McMaster High School Heroes Case Study Competition

McMaster High School Heroes Case Study Competition

The N.T.C.I. Business Team competed in the 2023 McMaster High School Heroes Case Study Competition.

Two groups of students competed. Cara Jin, Keerthi Pawar Mamidi, Varshini Shivayogi & Marko Vodopija finished among the Top 10 of all teams & Marko was awarded top presenter for his enthusiasm & skills during the pitch.

Thanks to the organizers for a fantastic event.

How did a lucky Buccaneers fan make thousands of dollars by attending a game?

by Cameron, Spencer & Nikola

At the Buccaneers vs. Bears game on October 24, 2021. Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady threw his 600th touchdown to wide receiver Mike Evans. Unaware of the significance of this pass, Evans handed the ball to a fan in the front row of the end zone. This proved to be a major mistake, which was corrected by Buccaneer staff and Brady. Besides the significance to Brady, the ball is estimated to be worth around $500,000. In exchange for the ball, Tom Brady gave the fan two signed jerseys, a signed helmet, a signed Evans jersey plus his game cleats, a $1,000 store credit at the Buccaneers team store, season tickets for two years, and on top of that, a Bitcoin. 

Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that you can buy, sell, and trade, without an intermediary like a bank. The reason it is worth money is because we, as people, decide it’s value, similar to gold. Since it’s supply is limited to 21 million coins, and 18.8m have already been mined as of August 2021 (~90%), this creates a supply and demand issue. Given this lack of supply, many people expect it’s price to continue to grow as time goes on, especially as more big investors begin treating it as a digital gold to hedge against market volatility and inflation.

One Bitcoin is currently worth around $75,000 CAD, but that number could increase significantly. Over the past year, Bitcoin has increased by 200%, and since 6 years ago, a whopping 17,000%. Over the next 5 years, experts believe that Bitcoin will be worth around $320,000 CAD, roughly quadruple its current value. By 2030, a single coin is estimated to be worth $6,750,000. 

Although Bitcoin has the potential to be worth an astronomical amount, it could also crash. It’s known to be a very volatile investment that has a track record of a lot of boom and bust cycles. As an example, between April and July, Bitcoin corrected more than 60%, and over the course of its 11-year existence, the coin has had 7 corrections greater than 50%. The repeated history of these negative turns prove that Bitcoin can make a turn for the worse at any time. 

We asked Noah Yan which option he he would take in 10 years and he said “100% a Bitcoin. Although the football will probably be worth north of $1 million, I believe that because of the previous progress of bitcoin, it’s on track to be worth much more than the football.”

Although the risk of Bitcoin is high and the volatility surrounding it will be great, we believe that it will be worth more than Tom Brady’s 600th touchdown ball because of its successful past, and the predictions for the currency in the future.

Ever Wonder Why It’s So Hard To Get A PS5?

by Leora & Noah

The bot-buying of Playstation 5s has surged by 800%. This makes it near impossible for consumers to get their hands on a brand new PS5 at the retail price. The Ps5, one of, if not the most popular gaming systems, is not only popular to the average consumer and dedicated gamer, but it is also a hot item for scalping retail bots.

These nasty algorithms pick up popular items, like the Ps5 within milliseconds of them being released, giving the average customer no chance to get it for themselves. The correct terminology is called “scalping” and is over-inflating the market for video game consoles. Those involved with these bots, scalpers, utilize these bots to buy large quantities of popular items and resell them for double to triple the original price. Many people across social media voice their frustration with these bots.

Playstation tweets out, “It’s official: PS5 has sold 10 million consoles. Thank you!” To which the company was met with a fluster of negative comments. Complaints against scalpers took the announcement by storm. One user tweeted, “Unfortunately many of those were bought then sold for a higher price thanks to bots. I’m still trying to get one since it’s been released.”

The great demand for Ps5s, brings up another issue. “Could have been 50 million consoles if they were in stock. No chip shortage excuses. Make consoles now,” an angry twitter user wrote.

