Things To Remember When Flying Drones in Winter

Winter can be quite the magical time of the year. Barren looking expanses hugged by pristine white snow can make for some pretty amazing photos. It’s pretty lucky then that with technology being what it is today, we no longer have to trek out for hours to get some amazing shots. Even better is the fact that technology has also helped us gain command of more angles that were previously inaccessible unless you were on a plane.

Of course, we’re talking about drones–otherwise known as UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle). Thanks to drones, we’re able to just pick a spot, stand still and send the drone out to do the work and catch some pretty impressive shots. The trouble is, drones are usually made for fair weather. By fair, we’re talking about bright sunny days or pleasant spring days. However, this doesn’t mean that you should keep your drone packed away for the winter and miss out on some of the more spectacular photos of the season.

When flying a drone during winter, it’s important to keep these little tips in mind:

1.) warm up your drone

Before launching your drone out, make sure to take the time to let it idle and warm up. Let it hover a few inches off the ground for over five minutes or so.

2.) Keep an eye on the battery

Cold temperatures equal shorter battery life spans. A lot of quadcopters make use of lithium-polymer batteries. When it gets cold, the chemical reactions in the batter slow down and effectively lower the battery capacity. So the usual 20-30 minute flight capability is cut down to 10-15 minutes.

The best way to maximize your drone’s photo gathering is by plotting out your route. Pick a location that you’re familiar with and have a clear idea of where you want to send your drone. As tempting as it is, don’t send it out as far as it can usually go as it may not have its usual capacity for prolonged flight.

A good tip is to prepare spare batteries in case you want to send your drone out again.

3.) be aware of the forecast

Before you do go out and unleash your drone, make sure that you check out what the forecast is going to be for the day. There’s little sense in going out on a day that has pretty poor visibility. Not only will it hamper your drone from getting good shots–there’ll be a pretty high risk for moisture build-up which can end up damaging your property.

In the winter the drone’s sensors may not be as efficient so try to keep away from truly low temperatures.

4.) avoid flying Your Drone Too high

Be vigilant about where you send your drone. Due to the temperature and air pressure that winter is known for, flying your drone to higher altitudes will take more out of it. Also, if you happen to fly it into a cloud, not only does it disappear from your line of vision but clouds could carry ice which can mess up your drone’s system and cause a crash.

5.) make sure you’re comfortable

Even if a drone is high-tech, you’re still the one behind the wheel, so to speak. So you need to be well taken care of. Make sure that you’re bundled up with several layers. More importantly, make sure that you protect your hands. Icy hands don’t register on screens and may end up costing your drone precious seconds of maneuverability.

Beyond these tips, you and your investment will be fine. Go out there and enjoy your stellar winter shots!

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What Companies Can Learn From Elon Musk

Social media platforms can be quite tricky, particularly, if you’re the head of a company. One wrong status or tweet and the internet’s wrath will be all over you. There is no denying, however, the benefits to being connected–so to speak–to your client base.

A good example of reaping the benefits is the Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Last month, a Tesla owner by the name of Loic Le Meur reached out to the CEO through Twitter about how fellow consumers were hogging spots at the local charging station and Musk took the feedback as a matter of urgency.

Loic Le Meur said “the San Mateo supercharger is always full with idiots who leave their Tesla for hours even if already charged.” Within minutes, the CEO responded: “You’re right, this is becoming an issue. Supercharger sport are meant for charging, not parking. Will take action.”

In just six days from the exchange, Musk went from idea to execution. Tesla announced a new policy on its official website:

We designed the Supercharger network to enable a seamless, enjoyable road trip experience. Therefore, we understand that is can be frustrating to arrive at a station only to discover fully charged Tesla cars occupying all the spots. To create a better experience for all owners, we’re introducing a flee-wide idle fee that aims to increase Supercharger availability.

The post was made to remind Tesla owners that the company’s app will alert them once their vehicle’s charge is nearing completion. The idle fee will be at $0.40 for each additional minute wherein the car is still connected to the Supercharger. However, in the interest of fairness, if the car is moved within five minutes after completion, the fee is waived.

Not only did Elon Musk manage to address an already persisting issue concerning overstaying vehicles at Superchargers, he also showcased a speedily response to a customer complaint.

Something that all consumers may have experience in is dissatisfaction when it comes to the product or the service they’re patronizing. It can be quite frustrating trying to go through the proper channels of communication and not getting any results. So this swift action from Elon Musk has made him the hero of every consumer out there. Asking for and getting actual customer service has always seemed to be an unattainable recourse and something that doesn’t happen until you’re screaming yourself hoarse.

Not only did he show the current patrons of Tesla that it takes care of its customers, he strengthened the brand by showing potential buyers that Tesla and its CEO take feedback very seriously and are willing to enact upon issues that concern their customers. Across the board, the fast response have been quite impressive and something that businesses can try to apply in their own dealings with their customers.

With such a response from their CEO, it’s little wonder that Tesla is now the #1 brand ranked by customer satisfaction. While it’s too early to tell if the measures put in place will actually help free up space in the Supercharger networks, its a pretty good foot forward. Elon Musk takes complete advantage of social media to connect with his clients and even show the public his humor and personality. Other businesses may not realize it but what Elon Musk is doing is building his authenticity as a leader and as a service provider.

Social media is a great tool for marketing but the way Elon Musk uses it shows its even more valuable as a learning tool. Feedback regardless if its from your customers, colleagues or critics is a resource that you can tap into for perspective and motivation.

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Total Protection’s Sunblock Product

Total Protection’s Sunblock Product

The Opportunity:

            Have you ever not been able to put sunscreen on a part of your body because you couldn’t reach?  Have you ever missed a spot and got sunburn?  A sizeable portion of the United States population may be having the same problem.  The elderly and single, middle-aged adults are the target market for the Total Protection.  The elderly may have lost the flexibility required to apply sunscreen to every bodily area that needs application.  Even if they have the flexibility, they may miss a spot.  This is similar to single, middle-aged adult population.  If one can not completely cover his body with sunscreen, and there is no one around to help, what do you do?  Use the Total Protection.

