derivative startups is that their host companies could quickly expand their own offerings, becoming competitors overnight.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: This is a fascinating article. Ask your students to weigh in on the wisdom of building a derivative startup. Talk about the prospects for a company like Breeze and HyreCar. Talk about both the positives and negatives attached to building a derivative startup.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) Briefly explain what a derivative startup is. Compare and contrast it to a normal startup that is bringing a new product or service to market.

2. (Advanced) Spend some time studying wither Breeze of HyreCar. Briefly describe the company's business model. Speculate on the company's prospects for success.

3. (Advanced) Make a list of the potential advantages and disadvantages of building a derivative startup.

Reviewed By: Bruce Barringer, Oklahoma State University


Pandora: Victim of Success
by: Miriam Gottfried
Feb 20, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Business Models

SUMMARY: Pandora, which disrupted the radio business, now faces the threat of disruption itself. The potential disruptor-the US. Government. A three-judge government board is set to rule by December on statutory rates paid by Pandora and other Web casters to the musicians that its streams on its site. A reduction in what it pays would be a big boost for Pandora, while an increase it what it pays would have the opposite effect. This potential obstacle is coming at a time when Pandora is dogged by other issues, such as slowing user growth and signs of weakness in its share of national advertising. Pandora pays the musicians it streams under statutory per-play rates. Spotify and iTunes Radio, in contrast, negotiate directly with labels. Pandora sees itself as something different than Spotify. It defines itself as Internet radio, which excludes on-demand services like Spotify. Pandora currently pays out 43% of revenue in statutory fees to the artists and labels it streams. If artists have their way, Pandora could pay out much more.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: This is an interesting article. Ask your students to go through the article carefully and make the argument both for and against whether Pandora should be paying more for content. Also, talk about Pandora's business model vs. Spotify's. Speculate on Pandora's long-term future if the three-judge government board rules that it must pay more for the music it streams.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) Why do you think Pandora has attracted so many users?

2. (Advanced) Compare and contrast Pandora's business model with Spotify's business model.

3. (Advanced) Do you think Pandora should pay more or less for the music it streams? Explain your answer.

Reviewed By: Bruce Barringer, Oklahoma State University


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