Apple's New Tech That Will Dominate Retail

Enjoy these three reads: The story of how two Armenian gangsters became the biggest financiers in Hollywood, the tech shaping the future of the billboard, and looking back to 1999's tech industry.

Jan 7, 2014 at 11:34AM

Enjoy these three reads about business, investing, and life to satisfy your Foolish curiosities.

Drugs, diamonds, and murder
Remington Chase and Stefan Martirosian may not be household names, but they are the money men behind some of Hollywood's recent high-budget blockbusters, from the hit End of Watch to recent releases Lone Survivor and 2 Guns, and upcoming releases based on Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS) titles Monopoly and Hungry Hungry Hippos

But the story of these two men recalls an earlier day in Hollywood, when gangsters ruled (and financed) Sunset Boulevard. From the LA Weekly:

For obvious reasons, Chase and Martirosian would have preferred to stay out of the limelight. They agreed to this interview only because they believed they had no choice.

Nevertheless, like many people, they were drawn to fame -- their names up on the big screen during the opening sequence of a major motion picture. That's why they are now sitting alongside a movie publicist at Urth Caffe, trying to explain why they were accused of ordering a contract killing in Moscow.

Its hard to imagine reputable studios partnering with investors of such shady backgrounds, but as of yet, it hasn't stopped the likes of General Electric's (NYSE:GE) Universal Pictures or 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOX) from signing up as production or distribution partners.

Meet the iBeacon -- the next generation of location-based advertising
According to Business Insider, the future of location-based ads is now, and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is already leading the way:

Beacons are a low-cost piece of hardware -- small enough to attach to a wall or counter top -- that utilize battery-friendly low-energy Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet. They are poised to transform how retailers, event organizers, transit systems, enterprises, and educational institutions communicate with people indoors. Consumers might even want to deploy them as part of home automation systems.

If you're interested in further reading about the future of retail in a mobile world, check out this post that explores how brick-and-mortar retailers are using mobile technology as a offensive weapon against their Internet competitors.

Looking back on the 15th anniversary of the dot-com market crash took a moment recently to reminisce on 1999, the year the dot-com bubble burst. With pundits calling the current frothy environment in the tech space a potential new bubble, have we learned any lessons over the past 15 years?

More notably, other veterans of the first generation of web start-ups have not only survived, they continue to be big online brands with 11-or 12-digit market caps. Whether the Internet industry is heading for another boom and bust, these five companies offer lessons on how to build a start-up with the power to endure. (NASDAQ:AMZN): Stick to your vision no matter what, but fine-tune it with data. Jeff Bezos's annual letters to shareholders haven't changed much over the years. In 1997, he said Amazon would build shareholder value over the long term. But to do this he would "extend and solidify our current market leadership position" and "focus relentlessly on our customers."

Even through the bust, Amazon did just that. Long-term shareholders have rewarded this stubborn adherence to an original vision with a $185 billion market value. But Amazon wasn't too stubborn. It obsessively tracked data on shoppers, how they used the site, what resonated with them to expand and enhance its long-term goal. The focus was so relentless, Amazon may know its customers better than they know themselves.

Amazon has undeniably done very well over the past 15 years, but this company has developed a mobile app that is currently getting three times the engagement of Amazon's offering. You can learn more here.

Fool on!

The top stock for 2014
There's a huge difference between a good stock, and a stock that can make you rich. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for 2014, and it's one of those stocks that could make you rich. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Have a comment or question about real estate, banks, or financial stocks? Like Jay on Facebook and leave your question or comment!

Fool contributor Jay Jenkins has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends, Apple, and Hasbro. The Motley Fool owns shares of, Apple, General Electric Company, and Hasbro. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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