Sunday Focus: Entrepreneurship

From small start, Austin-based Yeti grows into industry powerhouse
Rodolfo Gonzalez

Yeti of Austin grows into industry powerhouse

Eight years ago, brothers Roy Seiders and Ryan Seiders tried to convince McBride’s outdoor specialty store to become the first retailer to carry their rugged, hard-case Yeti coolers.

It wasn’t an easy sell.

“I was reluctant at first because of the price of them,” said Jim McBride, who runs the fishing department at the store in Central Austin. “Through persistence, they got me to put a couple in to try, and they sold within just a couple days. We reordered a few more and they were gone within the week. Turns out it’s one of the better items that we stock.”

Since landing that first account, Yeti has built a fervent fan base among sporting enthusiasts like hunters and fishermen, who have embraced the heavily insulated, nearly indestructible coolers as part of the outdoor experience.

Scott Burns: Personal Finance

A lesson in giving, and getting through the day

Charlie Mahoney was not a handsome man. At 60, he was short, bald, stooped and grizzled. The stoop came from back injuries as a jockey. A U-shaped scar on his scalp was further evidence of that career. His appearance wasn’t improved by another career as a flyweight boxer. His ears wiggled from smashed cartilage. The crushed bridge of his nose made his nostrils unnaturally wide.


Dan Zehr: Econ Austin

Zehr: A day spent in others’ economic shoes
Dan Zehr

A day spent walking in the economic shoes of others

The exercise began, fittingly enough, with the discovery of a lost credit card.

We’d barely walked three blocks before one of our team members looked down at the sidewalk at East Sixth and San Jacinto and spotted the blue Chase card.

“We should send her a Netspend card,” said Chuck Harris, who just happens to head that company and can appreciate a good ironic marketing opportunity when he sees one.



As robots grow smarter, workers struggle to keep up
JASON HENRY / New York Times

As robots grow smarter, workers struggle to keep up

A machine that administers sedatives recently began treating patients at a Seattle hospital. At a Silicon Valley hotel, a bellhop robot delivers items to people’s rooms.

Although fears that technology will displace jobs are at least as old as the Luddites, there are signs that this time might really be different. The technological breakthroughs of recent years — allowing machines to mimic the human mind — are enabling machines to do knowledge jobs and service jobs, in addition to factory and clerical work.

Data Security

Identity theft victims face months of hassle

Identity theft victims face months of hassle

As soon as Mark Kim found out his personal information was compromised in a data breach at Target last year, the 36-year-old tech worker signed up for the retailer's free credit monitoring offer so he would be notified if someone used his identity to commit fraud.

Someone did. The first monitoring report showed crooks opened accounts in his name at Macy's and Kohl's department stores, where they racked up more than $7,000 in charges.

Tech Review

Amazon Fire TV Stick doesn’t match Chromecast, Apple TV or Roku

Amazon is determined to be a player in the market for digital media devices, gadgets that allow users to stream movies, television shows and music from the Internet to their televisions and living room entertainment centers.

First, the e-commerce giant launched the Fire TV, its answer to Apple TV, long the most popular streaming media device.

Big Data

For Big Data, shepherding comes first

Big data is increasingly moving into the mainstream, as companies in every industry begin to combine an abundance of digital data with smart software to analyze it. It is a potential gold mine for software-makers, with analysts predicting torrid growth for the market overall.

But building big data businesses is proving to be anything but a get-rich-quick game, and requires both agility and patience.

Digital Media

Watching Web videos days early — for a price

The next big question for Web video may be this: Will people pay $3 a month for an early peek at the videos they are accustomed to watching free on YouTube and Vevo?

That is the pitch behind Vessel, a new company that is luring celebrities, record companies and consumer brands with the promise that its strategy of “windowing” short videos — restricting access for a period of time — will attract the most devoted viewers and lead to higher royalty payments.

Fast-Food Restaurants

McDonald’s betting on custom burgers

Place your order on a self-serve kiosk. Grab a seat at a sleek table or high counter. Take in the modern decor, sip your drink or check your phone using complimentary Wi-Fi. Soon, a server will arrive with a wire-rimmed basket. Nestled inside is the custom sandwich you ordered just minutes ago.

No, this isn’t the scene at one of the latest upscale burger joints.


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