Today, Colombian herb joins the race and college students get taken by the lucrative industry of copy/paste, but first…
In Europe, grocery stores are hosting ‘happy hours’ to fight food waste
Food waste is a rotten problem: About ⅓ of the food that’s meant for human mouths ends up in the global trash heap. That means 1.3B tons of food go to waste each year (that’s $680B worth), yet, still, 1 in 10 people across the world are undernourished.
But, as The New York Times reports, businesses across the globe are testing out new systems to improve the efficiency of food distribution — and they just might be weird enough to work.
Happy hour isn’t just for bars anymore
In Finland, a grocery chain called S-market is testing out what it calls “happy hours.” Every night at 9 pm, the chain reduces the prices of products that are about to spoil to 60% off at all of its 900 stores.
Other grocers across Europe have taken similar steps to reduce food waste: REMA 1000, the largest grocery chain in Denmark, has eliminated in-store bulk discounts to stop people from buying more than they need.
Now it’s America’s turn
In the US of A — where Costco’s bulk discounts inspire a civic religion whose disciples wear their Kirkland Signature badges of honor with fervent pride — cutting down on food-related excess has proven even more difficult.
A nonprofit investigation last year gave 9 out of 10 American supermarkets a grade of C or lower on food waste management.
US grocery chains have been less proactive than their European peers when it comes to managing food waste. But, on the other side of the grocery aisle, a number of startups have launched to tackle food waste from other angles…
And venture capitalists are eager to fund these waste warriors
In just the first 10 months of last year, VCs invested $125m in food waste-fighting startups. Here are some with fresh funding:
- Apeel Sciences has raised $110m to develop plant-based artificial peels that extend the shelf lives of vegetables
- Imperfect Produce has raised $47.1m to deliver “ugly” produce directly from farmers to consumers
- Full Harvest has raised $11.5m to build a business-to-business market for surplus produce
- Spoiler Alert has raised $2.7m to create software that helps businesses manage unsold food inventory
For luxury private jet tour providers, business is taking off
As if the chasm between economy and business class didn’t induce enough in-flight envy, ultra-luxury private jet tours offer deep-pocketed travelers a new means of traveling the world in comfort and style.
Talk about getting some sick air
These excursions don’t come cheap. Some start at $32.5k per person, others go as high as $160k. And no, your frequent flyer miles are no good here.
These opulent expeditions are more than connector flights. They’re limited to only 15 to 50 people, depending on the carrier. Guests — when you’re paying this much, you’re no longer a mere passenger — board sweet rides like the Boeing 757 or Airbus 318.
A captain’s chair for everyone
Leather seats in 2×2 formations ensure nobody gets stuck in the awkward middle spot. Luggage managers wrangle guests’ belongings. Meals are prepared by executive chefs.
And these flights don’t go from point A to point B. Some itineraries last a couple of weeks and include stops in as many as 9 cities. They’re like cruises but in the sky.
It’s the journey AND the destination
One of the big selling points for this type of travel is access to places fewer people have traveled: Think Machu Picchu, Easter Island, Samoa, Petra, Marrakesh — even Antarctica.
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Lazy American college students have turned ‘essay mills’ into thriving global businesses
In the wake of the Varsity Blues scandal, it shouldn’t come as a terrible surprise that some American college students are, um… less-than-honest.
According to a recent report from The New York Times, so many American college students rely on other people to write their essays that they’ve spawned a global industry of “essay mills.”
So, what’s an essay mill?
Essay mills are websites that allow unscrupulous students to pay other people to write their papers.
It works like this: A hungover American college student logs on to a website like EssayShark.com, describes the type, length, and deadline of the paper they need written, and pays the company to get the paper done.
Then, the website farms out the assignment to a global network of writers — mostly people in Kenya, India, and Ukraine (Kenyan writers can earn $2k per month — more than the country’s average annual income).
One service, Academized, charges $15 per page for essays due in 2 weeks — but spikes its rate sharply to $42 per page for essays that are due in 3 hours (even cheaters pay for procrastination, apparently).
But… is this allowed?
Contract cheating is illegal in 17 US states, but no federal law makes it illegal to buy an essay — and state laws designed to prevent cheating are rarely enforced.
Services like Turnitin.com offer software to help schools detect plagiarism. But, because essays that come from these essay mills are usually original, they are still nearly impossible to detect.
So, platforms that offer essay-writers-for-hire — EssayShark, Academized, Ace-MyHomework — continue to brazenly offer what they call “academic assistance.”
|Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater|
Colombia is becoming a global player in the medical marijuana market
In the ’60s and ’70s, Colombia smuggled tons of gange into the US. But, by the ’80s, Colombian marijuana traffickers had all but switched to cocaine.
Soon after, the country became a hotbed of the war on drugs, which has led to mass corruption, homicide, and the displacement of an estimated 4m civilians over nearly 4 decades.
But, like many other countries, Colombia has loosened its leash on herb over the years, and now it’s poised to become a major player in the medical marijuana fold.
Contributors of note
When Colombia legalized medicinal pot back in 2016, a group of 29 businesses formed the Colombian Cannabis Industry Association. Since its formation, the group’s member companies have invested more than $600m in building medical marijuana facilities — like the Colombian manufacturing giant, Clever Leaves.
In February the firm became the first Colombian cannabis company authorized to export weed into Canada, and, last week, it became the first Colombian company certified by a leading regulatory agency to produce medical cannabis at the pharmaceutical level.
That said, it’s still a crapshoot
As NPR notes, it isn’t a guarantee that the flowers of the Colombian medical marijuana industry will ever fully bloom — mainly due to a government bureaucracy that often forces startups to wait months or years to secure the proper permits and licenses.
But, with storied infrastructure, an optimal growing climate, and cheap land prices, the Colombian medical Mary-J market has all the shakings to become a new drug powerhouse.
Only this time, it’s one that might just help people.
|The need for weed|
If you scored 98% on your Econ final, you’d be poppin’ bubbly
But when SharpSpring renews 98% of their monthly clients, it’s just another day at the office.
With 10k+ businesses and 2k+ digital agencies trusting their smart marketing automation platform, SharpSpring must be doing something right.
So, what makes their tech so great?
Maybe it’s the fact that they give you everything you want — tons of features and free support — and nothing that you don’t — goodbye, outrageously priced software.
Or it could be that no other marketing automation platform is this damn easy to use. It’s probably a bit of both.
You’ve got enough on your plate, so leave the nuts and bolts to them
Here’s the nutshell pitch: SharpSpring makes it easy for agencies to manage clients and grow revenue.
They’re focused on making marketing easy for you, whether that means giving your agency better client management tools or just making sense of your client’s fragmented funnel. Hell, even the free demos are painless.
Give their demo a shot today and see what all the fuss is about.
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