Total Protection:

            Total Protection is a revolutionary new device that assists you in applying sunscreen to those hard to reach places.  To use the device, pour your sunscreen product into the rubber bottle at the end of the metal frame.  Simply squeeze the trigger on the handle, and sunscreen is dispersed throughout the sponge.  Then, rub the sponge over any bodily areas that you can’t reach.  To clean the device, remove the sponge, wash the sunscreen out of it, and then reattach it.  You’re done! Enjoy your day in the sun.

Why is the Total Protection worth pursuing?

The Total Protection is worth pursuing for a few reasons.  First, the Total Protection is a product unlike any other on the market today.  It helps those people who can’t completely cover their bodies in sunscreen because of inflexibility.

Second, the target market is the elderly and single, middle-aged adults.  The population of elderly has been increasing steadily over the past few years, and is expected to increase at a greater rate in the coming years as the first wave of the Baby Boomer generation hits age 65.  The single, middle-age adult population is another very large group within the United States.  These people don’t have a significant other to put their sunscreen on for them if they cannot reach themselves, so they need our help.

Lastly, there is a great profit opportunity for the Total Protection, not only because of the large target market, but also because of the lack of competition.  Our product is a device used to apply sunscreen.  Other than the Total Protection, there are no other devices in existence that apply sunscreen.  This could mean significant profits for our company if we play our cards right.

Key Features of the Marketing Plan:

The target market of the elderly and single, middle-aged adults is very large.   There are no direct competitors because our product is original.  Our product has no brand recognition, so we will have to increase its exposure for more brand recognition.  The price of the each product will be $20 minus a percentage commission paid to West Albany Scrap Metal and minus other expenses.  We will reach our audience using television advertisements.  Major retailers like Walmart, Kmart, and Sams Club will carry our product.  The financial estimates result in an $8.99 profit on the sale of each product.

Implementation Issues:

The implementation issues include a lack of brand recognition because we are a new company that no one has ever heard of before, and a lack of financial resources because we are a new, start-up company.

 

Opportunity Description

The Opportunity:

Trips to the beach, picnics in the sun and enjoyment of the outdoors are but a few of America’s favorite pastimes and recreational activities in the sun. However, hobbies that expose our bodies to the sun can be dangerous to our health if we don’t protect ourselves accordingly. Sunscreen and sun-block are necessary ingredients for a day in the sun, and it’s easy to apply when there are friends and family to help.  What about those people who enjoy these times alone? What about the population who doesn’t have a significant other to help with applying sun-care products? What about the people who don’t necessarily have the ability to apply sunscreen or sun-block to those hard-to-reach places?  These people need an answer to their problem, and the answer is Total Protection.

The New Product:

Total Protection is an easy to use product that makes applying sunscreen or sun-block a hassle-free experience. A simple product, Total Protection has a long metal rod with a sponge at the end. Inside the sponge is a rubber tube that contains the sun-care product of choice; it dispenses through the sponge when activated by the customer. The customer does this by lightly squeezing the lever that is located on the handle. Now that the sunscreen or sun-block has been filtered through the sponge, the consumer can easily move the tool wherever they need the sun-care product to be applied!  Now, without the assistance of anyone, a customer can independently apply sun-care products to any hard to reach places.  Total Protection is perfect for single people who don’t have the help of significant others or for elderly people who lack the flexibility needed to apply their sunscreen or sun-block themselves.  Total Protection is the perfect answer to this new market opportunity. People have been needing a product like Total Protection for a long time and now it can finally be available, and without a doubt, a success.

Opportunity Evaluation

Customer Analysis:    

The target market for Total Protection will be single, middle-aged adults and the elderly.  We chose this market segment because it has a large population that will only increase in the coming years.   .  According to the census, the elderly population will double from 36 million to 72 million people by 2030.  The census also showed that the population of middle-aged people in the United States was around 30%; of that 30%, single, middle-aged people represented nearly 50% of the population.  Based on the numbers, this target market is concise, and yet covers a very large market segment.

Did you know that more than 20 people a day die from skin cancer?  The Skin Cancer Foundation found that over 1 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year (1).  The process of applying sunscreen can not only prevent cancer, but prevent burns as well.  Our target market of single, middle-aged people and elderly people need to be able to completely cover themselves with a sun-care product.  Most people cannot reach all of the areas on their bodies that require sunscreen application.  Analysis of the current market shows that there are numerous brands and types of sunscreen, but there has been no innovation in the process of applying either product.  It should be relatively easy to persuade customers to use our product because there is nothing else like it on the market.  Brand recognition is the biggest issue because people will not have heard of our company.  The Total Protection makes it easy to apply sunscreen to even the most hard-to-reach areas, like the lower and middle back.

The Sunscreen Market:          

Sunscreen can be defined as a lotion or spray that helps to protect the skin from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.  Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation can cause cancer.  Currently, the sunscreen market has an extensive variety of competitors, including popular brands like Coppertone, Banana Boat and Neutrogena.  The sun-care business has become increasingly popular in the past 20 years, as more studies have discovered the negative effects of the sun on the human body.  In the year 2000, sunscreen sales totaled $850 million (Packaged Facts 1).  Coppertone had the largest market share at 15%.

Competitor Analysis: 

There are no direct substitutes for sunscreen. However, possible indirect substitutes for Total Protection could include beach-wear or just clothing in general.  White-t-shirts for example, have an SPF of 15, meaning that it protects the body just as much as sunscreen.  In general, clothing is a major substitute for sunscreen.  Some people may choose to not even wear sunscreen.

The sun care market is very competitive because there are a vast amount of sunscreen companies, but the market is controlled by a select few.  Coppertone, Banana Boat, and Neutrogena hold the largest market shares, and will not be easy to compete with.  Fortunately, Total Protection applies the sunscreen product that the consumer chooses, but does not create it.  This will lessen the competitive effect of our indirect competitors.

Key Point of Differentiation:

Total Protection is a unique product because it is not itself a sunscreen; it is a mechanism that applies the product that the consumer chooses.  This factor makes our product stand alone in the industry and also presents an interesting opportunity.  Since we apply sunscreen, we could possibly collaborate with our indirect competitors.

