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The Final Chapter: How Independent Booksellers Can Adapt to a Changing Industry

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The purpose of this thesis is to examine the current state of the brick-and-mortar bookselling industry, with particular focus on independent bookstores and their strengths and weaknesses, and synthesizing recommendations for these bookstores to reinvent themselves in a rapidly changing

The purpose of this thesis is to examine the current state of the brick-and-mortar bookselling industry, with particular focus on independent bookstores and their strengths and weaknesses, and synthesizing recommendations for these bookstores to reinvent themselves in a rapidly changing market. This examination is highly relevant given recent concerns that, with the rise of e-retailers like Amazon and the closure of bookstore chain Borders, brick-and-mortar bookstores may be superseded by new digital vendors. Independent bookstores are thought to be at a particular disadvantage to these retailers, given their limited size and resources, as well as the lack of capital or consumer base that a larger chain like Barnes and Noble can draw upon to invest in emerging technology. With these more limited financial opportunities, independent bookstores must find different ways to not only keep abreast of the technology that consumers are coming to expect from modern businesses, but attract customers.
To gain insight into the state of the industry and current position of independent bookstores, I will first examine the past fifty years of the brick-and-mortar bookstore, followed by a Porter’s Five Forces analysis of the industry threats and a SWOT analysis to compare the strengths and weaknesses of independent bookstores. Next, the patrons of independent bookstores will be discussed with a focus on the two largest consumer groups of Millennials and Baby Boomers, their characteristics, and the opportunities they provide to bookstores. After this there will be an exploration of the competitors to brick-and-mortar bookstores, focusing on Amazon and then touching on some of the other rivals to bookstores’ consumer base. The next section will be an in-depth analysis of a variety of bookstores across the United States, with attention to their successful practices, goals, concerns, and failures. First, there will be a comparison of industry success and failure through case studies of Borders and Powell’s bookstores. Next, there will be a comparison of five beloved independent bookstores across the country to share their varied competitive advantages that are the secret to their success. Finally, there are primary source interviews with the employees of three major Phoenix bookstores, which provide insight into the goals, current projects, attitudes, and inner strengths of these businesses. Finally, the thesis will conclude with a section offering solutions and suggestions for independent bookstores to pursue based on the primary and secondary research discussed above. These recommendations are focused on five key areas:
• Community
• Consumers
• Store Design
• Technology
• Diversification
Ultimately, the information provided by this research and these interviews indicates that while vital business changes are being pursued by independent and chain bookstores across the United States, the independent bookstore shows no signs of disappearing in favor of online vendors or e-readers.

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Date Created
2017-05

Starting a Startup

Description

Entrepreneurship is an incredibly difficult endeavor. Along with the potentially high risk-to-return-ratio, starting an entrepreneurial venture, in nearly any capacity, necessitates a significant summation of work, time, creativity, and adaptability.1 In my opinion, many of the token hyper-productive individuals that

Entrepreneurship is an incredibly difficult endeavor. Along with the potentially high risk-to-return-ratio, starting an entrepreneurial venture, in nearly any capacity, necessitates a significant summation of work, time, creativity, and adaptability.1 In my opinion, many of the token hyper-productive individuals that have produced enormous amounts of value for the world were entrepreneurs who started their own companies and organizations. However, for every successful founder, there are thousands of failed entrepreneurs. In 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that roughly 50% of businesses fail in the first four years.2 Founders, over time, must become professionals in their respective industries in order to succeed. With limited financial capital to hire employees, founders must learn skills in a variety of focus areas which could include finance, strategy, technology, management, marketing, sales, and many more, until they can generate enough capital to hire employees to fulfill these roles. Although the learnings and experiences from starting a company can more effectively be understood through experiencing it first-hand, in this document, I intend to start a startup from scratch, learn a multitude of skills involved with starting a startup and describe my experience. My hope is that potential founders can read this document and get a better understanding of what it’s like to start a startup. This thesis will be less focused on quantitative data capturing and more focused on my first-hand experience.

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Date Created
2020-05

Analysis of Entrepreneurship Trends at South by Southwest 2019

Description

This project was performed to uncover new trends and insights in the fields of entrepreneurship and emerging technology for 2019 and then compare these trends to the landscape at Arizona State University. The 2019 South by Southwest Interactive Conference and

This project was performed to uncover new trends and insights in the fields of entrepreneurship and emerging technology for 2019 and then compare these trends to the landscape at Arizona State University. The 2019 South by Southwest Interactive Conference and Trade Shows were attended by the researchers and the experience was captured on video. In addition, the information and trends uncovered at this conference were used to direct secondary research that ultimately culminated into a final presentation that highlights new and positive courses of action for Arizona State’s entrepreneurship and innovation programs that will continue their growth on a national and international basis. This paper serves as scholarly support and evidence of the researcher’s suggestions in the final presentation.

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Date Created
2019-05

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SenTech (Technology Literacy)

Description

The number of seniors who use technology continues to grow every day. Since technology has rapidly evolved in recent years, seniors often lack the skills to comfortably use it. This fact was made especially clear when one of the grou

The number of seniors who use technology continues to grow every day. Since technology has rapidly evolved in recent years, seniors often lack the skills to comfortably use it. This fact was made especially clear when one of the group members heard the story of a neighbor helping seniors in the community learn to better operate and understand technology. That story prompted the creation of a business designed to assist seniors in using technology. In this paper we will discuss our business model for a start up company named SenTech (Senior Tech Solutions) that was created by three college students. SenTech will provide various services to assist seniors with their technological needs within the scope of Apple products. We will discuss the problem, barriers, competitive advantages, marketing strategy, solution, financials, and future of SenTech.
The challenges our team faced were mainly due to COVID-19 and the social distancing guidelines provided by the CDC. Because of this, we were not able to conduct as many interviews as we planned. We also hoped to prepare a training course for seniors, but our plans were disrupted, so we shifted to a more research-based study.

