One thing that struck me at last week's Geneva auto show was the heavy emphasis that the European car market is placing on emissions rather than on fuel economy. In marked contrast to automakers in the United States, which now tend to extol their models' gas mileage at every opportunity, car makers doing business in Europe (even those from Japan and the U.S.) go to great lengths to provide figures on the carbon emissions that their models expel--given in grams per kilometer, or g/km. A good example of this was the launch of the new Ford Fiesta … Read more
AUSTIN, Texas--Why invent the wheel by yourself if you can turn instead to a group of peers and solve it together?
That was the premise of a gathering here of executives from most of the leading companies in what might be called the "people-powered" industry.
These are companies like CafePress, Moo, Etsy, and 8020 Publishing whose business is manufacturing physical products designed by customers. CafePress, for example, makes T-shirts, coffee mugs, hats, and many other products emblazoned with logos and designs uploaded by users. Moo makes business and greeting cards adorned with users' own photos and images, and 8020 publishes photo and travel magazines full of readers' work.
But each of these outfits has until now had to solve a set of problems unique to this nascent industry--legal issues, community management processes, and even questions of nomenclature.
So as many of the people behind these companies prepared to go to Austin for this year's South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) festival, Moo CEO Richard Moross decided that maybe this would be a good time and place to get everyone together and discuss whether a cooperative investigation and search for solutions to common problems would be a good thing for everyone involved.
After all, there's strength in numbers, right?
As we told you last September, BMW has been kicking around the idea of a fourth brand (in addition to MINI, Rolls Royce, and BMW) for a while. This week it emerges that this new addition to the Bimmer family lineup may be a dedicated "green" line of vehicles focused on high fuel economy and lower emissions. If so, the strategy would certainly make sense as it will enable BMW to meet tough environmental requirements without sacrificing too much of its performance-related DNA. BMW is one of a number of premium European brands likely to suffer most at … Read more
Internet commerce is becoming the new pastime for many in my generation. Generation Yers like to buy interesting T-shirts online, and there's no shortage of sites out there that are putting out an absurd amount of user-generated designs. Here's a list of more than 20 quality sites that put cotton, and inspiration, on your back.Readymade: These services sell shirts that are designed by users and professionals. Threadless is one of the most popular shirtmakers out there. It started out with user votes to pick out which shirts would go on sale, and have since moved on to independent designers. When shirts sell out, they're typically not for sale again unless the demand becomes great. They're also set to open a retail store in Chicago next month. Glarkware, a small Canadian shirt company, is based out of Toronto, Ontario, and has a fairly eccentric line of humor-related shirts. They've also got a line of T-shirts on the way for toddlers. Shirt.Woot. From the same bunch that does good ol' Woot.com and Wine.Woot.com, is Shirt.Woot.com--a one-shirt-per-day service that rolls out a new design every night at midnight Central time. Every shirt is always $10 with free shipping, along with the option to get it delivered in two days for another five bucks. While a good deal of the shirts are designed by professionals, the service also runs a weekly "derby" with user-generated designs. The most popular design goes on sale, and the designer gets a cut of the profits. Bountee is a hybrid service that offers both professionally designed T-shirts and a build-it-yourself solution. Bountee features a variety of "Web 2.0" features like tagging, user ratings, and commenting. It's also got a really slick, easy-to-use design. Split The Atom is a U.K.-based T-shirt company that's pretty much exactly like Threadless, but with a smaller selection. It also takes user designs in return for a one-time cash prize. Design by Humans has a very small collection of shirts, but offers some pretty decent prize money for winning designers with a daily, weekly, and monthly design contest. Each designer also gets their own profile page for listing any background information and to showcase some of their other works. BustedTees and Defunker are two very different Net T-shirt services from the same company. Bustedtees is more about humor, while Defunker offers more designer solutions akin to Threadless. Both sites are really slick, but between the two, Defunker feels a bit snappier. There's also a pretty large price gap, with most Bustedtees topping out at around $16, and Defunker averaging in the high-$20s and mid-$30s. T-ShirtHell. There's a reason this site has a warning page and a hellish name. These shirts are the kind that will get you stares in public, and usually not for a good reason. Definitely not for the faint of heart, or workplace. The Cotton Factory doesn't actually make cotton, but they have a very solid selection of designer, and humor T-shirts. There's even a section of T-shirts less than 10 bucks. There's some real gems in this place, especially if you like "ninja" apparel.