Possible Collaboration with Indirect Competitors:

            Coppertone, Banana Boat, and Neutrogena are all very well-known sunscreen brands.  If our company could license with one or all of those companies, they could provide the sunscreen products and our company could provide the device to put the sunscreen on (the Total Protection).  The sunscreens could possibly be sold in packages with the Total Protection.  This would gain exposure to the Total Protection and our company, as well as increase the sales of the sunscreen companies.

           

Company Analysis

Product Strengths:     

Like any other product on the market today, Total Protection has its share of strengths and weaknesses that will affect its success. Fortunately, this product could not be easier to use. By the simple pull of a lever, sunscreen or sun-block can be easily applied by almost anyone. Not only is it easy to use, but it is realistic and easy to produce.  Its simple parts will prove inexpensive to our company, and the finished product will prove inexpensive to the consumer.  Another benefit is that there is nothing like the Total Protection on the market today.  Therefore, there are no competitors that will halt in our success!  Total Protection is a unique product that offers the one and only way to solve people’s sunscreen application problems.

 

Weaknesses:

However, Total Protection is not without weaknesses. Because we are a start-up company, we have limited funds available to us. Also because we are a new company, we have no brand recognition.  No one has heard of us before and therefore, will not respect our brand or have any loyalty to it.  One more obstacle for the company is that the product does not have any sun-care products included.  Because of this, the customer must go out and buy sunscreen or sun-block themselves and then manually insert it into the Total Protection.  This may shy some people away from buying the product.  The last weakness is that the Total Protection cannot be folded for easier transportation.

Ethical, Environmental, Legal and Political Considerations:           

We also must consider the legal side of marketing this product. There are no other products like the Total Protection on the market, so the worry of legal problems, such as copyright infringements is almost nonexistent.  However, our company should patent this product immediately to avoid any other companies copying the idea.  Because it is such a basic product, it would be very easy for another business to base a new product on our idea and use it to their advantage.

Collaborator Analysis

Upstream Supplier:

After researching numerous companies, we have chosen West Albany Scrap Metal as our production partner.  Licensing with West Albany Scrap Metal will allow us to keep the cost of supplies and production low because their company owns a production facility and has access to not only metal, but sponges and rubber as well.  West Albany Scrap Metal uses recycled materials in their production process.  Since our product uses only recyclable materials, it was relatively easy to persuade West Albany Scrap Metal into producing our product.  West Albany Scrap Metal has agreed to produce the Total Protection in their facilities and then distribute the product through their downstream channel members.  The estimated costs are as follows: the metal is $0.35, the rubber is $0.20, and the sponge is $.15.  The total cost to West Albany Scrap Metal is $0.70 for each product produced.  Their company will charge us $1.00 per item produced and then take a 15% commission on our total revenue for the year.

Downstream Channel Members:

West Albany Scrap Metal supplies the products they create for other licensed companies to many well-known retailers such as Walmart, Kmart and Sam’s Club.  Walmart, Kmart and Sam’s Club all have deals with West Albany Scrap Metal, allowing each of them to carry any products that West Albany Scrap Metal produces.  The distribution will not cost our company a cent because all of the retailers who work with West Albany Scrap Metal send vehicles to pick up the products.  Since West Albany Scrap Metal will be negotiating with the retailers instead of our company, it should be easy to convince the retailers to carry the Total Protection.

Context Analysis

Favorable Factors:

One important aspect that we believe will make the Total Protection successful is that it is environmentally friendly.  West Albany Scrap Metal uses only recycled products in its production process.  By adding the added benefit of being environmentally friendly into our advertising, we are more likely to attract environmentally conscious consumers, who will respect our efforts to minimize our affect on the environment.  This extra effort to be environmentally conscious puts our company one step ahead of our competitors.

Unfavorable Factors:

There are no unfavorable factors that affect the environment.  The Total Protection is made completely from recycled materials and therefore, can once again be recycled when it is no longer useful.

Conclusion

What makes this opportunity attractive?       

Why should this idea be pursued?  Why not!?   The market and its opportunity are wide open and should be utilized immediately!  This easy to use, attractive product has little holding it back from the road to success.

Why should this venture be successful?

Lack of competition, low price, and large, easy to reach target market are only some of the reasons that Total Protection would succeed in the market today.  Although the company will have to be persistent in its marketing efforts, once the word of the product has reached the public, its popularity will skyrocket.  We will need a strong marketing team in order to market our product.   Our strategic plan will have to be specially made to introduce our product to the market, in order for the process of brand recognition to begin.  Although it will prove a challenge to get this product on the map, the success will ultimately be worth the struggle.

 

 

 

Targeting Strategy

Targeting Strategy:

            The consumer market can be divided into six market segments.  These segments are as follows: elderly, single, middle-aged adults, middle-aged adults in a relationship, married middle-aged adults, teens, and children.  Our target segment is the elderly and the single, middle-aged adults.  These two segments are very attractive because they are both very large.  The elderly population has increased in the past couple of years.  The U.S. Census Bureau’s latest population projections show a significant increase in the elderly population starting in 2011, as the Baby Boomer generation begins to turn 65 (U.S. Bureau of the Census 6).  This amounts to about 12% of the total United States’ population.  The single, middle-aged adult population also represents a large portion of the population.

Positioning Strategy:

There are no direct competitors of Total Protection because the Total Protection is the first product of its kind.  The indirect competitors are all sun-care companies.  The main target of all sun-care companies is anyone who is in the sun for an extended period of time.  Although the target markets are usually everyone, many commercials and advertisements are geared more toward children by instilling the idea of protecting the kids.  The point of differentiation with Total Protection is that it is a device to apply sunscreen, but not a sunscreen itself.  The Total Protection applies sunscreen by simply rubbing the sponge on your skin.  Our positioning statement is: “To the elderly and single, middle-aged adults who needs help applying sunscreen, the Total Protection is a revolutionary new device that can be used to easily apply sunscreen.”

