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What RadioShack's Impending Death Can Teach Other Companies
RadioShack is on death's doorstep and public response seems to exist steadily in the "well, it's about time" camp. In this difficult time for brick-and-mortar retailers, there are lessons to be learned from RadioShack and other fallen companies about reinvention and adaptation.
What's the Latest?
According to this CNN report, RadioShack is operating with only $62 million in the bank at the moment, meaning they don't even have enough cash to afford closing all the stores due for shuttering this year. Recent efforts at a rebrand (embodied in this cheeky and fun Super Bowl ad) have proven to be too little too late. Company shares plunged to a paltry $0.58 at the end of trading yesterday. The future doesn't simply look grim -- it looks nonexistent.
RadioShack is hardly alone in its struggles. In May, Forbes reported massive store closures for a slew of former brick-and-mortar behemoths like Staples, Best Buy, and Sears. We can point fingers at internet retailers like Amazon for their role in the deaths of brands like Borders or Circuit City, but doing so fails to acknowledge the fact that those companies made numerous fatal mistakes that left them lying in the dust.
What's the Big Idea?
Failure to adapt is the common chord among the many post-mortems of companies such as Borders, Circuit City, and now RadioShack. Borders ignored the telling omens of digital's rise and instead doubled-down on CDs and DVDs. The horribly mismanaged Circuit City completely whiffed on the transition to online sales. And now RadioShack, on death's doorstep, can watch its life flash before its eyes and wonder why it hadn't made efforts to rebrand and reinvent itself earlier.
The challenge for retail moving forward will be finding ways to re-commodify the in-store experience. You may be familiar with the expression "showrooming," which describes the process by which customers visit a brick-and-mortar retailer to try out products before going home and ordering them online. Despite missing out on sales, a store like Best Buy still provides value to consumers as a showroom for various electronic brands. Embracing this new role could potentially infuse new life into Best Buy's at-risk business model.
RadioShack, on the other hand, is unlikely to get another chance to rethink its purpose. Their stores are stuck in an era when consumers weren't tech savvy enough. Their business model still depends too highly on selling low-margin items. They've failed to adapt and find new ways to create value from their existing resources.
And because of that, you won't be seeing any RadioShack ads during next year's Super Bowl.
Keep reading about RadioShack's dismal state of affairs at CNN
Photo credit: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
- Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.