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Created

Date Created
2020-05

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Founders Lab: Altion Security

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The Founders Lab Thesis tasked each team with taking an idea and trying to form a business out of it. In the process, the thesis director would be there to guide each team and provide expertise where needed. The venture

The Founders Lab Thesis tasked each team with taking an idea and trying to form a business out of it. In the process, the thesis director would be there to guide each team and provide expertise where needed. The venture that was assigned originally to our team was a posture correcting device, however after numerous attempts to correspond reliably with the developers of this technology, it was decided that the team should move on to a new idea. Therefore, our team took on a venture named Altion Security: an initiative with the main goal being the safekeeping of customers interests. The product that we were tasked with is a bike alarm that simply rings out when it detects someone tampering with it. This product is a solution to the problem of bike thefts. 2 million bikes are stolen each year in North America, which translates roughly to a theft every 30 seconds (Project 529).
There are quite a few readily available products that one can buy if one looks past some of their flaws. A lot of these alarms either require a user to carry an extra communication device, or they are too big or expensive. The proposed solution merges all desirable features of a bike alarm into one module. In light of this, surveys were conducted to ascertain what these qualities would need to be. The top considerations for purchasing this alarm were how costly it would be, the false detection rate, and also the battery life. Additionally, the features that were most requested was the inclusion of a GPS and a camera. In order to incorporate these features, a three year plan was formulated which would culminate into a bike network in which each bike could communicate with other bikes. This would allow for an IOT network to be established, thus far exceeding expectations. The price point for this alarm is USD $10.00-15.00 and can come in a variety of colors. Additionally, this concept can be applied to many different scenarios, from protecting boats/jet skis and other aquatic vehicles, to houses as well. Furthermore, one could miniaturize this technology to be used in jewelry or accessories.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2020-05

Aeropak: Endurance, Elevated.

Description

Human beings have long sought to conquer the unconquerable and to push the boundaries of human endurance. There are few such endeavors more challenging than venturing into the coldest and harshest environments on the planet. The challenges these adventurers face

Human beings have long sought to conquer the unconquerable and to push the boundaries of human endurance. There are few such endeavors more challenging than venturing into the coldest and harshest environments on the planet. The challenges these adventurers face are nearly countless, but one that is often underestimated is the massive risk of dehydration in high mountains and the lack of sufficient technology to meet this important need. Astronauts and mountaineers of NASA's Johnson Space Center have created a technology that solves this problem: a freeze-resistant hydration system that helps stop water from freezing at sub-zero temperatures by using cutting-edge technology and materials science to insulate and heat enough water to prevent dehydration over the course of the day, so that adventurers no longer need to worry about their equipment stopping them. This patented technology is the basis of the founding of Aeropak, an advanced outdoor hydration brand developed by three ASU students (Kendall Robinson, Derek Stein, and Thomas Goers) in collaboration with W.P. Carey’s Founder’s Lab. The primary goal was to develop traction among winter sport enthusiasts to create a robust customer base and evaluate the potential for partnership with hydration solution companies as well as direct sales through online and brick-and-mortar retail avenues. To this end, the Aeropak team performed market research to determine the usefulness and need for the product through a survey sent out to a number of outdoor sporting clubs on Arizona State University’s campus. After determining an interest in a potential product, the team developed a marketing strategy and business model which was executed through Instagram as well as a standalone website, with the goal of garnering interest and traction for a future product. Future goals of the project will be to bring a product to market and expand Aeropak’s reach into a variety of winter sport subcommunities, as well as evaluate the potential for further expansion into large-scale retailers and collaboration with established companies.

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Created

Date Created
2021-05

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Trusted Trade-in: Building a Startup from Scratch

Description

Smartphones have become an integral component of lifestyles worldwide, acting as mobile computers capable of life organization. They remain the most quickly cycled consumer electronic, owned for no more than 3 years on average. Individuals continue to upgrade their smartphones

Smartphones have become an integral component of lifestyles worldwide, acting as mobile computers capable of life organization. They remain the most quickly cycled consumer electronic, owned for no more than 3 years on average. Individuals continue to upgrade their smartphones quickly, stemming from the desire for more power and better features. In 2016, there were 1.15 billion smartphone upgrades, resulting in a growing used smartphone market valued at \$18 billion. Individuals continue to invest time and effort to sell their smartphone, receiving payment of less than market value. In regards to value-minded users with solidified schedules, I created Trusted Trade-in. This startup provides the bustling middle class with the ability to upgrade their smartphone in an efficient and valuable manner. Compared to current solutions, Trusted Trade-in offers an all-in-one upgrade system. The creation of this startup involved the complete creation of a business model in addition to the coding of a responsive website. An online-based business, customers will be able to visit the Trusted Trade-in website and be given the options to trade-in or trade-up. Competing against Craigslist, eBay and Verizon, Trusted Trade-in features a combined smartphone resale and upgrade process. If the decision is made to trade-in, the customer will be quoted for their current smartphone according to specific physical criteria. The trade-up option will request the same information from the customer and allow them to select a new model for their upgrade. This exciting and innovative marketplace will completely transform the way people upgrade their smartphones through financial and time-based savings.

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Created

Date Created
2017-05