Be Cautious Out There

With the new Delta variant moving through the country, covid infections are rising across the board - and that includes Georgia. Be safe and exercise caution. And here are three other things you should know: 1. Good time to be in the package business. Like zippers, packing boxes aren't something we really think about when we think of successful and necessary businesses. But if you were a producer of packing materials, the past year and a half have been good for you. Mo’ money, mo’ boxes. During the pandemic, as online ordering and delivery surged, the demand for cardboard boxes and packaging materials piled up. Now we know how high. A record 407 billion square feet of corrugated materials were produced in the US in 2020, according to a study by commercial real estate advisory firm Newmark. The packaging industry is expected to grow by 3.5% each year for the next five years, while eMarketer predicts e-comm sales will grow 13.7% in 2021, to $908+ billion. More than 80% of online orders use corrugated packaging. “E-commerce uses seven times more boxes per dollar of retail sales than an equivalent purchase at a brick-and-mortar establishment,” Mark Russo, associate director of New Jersey research and national industrial for Newmark, told Retail Brew. Retail Brew 2. Faking Bourdain. One of the greatest in the food industry is still causing controversy years after his passing. (Sort of.) A new Anthony Bourdain documentary is out, and it has critics, documentarians, and security experts a little riled. In it, two lines that were never uttered by Bourdain were created to sound exactly like him thanks to deepfake technology. Compared to some of the other ways we’ve seen AI and deepfakes used to trick people, this isn’t the worst example, but the ethics of it are still questionable. The film, as far as we’re aware, doesn’t include a disclosure that AI was used to replicate Bourdain’s voice. “If you watch the film, other than that line you mentioned, you probably don’t know what the other lines are that were spoken by the AI, and you’re not going to know,” Neville told The New Yorker. “We can have a documentary-ethics panel about it later.” TC 3. The makeup of business owners. When it comes to owning and operating a business, America is one of the best places to do that. So it shouldn't be surprising that a recent report released showed that 1-in-5 business owners are first-generation immigrants. Another group that dominates business ownership in the U.S. is people over the age of 55. Even though this group makes up 21% of the population, they account for more than half, or 50.9% of business owners. Veterans are also well represented, making up 9% of business owners while representing 7.6% of the U.S. population. The data from Score provides valuable insights into the business community in the U.S. And it is these insights that allow other businesses, most of whom are small businesses owners, to identify trends and capitalize on opportunities. SBT

Mind Edit For this week's mind edit, what about a game? The NYT crossword minis are the best to take a quick break: Friday, 16th. Birthdays Manon Audibert (Jul. 15)

Anniversaries Clark Whitson (3 years) Josh Lucio (3 years)

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