 

Product Strategy:

The following statements describe the Total Protection using the layers of the product concept.  The Total Protection core benefit is offering protection from the sun’s harmful rays.  The actual product accomplishes this because it is a device that can be used to apply the sunscreen that protects from the sun’s harmful rays.  The augmented product is the Total Protection which comes with a life-time warranty, replacing unintentionally damaged products for free.

The brand name of the product is Total Protection.  The brand image portrays a product that is useful to people who are in the sun.  The brand positioning is made up of the product’s attributes, benefit, and its related beliefs and values.  The attributes of the Total Protection are that it is easy to use, easy to clean, and has a sturdy, durable structure.  The benefit of the Total Protection is that it allows people to protect themselves from the sun, by assisting them in applying their sunscreen.  The beliefs and values related to the Total Protection are that it will help to keep your skin healthy and beautiful.

Pricing Strategy:   

West Albany Scrap Metal manufactures the metal, rubber, and sponges necessary for the Total Protection for a total cost of $.70.  They can make the metal for $.30, the rubber for $.20, and the sponge for $.15.  In order to produce our product, West Albany Scrap Metal has agreed to charge $1.00 to produce each product, and also take a 15% commission on the year’s total revenue.

Our company’s pricing objective is to set the price at a level that is reasonable, but can lead to significant profit.  Competitive pricing is not necessary because there are no direct competitors.

The positioning strategy of the Total Protection has been geared toward the elderly and the single, middle-aged adults because they represent our target market.  Because he Total Protection has been advertised on television, it will be sold in retail stores such as Kmart, Walmart, and Sams Club as an “As Seen on TV” product.

The perceived value of the Total Protection is exactly what the customer gets.  We advertise a product that helps people apply sunscreen, and that is exactly what it is.  There are no tricks.  What you see is what you get.

As stated before, there is no direct competition, so competitive pricing is unnecessary.  This allows our company to choose a price that we see fit for the Total Protection.  The price of the Total Protection will be $12.99.

Promotional Strategy:   

            The target market we intend to reach with the Total Protection is the elderly, and the single, middle-aged adults.  We developed a commercial with the message that the Total Protection is a quick, easy way to apply sunscreen to those hard to reach places on your body.  The Total Protection is a creative concept because no one has ever done it before.  As stated above, it is an innovative, new product that works both effectively and efficiently. The promotional tool used to market the Total Protection is the television, which is why we created a commercial.

Channel Strategy:

The upstream channel supplier that has agreed to license with our company is West Albany Scrap Metal. The Downstream channel retailers that have agreed to sell our product are Kmart, Walmart, and Sams Club, all of which already have agreements with West Albany Scrap Metal to sells its products.  We chose West Albany Scrap in part because of its ability to produce our product for a low price, but also because of its connections.  Since West Albany Scrap Metal has deals with Kmart, Walmart, and Sams Club already, our company does not need to search for channel alternatives.  Any problems that we encounter will be dealt with by our management in coordination with the management of West Albany Scrap Metal and its downstream retailers.

Financial Information:

Unit contribution = selling price – unit variable cost

Unit variable cost = cost of goods sold / # units sold.

Unit Contribution = $12.99 – ($1.95 x 10,000)/10,000

Unit Contribution = $11.04

The selling price of the Total Protection is $12.99.  The 15% commission results in a cost of goods sold of $1.95 per unit.  We anticipate a sale of 10,000 units during the first year.  Therefore, the resulting unit contribution is $11.04.

The fixed cost each year will be $19,500 because West Albany Scrap Metal will produce 10,000 products a year, with each product costing our company $1.95.

The total market size is 4,750,000 people.  The total population in New York State is 19 million people (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1).  The elderly represent 12% of the New York State population (2,228,000 people), and the single, middle-aged adults represent roughly 13% of the New York State population (2,470,000).

Break Even Point = Fixed Costs / Unit Contribution

Break Even Point = 19,500 / $11.04

Break Even Point =   1,767 units

Break Even Market Share = Break Even Point / Market Size

Break Even Market Share = 1,767 units / 4,750,000

Break Even Market Share = .000372 x 100

We need to capture less than 1% of the market in order to break even.  This appears to be very feasible and easy to attain.  Our expected revenue in the first year is $110,400.  This amount represents our unit contribution of $11.04 multiplied by the products we expect to sell, 10,000 units.  From $110,400, we must subtract the West Albany Scrap Metal’s 15% commission (total of $16,560) and the $.30 that they make when we are charged for the materials used in the production of each product (total of $3,000).  This results in a profit of $90,840 for our company.

Implementation Issues: 

In realizing our plan, there are a few critical issues that must be dealt with.  First, we have no brand recognition yet since we are a new company.  Second, because we have no brand recognition and we are a new company, we have no brand loyalty.  Lastly, we have limited funds because we are a start-up company.

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Top 5 Drones for 2016

Top 5 Drones for 2016

If you are looking for a drone, you need to have an idea of what to expect. We have compiled the top 5 drones for 2016 that excellent performance and offer value for money. We are sure that your needs will push you to pick not just any drone.  Your options are a toy drone, a camera drone, or a Racing Drone also known as an FPV drone. Therefore, we will highlight two of the best camera drones, two of the best racing drones, and the top toy drone.

