Auto Section: Google’s autonomous car captures nuances of city driving

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On Tuesday, for the first time since Google co-founder Sergey Brin commissioned the self-driving vehicle experiment in 2009, the technology giant pulled open the blinds to the media.

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Banking Section: Trends in use of debit and credit cards in the US

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From 2006 to 2009, credit card payment volume declined by 3%. From 2009 to 2012, it grew by 25%. Prepaid debit card volume, which increased by 228% from ’06 to ’09, grew 48% from ’09 to ’12.

Two things are happening there: 1) Consumers discovered prepaid debit cards, and 2) Gen Yers rediscovered credit cards.

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Analytics Section: Top Execs Want to See More Use of Analytics

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New research suggests six in 10 professionals are getting pressure from management to be more data-driven, with marketing departments feeling the majority of the heat.

A vast majority of respondents to an MIT Sloan Management Review survey of 2,037 business professionals said that their organization needs to step their use of analytics to make better decisions.

It’s evidence that supports a growing trend: marketers are now accountable for new business, and are being held to quantifiable benchmarks to vouch for their performance. CMOs and CEOs aren’t satisfied with qualitative evidence that marketing is working, they want numbers—and so do their boards.

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Data Integration Section: Welcome to the Future of Data Management

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The demand for data has never been greater. The expectations are even grander. On the other hand, what the business wants has never been more ambiguous.

  • Data quality transitions from perfecting data in a system to focus on trusting data at consumption
  • Requirements gathering to build a platform transitions to focus on solving business challenges
  • Insular uses of data transition to harvesting data for a more complete understanding of the business and market
  • Analytics transitions from BI and warehouse environments to operational and transactional engagement models

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Marketing Section: 3 keys to Triumph becoming a great motorcycle brand (again)

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Triumph is roaring back under North American CEO Greg Heichelbech, posting 29 straight months of sales growth while opening 50 stores. That’s thanks to an aggressive strategy that’s seen the motorcycle brand sign a deal with clothing retailer Lucky Brand, use clever marketing to win new customers and demographics and streamline its technology — using UPS to manage inventory and having a human-staffed customer service operation that can help dealers and front-line customers.

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Retail Section: Is “webrooming” a bigger problem than showrooming?

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More consumers with smartphones are webrooming — searching for products online to purchase in a physical store — than are showrooming, according to a report by Merchant Warehouse that Janet Stilson writes is a “welcome reality check” for retailers concerned that Web retailing is taking over. Forrester Research data also suggests webrooming produced $1.2 trillion in sales in 2012, a figure that’s projected to rise to $1.8 trillion by 2017.

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HR Section: What gets you out of bed in the morning?

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To figure out what motivates you, try documenting your best days and spotting patterns, writes Mike Figliuolo. “Whatever it is these great days have in common is what is truly driving your daily motivation. Once you’ve identified it, you can more easily seek out work that is linked to those satisfying characteristics,” Figliuolo writes.

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