The Top Camera Drones

  • Turbo Ace Matrix

The quadcopter is considered to be the daddy of professional drones. It has a 1-meter wingspan and folds down for easy carry. The drone is the top choice for professionals in aerial photography and filming. The drone’s deck is built with triple carbon fibre. The Turbo Ace Matrix is a monster in size compared to most other camera drones in the market, yet is has a flight time of around 25 minutes, which is what most other smaller drones manage. (est. price: $2,200)

  • DJI Inspire 1 PRO

The drone is made from carbon fibre and comes first set of Micro Four Thirds cameras. The cameras will produce unrivaled imaging quality making the Inspire 1 PRO from DJI is the ideal drone for aerial cinematography and photography. It can do around 25 minutes of flight time. The drone has one radio controller with the option of adding another for it to be operated by two people (one to pilot and another to operate the cameras). The DJI Inspire 1 PRO has a live HD video capture and wireless transmission. (est. price: $1,900)

The Top Race Drones

  • TBS Vendetta

Freestyle flying and FPV racing is what the TBS Vendetta is all about. The drone is the best choice if you are into pro drone flying and racing. The Vendetta can do nearly 100mph dives and 70mph dashes on a racing track. It comes ready-to-fly and is among the few racing drones that will not be a heartbreaker when they crash. No worries of soldering pieces together when the TBS Vendetta crushes because it has a modular and easily upgradeable design. You can upgrade the motor, battery, and blades to have a faster and fiercer drone. (est. price: $490)

  • Lumenier QAV250

This quadcopter is a good pick for those that love playing around with drones, pushing the capabilities of these flying machines to their edge. It can make its mark in FPV racing and is a fantastic drone for freestyle flying that comes with a solid metal structure yet with customizable, high quality parts. The fun thing is that you can add a few of your own gadgets to the Lumenier QAV250. You can opt to go for the ready-to-fly version with all the part installed or buy the frame at around $130 and add the other components as you please. (est. price: $540)

Top Toy Drone

  • Parrot Rolling Spider

Toy drones are the best option when starting to learn how to fly quadcopters and the Parrot rolling spider is one of the best of such machines in the market. It can clock around 11mph and be flown using a smartphone app via Bluetooth. The fun thing about the Parrot rolling spider is that it not only flies by can also roll along the ground on its wheels, just like a car. (est. price: $80)

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HOW TО CHООЅЕ THЕ BЕЅT DRONE

HOW TО CHООЅЕ THЕ BЕЅT DRONE

Drоnеѕ are ѕtеаdіlу bесоmіng рорulаr. Stаrtіng fіrѕt for military рurроѕеѕ, thеіr аррlісаtіоnѕ аrе increasing dау bу dау rаngіng frоm wіldlіfе research tо dіѕаѕtеr rеlіеf аnd lіvе соvеrаgе оf events etc. Whether аrсhаеоlоgісаl sites nееd tо be ѕurvеуеd, crop damage nееdѕ tо bе tаkеn іntо ассоunt оr wild ѕtоrmѕ nееd to bе carefully mоnіtоrеd аt a vеrу сlоѕе distance, thе ѕеrvісеѕ of drоnеѕ аrе availed extensively. Sо muсh so, Google аnd Amаzоn аrе wоrkіng to dеlіvеr dау tо dау іtеmѕ using drоnеѕ tо its customers.

According to market research, the mаrkеt fоr drоnеѕ all оvеr the wоrld іѕ tаkіng оff with the United Stаtеѕ lеаdіng fоllоwеd bу Europe аnd China. In thе lаѕt уеаr аlоnе, worldwide sales оf the drоnеѕ wеrе 4.3 mіllіоn whісh amounted tо $1.7 bіllіоn. Thаt is a hugе іnсrеаѕе оf 167% іn the ѕраn оf just twо уеаrѕ. Thе reason fоr ѕuсh a surge іѕ, аѕ mеntіоnеd above, thе uѕе of drones nоt оnlу by mіlіtаrу реrѕоnnеl, but аlѕо by сіvіlіаnѕ and buѕіnеѕѕ persons.

In thе past, thе wоrd “drоnе” wаѕ limited tо aircraft knоwn as rеmоtеlу piloted аеrіаl ѕуѕtеmѕ, whісh wаѕ uѕеd іn ѕіtuаtіоnѕ when a manned аеrіаl vehicle faced ѕіgnіfісаnt ѕесurіtу risks. Thеѕе unmаnnеd mасhіnеѕ wеrе аvаіlаblе mоѕtlу to military реrѕоnnеl whо uѕеd thеm to tаrgеt ѕресіfіс lосаtіоnѕ and сарturе іmаgеѕ thrоugh rеаl-tіmе аеrіаl vіеwѕ оf a rеmоtе place.

Nоw people buу drоnеѕ tо uѕе fоr entertainment purpose аnd flу thеm tо сарturе еxсеllеnt aerial іmаgеѕ for personal uѕе. Sоmе buѕіnеѕѕеѕ hаvе аlѕо еmрlоуеd drones for mаnу dіffеrеnt purposes іnсludіng ѕесurіtу ѕurvеіllаnсе, іntеllіgеnсе data соllесtіоn, аnd fіlmіng. Drones come іn a numbеr оf ѕhареѕ and ѕіzеѕ wіth mаnу dіffеrеnt fеаturеѕ, аnd come in аll рrісе rаngеѕ. Bеfоrе уоu decide оn a particular drоnе, іt is a gооd іdеа tо gаіn ѕоmе іnѕіght into all the fеаturеѕ and specifications оf various tуреѕ of drоnеѕ аnd thеn mаkе аn іnfоrmеd decision.

Points to Consider Bеfоrе Buуіng a Drоnе

Although іt’ѕ a ріесе оf cake tо buу аnуthіng nоwаdауѕ; thanks tо the іntеrnеt where реорlе leave аll ѕоrtѕ оf соmmеntѕ and reviews regarding a particular рrоduсt, there are ѕtіll a few thіngѕ уоu should keep іn mіnd bеfоrе уоu dесіdе tо buy a drоnе. In fact, thеѕе are a few questions that you need to аnѕwеr іn order tо buу the right thing thаt will рrоvе to bе uѕеful іn thе lоng run. Of course thе fіrѕt and mоѕt important ԛuеѕtіоn іѕ how muсh mоnеу you’re willing tо ѕреnd. And thе аnѕwеr tо thіѕ ԛuеѕtіоn dереndѕ on your purpose оf buуіng a drone.

Sо, lеt’ѕ соnѕіdеr some key роіntѕ before gоіng drone ѕhорріng.

Types of Drоnеѕ Avаіlаblе fоr Sаlе

Thе drones аvаіlаblе tо gеnеrаl рublіс are furthеr сlаѕѕіfіеd іntо thrее types:

  • Rеаdу-tо-flу
  • Bіnd-аnd-flу; аnd
  • Almоѕt-rеаdу-tо-flу

The fіrѕt type, ready-to-fly іѕ thе mоѕt соmmоn tуре аnd аrе аvаіlаblе іn ѕіzеѕ frоm vеrу ѕmаll to lаrgе. Thеѕе vary іn price ranging from $50 tо $3,000 depending оn their ѕіzе and ѕресіfісаtіоnѕ. The bеѕt оnеѕ in this саtеgоrу аrе dеѕіgnеd lіkе a quadcopter wіth support for landing. They also соmе with excellent features lіkе;

  1. 12 MP саmеrа
  1. Lіvе HD vіdео streaming
  1. Flіght simulator for mаѕtеrіng the аrt of flуіng
  1. Advаnсеd vіѕіоn positioning
  1. Efficient mоbіlе арр for greater соntrоl аnd more аdvаnсеd орtіоnѕ

Whеn уоu dесіdе to gо fоr a drone for tаkіng рhоtоѕ and rесоrdіng оr ѕtrеаmіng vіdеоѕ, уоu nееd tо answer questions lіkе hоw іmроrtаnt іѕ thе ԛuаlіtу оf thе dаtа. In ѕhоrt, when gоіng fоr a ready-to-fly ԛuаdсорtеr, соnѕіdеr thе ѕіzе оf the drоnе, the ԛuаlіtу аnd performance of саmсоrdеr, thе speed оf the machine, and its overall dеѕіgn and рrісе.

Ready-to-fly drones аrе dеѕіgnеd fоr bеgіnnеrѕ аnd hobbyists and іt іѕ оnlу rеԛuіrеd to рlug іn thе bаttеrіеѕ аnd аttасh thе propellers. These mасhіnеѕ аrе thеrеfоrе ԛuіtе еаѕу to uѕе аnd аrе mеаnt fоr kids аnd аdultѕ аlіkе. Bіnd-аnd-flу ԛuаdсорtеrѕ аrе mеаnt fоr more advanced drone uѕеrѕ who аlrеаdу have lots of еxреrіеnсе in flуіng thеѕе types of mасhіnеѕ аnd whо also knоw how tо assemble the parts. Aѕ the name іmрlіеѕ, уоu will need to bіnd thе mасhіnе tо thе соntrоllеr bеfоrе іt can take оff.

Fеаturеѕ to Lооk Fоr

In addition tо ѕіzе аnd оvеrаll dеѕіgn, there are mаnу features thаt you mіght bе іntеrеѕtеd in. Thеѕе аrе explained below:

  • Wіrеlеѕѕ соnnесtіvіtу: Thе lаtеѕt drоnеѕ соmе еԛuірреd wіth wіrеlеѕѕ соnnесtіvіtу орtіоnѕ including Wі-Fі and Bluеtооth fоr соnnесtіng tо dеvісеѕ like smartphones, tаblеtѕ, and laptops. Thіѕ fеаturе gіvеѕ уоu muсh соntrоl over thе data you соllесt as уоu саn еаѕіlу transfer it tо your computer for mаnірulаtіоn.
  • GPS: If a drоnе comes wіth GPS оr Glоbаl Positioning Sуѕtеm, it іѕ аblе tо return tо іtѕ hоmе place іf lost. It also аllоwѕ thе user tо trасk thеіr machine аnd feed a rоutе thаt thе drone muѕt follow. Thіѕ іѕ аgаіn a роwеrful fеаturе thаt greatly іmрrоvеѕ thе реrfоrmаnсе оf an unmanned аеrіаl vehicle.
  • Cаmеrа: A buіlt-іn саmеrа іѕ one of the features thаt mоѕt drоnе uѕеrѕ аrе looking fоr. Onсе уоu experience thе роwеr оf аn аеrіаl camera, уоu wоn’t want tо gо back tо a plain оld drоnе that оffеrѕ nоthіng but flіght.
  • Vіdео streaming: More advanced users аlѕо wаnt lіvе vіdео ѕtrеаmіng to ѕее where their drone gоеѕ. Yоu саn stream vіdео to a соmрutеr or smartphone dереndіng on уоur rеԛuіrеmеntѕ.
  • Pоwеr: Mоrе powerful mасhіnеѕ аrе аblе to give уоu еxtrа bаttеrу life fоr longer flights аnd high рrореllеr ѕрееd. Thеѕе fеаturеѕ come іn handy whеn уоu hаvе tо flу drones оn a regular bаѕіѕ аnd don’t want tо соmрrоmіѕе оn іtѕ ѕрееd оr waste tіmе соnѕtаntlу сhаrgіng thе bаttеrу.

So, уоu ѕее thеrе are mаnу dіffеrеnt types оf drones аvаіlаblе оut thеrе dереndіng not оnlу оn thеіr ѕіzе аnd оvеrаll functionality but аlѕо оn the fеаturеѕ thеу соmе with. Yоu mау lіkе a drone lооkіng at іtѕ bеаutіful dеѕіgn but іt mау nоt fulfіll аll your requirements or might еxсееd your budgеt. It’ѕ important tо dо your homework before ѕреndіng money оn ѕuсh a роwеrful machine.

Drоnеѕ аrе dеfіnіtеlу сооl when іt comes tо unlimited fun аnd еntеrtаіnmеnt. They саn gіvе уоu hоurѕ оf enjoyment аnd many useful outcomes аѕ wеll іf you dесіdе tо take photos, rесоrd videos оr реrfоrm rеаl-tіmе dаtа аnаlуѕіѕ with thе hеlр оf thеѕе ѕmаll yet роwеrful flуіng mасhіnеѕ. However, do соnѕіdеr thе аbоvе-mеntіоnеd points whеn уоu decide to buy уоurѕеlf a drоnе ѕо that уоu can ѕреnd уоur mоnеу wisely аnd аlѕо аvоіd problems lаtеr on.

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Ethanol and the American Farmer

In the past few years, Americans in general, have become more aware of the need to protect the environment by any means necessary because of the apparent threat of global warming.  One key factor affecting global warming is motor-vehicle emissions, which have been on the rise over the past few decades.  Gasoline, which is the most commonly used vehicular fuel, releases many toxins into the air when combusted, creating pollution.  Ethanol is a new type of fuel that is corn-based and can be used with gasoline-powered engines.  The increasingly high demand for ethanol is expected to impact the supply and demand many different complements and substitutes on the market.  Also, the American farmers need to analyze their short-run production to determine whether or not to start producing corn over their other crops and to determine how much corn to produce.

Surging market demand for ethanol is expected to prompt American farmers to increase the production, and therefore, the supply of corn this year (Appendix Figure 1).  The ethanol-industry has dramatically increased over the past few years, doubling the price of corn.  This may not stand for long though because the United States Department of Agriculture projects that over 90 million acres of corn will be planted this year.  The projected harvest would be equal to 12.5 billion bushels of corn.  This is occurring because of a shift in market demand (demand of the consumers) toward ethanol instead of gasoline (Appendix Figure 2).

The increase in the production of corn will affect many other food products, which are either complements or substitutes.  Wheat is one of the many complements of corn.  Wheat production is expected to rise 5% as the production of corn increases (Appendix Figure 3).  Cotton is one of the substitutes that are expected to decrease even more than it has already with the increasing production of corn (Appendix Figure 3).  Last year, cotton production dropped 20% by about 500,000 acres.  It is expected that many farmers will switch from growing cotton to growing corn because of the large profit incentive.

According to the two articles, farmers could collect almost $46 billion from the sales of corn.  As fuel-use evolves to heavily favor ethanol over gasoline, corn production will greatly increase to suffice the increasing market demand.

Currently in the United States, there is a massive surplus of corn.  This is not beneficial to the farmers because this means that the price of the corn is very low.  As the supply of the corn increases, more of the market demand for corn is satisfied, leading to a sizable decrease in the price of corn (Appendix Figure 2).  This hurts the farmers because of the cost of producing the corn.  In the short run, the farmers will have a negative profit because the costs outweigh the revenue (Appendix 2 Figure 4).  Fixed costs are costs associated with using inputs, which is the same no matter what quantity of output is produced.  The fixed costs of a farmer are usually the payments on the land and payments on the equipment.  Variable costs are costs associated with using variable inputs, which rise with the quantity of output.  The most common variable cost of a farmer is the nitrogen that is used as a fertilizer to grow corn.  The summation of the fixed and variable costs equals the total cost.  The current total costs of farmers that produce corn are greater than the total revenue.  The overproduction of corn has led to plummeting prices on corn.  This means that farmers must continue to increase the production of corn to stay in business; the problem is that as more corn is produced, prices will continue to drop.

Farmers need to decrease the supply of corn in order to increase demand, and raise the prices once again.  In order to maximize profit, farmers must look to sell at the equilibrium price of corn, where the quantity of corn supplied equals the quantity of corn demanded.

Through the analysis of short-run production, farmers need to determine whether it is in their best interest to produce corn, or continue producing other crops.  Ethanol is the newest type of fuel that can run in any gasoline-powered car with great efficiency.  The significant increase in market demand for ethanol has led to demand changes in many of complements and substitutes of corn.  The production of ethanol can potentially create large profits, as well as helping decrease the pollution characteristics of emissions related to the combustion of gasoline in vehicles.

The sponsor of today’s post is http://www.newtonfireandflood.com.  Their vehicles run primarily on ethanol, which is promoting lower emissions.

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Tesla Motors 4th Quarter

4th Quarter Call 

  • Revenue went up 16% over quarter 3 (quarter 4 at $36 million); double last yr quarter 4; despite Seasonality affecting Model S (not wanting to buy in the winter)- revenue went up because price increased (less roadsters were sold)
  • increased order for Lotus bodies (2,500) – will not buy more even though there is more demand so as to keep as limited ed. Collectors item; from 2,400 to 2,500 to keep up with demand (1500 delivered so far)
  • new store in Tokyo; San Jose store opening in few mos (emphasizing new model)
  • lack of leverage over suppliers because of size
  • revenue split into 2 categories: automotive sales (primarily roadsters and to a lesser extent the sale of powertrain components to OEMs) and development services (helping OEMs develop electric powertrain component systems for their vehicles)
  • $112 million in 2009 to $97 million in 2010 (due to higher roadsters sales b/c of 2 yr back log)
  • Development services: decreased to $7 mil (10% down) in q4 primarily b/c of completion of Daimler program during the quarter; partially offset by work underway on Toyota RAV 4 EV program
  • Opportunity to earn up to $69 mil as execute on deliverables; anticipate receiving this in next 4 to 5 quarters assuming Toyota’s stated intent to enter production of RAV 4 EV in 2012
  • Development services revenues are dependent on other companies wishing to produce electric vehicles – no companies want to, tesla makes no money from that
  • Cap expenditures $24 mil as compared to $67 mil in q3 (included $56 mil in acquiring facility)
  • Plan to invest $190 to 215 mil for 2011 (majority reimbursable under DOE log) unless ppl drop off the list
  • Expanding capacity to make up to 20,000 vehicles in one shift (plant automation)
  • Accommodates higher model s production and other newer models (3700 model s reservations by this qtr)
  • Not an indicator of performance b/c they say they not focusing on that
  • Cost expectations of model s: changes to raw material pricing/supplier sourcing = in line; avoided the q by speaking about currency risk and margins; overall good view
  • vertical integration strategy = tesla working on insourcing currently; want to be able to do almost everything in house just in case (“keeps suppliers honest”) so suppliers don’t try to raise prices right before the models come out
  • Agreements with other OEMS (other than Toyota and Daimler): discussions with other OEMs but wont say who; wants to focus on this first (Daimler was buying battery packs)
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Potential Yahoo Investment

Yahoo. It’s a leading global Internet communications, commerce and media company, offering a branded network of services worldwide.  It’s headquartered in Silicon Valley, California.  As you can see from the screen shot, you can use the search feature to find whatever you need, or you can search through different categories on anything from cars to weather.  Yahoo also shows what searches are currently popular globally, as you can see in the trending now section.

 

Yahoo was created in 1994 by 2 Ph.D. candidates in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, David Filo and Jerry Yang. It was meant to keep track of their personal interests on the Internet.  As they continued using it, they amassed a long, confusing list of websites and links; from there, they split everything up into categories to make browsing quicker and easier – this was the core concept behind Yahoo.

Yahoo grew in popularity very rapidly because everyone wanted one place where they could find whatever they needed on the Internet.  In the fall of 1994, the Yahoo celebrated its first million-hit day.  Because of its popularity, Filo and Yang knew they could make a business out of it.  They received their preliminary funding of $2 million from Sequoia Capital, a highly-regarded firm that is noted for its successful investments in Apple, Oracle, Atari, and Cisco.

From there, Filo and Yang began choosing their management team.  In 1996, with only 49 employees, Yahoo launched a very successful IPO, which provided the necessary funding for future growth.

 

Here are some stats that will give you an idea of Yahoo’s current financial position.  All of these numbers are based on 2010, since we’re still in the first quarter of this year.  Their total revenue was 6.32 billion dollars, their operating income was 7.73 million, their profit was 1.23 billion, and their total assets are 14.93 billion dollars.  Yahoo has about 13,600 employees.  I also included the stock price, which was $17.11.  Looking at the stock chart, Yahoo took a dive between ’08 and 09’, but seems to be trending back upwards slowly.

 

Yahoo is currently ranked number 3 in the world for total market share.  Google takes up the majority of the global market share at 89.94%, with Bing representing 4.37% and Yahoo taking up 3.93%.  Yahoo has a number of competitors such as Google, Bing, Baidu, and Ask.com.

 

So why invest in Yahoo?  First, Yahoo’s net income is trending upwards.  In 2008, it was 4.24 million; it was 5.97 million in 2009; and it jumped in 2010 to 1.23 billion dollars.  Second, Yahoo has made some necessary management changes. Yahoo’s Chief Operating Officer, Dan Rosensweig, and its media chief Lloyd Braun have left the company.  Braun had a background in traditional media, which was hindering Yahoo’s use of more user-generated content.  Yahoo also placed Farzad Nazem, the Chief Technology Officer, in charge of the new technology unit.  These changes have the potential to greatly improve operational efficiencies.  Lastly, According to Interactive Advertising Bureau, the U.S. Internet advertising market grew to $6.4 billion in the 3rd quarter of 2010, which was up 17% over the same period last year.  Yahoo has created an ad campaign, known as Project Panama, to take advantage of this.  So far it’s had an overall positive response, and it continues to look promising.

Some disadvantages of Yahoo are its decreased market share and slowing revenue growth. In regard to market share, Yahoo has lost a few percentage points in market share as Bing has gained some.  Also, Yahoo’s revenue grew by less than 2% from 1.58 billion dollars in the 3rd quarter of 2009 to 1.6 billion in the 3rds quarter of 2010.

 

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Internet Information Providers

—Ever since Al Gore invented the internet, entrepreneurs & investors have been trying to find ways to profit from it 😉

—Executive Summary:

  • Background ~ Google and IIP
  • Internet Information Providers Industry:
    • –Yahoo!
    • –Baidu
    • –Bing

Google – The IIP Model

  • —Founded in 1998 by two Stanford graduate students
  • —Mission: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”
  • —2004: IPO-$1.6 B   2008: $21.8 B in Revenue
  • —Margin machine relying on advertising, reinvest money to enhance website and improve content delivery
  • ◦Adwords: sponsored links
  • ◦Adsense: directed to third-parties
  • —Other consumer based internet tools, Maps, Finance, Mail
  • —85% global market share

—Internet Information Provider: mass consumer based web site that supply “neutral” information without selling a proprietary product

—Examples: WebMD, Travelzoo, Ancestry.com, eDiets

  • —Basic Principles (as borrowed from Google):
    • Best to do 1 thing really, really well
    • Fast is better than slow
    • Democracy on the web works
    • There’s always more information out there
    • The need for information crosses all borders

Financials: Internet Info Providers

—Technology Sector

  • —Market Cap: $347 Billion
  • ¼ IT Services and ½ Business Software
  • —Return on Equity Percentage: 14.70 %
  • Same as IT services and Business Software = 11.50%
  • —Debt to Equity: 9.13
  • —Roughly 15% revenue generated on investment in conjunction with low debt on equity
  • Low overhead
  • Unlimited consumer base – brand recognition
  • Simply profit model

Example: Yahoo!

  • Spend roughly $0.60 to capture 10 minutes of viewer time to run the network
  • Sell that same time for $1.00 for advertising fee
  • Profit = $0.40

Timeline of Events

Late 1980’s: World Wide Web is Born.  Invented by British physics and communication expert.

Early 1990’s: First Mouse Based Browser developed.  Netscape went public and became first available web browser

1994: Yahoo! Was Born, 100,000 accesses within 10 days. Developed by Stanford Ph.D Students as a hobby.

Late 1990’s: Over 40 Million users Connected to the internet. People started using the internet for searching, shopping, learning and trading.

Early 2000’s: DSL and Cable modems enable exchange of large   amounts of data through the internet.

2004: Google goes public and paves the way for future Internet Information Providers

Present Day: Global Industry and Universal network connecting people around the world through a widespread information infrastructure

Five Forces Framework

Barriers to Entry

  • Product Diversity
  • Competing with Giants
  • Low Startup Cost

Bargaining Power of Suppliers

  • Create Unique Service
  • Degree of Differentiation
  • Supplier Competition

 Bargaining Power of Buyers

  • So Many Providers
  • Little/No Switching Cost
  • Can use Multiple sources

Threat of Substitute Products

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Buyer Switching Cost

Complementors

  • Shopping Sites
  • Advertising
  • Software and Servers

All of this equals…

Rivalry Among Established Firms

  • Google
  • Low prices and increasing Buyer Power
  • A lot of Substitutes

Strategy Among Providers

market reach per product offerings

 

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