Ps5s utilize semiconductor microchips. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for products that use microchips, like laptops and gaming consoles, has gone up, due to everybody being trapped inside. The problem with this is the shortage of semiconductor microchips that began around the start of the pandemic. Public health restrictions slowed down or completely closed factories, substantially  the production of microchips, and in turn, the Ps5 as well. 

You win some and you lose some, and in this case, the retail bots prevailed, and the average consumer did not. The demand for the Ps5 kept going up and up, while the supply was taking a nosedive. As the holiday season approaches, to avoid disappointment, we suggest keeping your gifts less on the technological side.

Toronto Minimum Wage

by Ryder

The minimum wage is a topic that is frequently brought up in conversations because it’s what a lot of people have to live by, but is it enough? Today, We are going to look into the minimum wage in Toronto and see if it’s enough for all Ontarians. 

On Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021, Ontario premier Doug Ford announced that the minimum wage will go from the previous $14.35 to $15.00 by the new year of 2022.“Workers deserve to have more money in their pockets,” said Ford. The Ontario government said they estimated that this would benefit around 760,000 people in the province, given that Ontario has a population of 13.6 million people, that’s about 5 to 6% of the total population. 

Previously, Ford cancelled the raise in 2019 to $15 an hour in October of 2018 when the Progressive Conservatives took power from the Liberals. On Jan. 1, 2018, The minimum wage in Ontario increased from $11.60 to $14 an hour. If we calculate the difference from $11.60 to $15.00 three years later based on a 40 hour week, the yearly wage of a minimum wage worker would go up from around $24,000 to $31,200, which would be around 24% increase, but is it enough? During the interview, Doug Ford admitted that he thinks it’s still not enough, stating that“It’s a start”. 

So is $15 a livable wage in Toronto? According to the Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN), which calculates and adds up the food, shelter, clothing, transportation and other necessities, it costs $22.08 dollars to live in Toronto ( average for a single adult, single parent, and a family of four) and this list doesn’t even include things like home ownership, education savings, retirement savings, etc. Which will make the living wage far from the $15 minimum wage we will have.

Following these increases, it was also announced that the minimum wage will be increasing every October based on the inflation rate, which is now at an 18-year high and has quadrupled since early 2019. 

During the hard times where gas, groceries and other basic necessities are skyrocketing in price and become unaffordable, is $15 really enough, if you ask my personal opinion, the answer is no, but this is a step in the right direction for our fellow Ontarians.

The Rise and Fall of Elizabeth Holmes

by Bronwen

Elizabeth Holmes created an empire. She was known as “the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire” and the “next Steve Jobs” but in reality this was all a fabricated lie. For years, Holmes deceived the world with a seemingly perfect company. Then, one day it all came crashing down and her life completely changed. 

In 2004, Elizabeth Holmes, then 19 years old, dropped out of Stanford University to pursue something she was passionate about, Theranos. Deriving from her lifelong fear of needles, Theranos created the Edison Test, with the intention to revolutionize blood testing. The Edison Test used a painless finger prick to detect conditions such as cancer or diabetes without the use of needles. While existing technology needed one vial of blood for each test, Theranos claimed to be able to perform up to 240 tests with one prick of blood. This technology had never been seen before, and because of it, everyone was intrigued. Holmes raised 700 million dollars from investors and she quickly became the youngest female billionaire. At its peak, Theranos was valued at 9 billion dollars. 

As Theranos became popular, it seemed like Holmes had a perfect life- a beautiful home, plenty of money and a relationship with the business partner Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. The only problem was that the technology didn’t work. Not only did the machine not work, but it gave people false diagnoses. One woman identified as L.M. was diagnosed with a thyroid condition called Hashimoto’s disease based on inaccurate Theranos test results. Her doctor ordered testing from another lab company that showed she did not have that condition. When news of a defective product broke in 2015, Theranos and Holmes denied these allegations, deeming them untrue. Eventually, in 2018, Theranos came crashing down when the company was charged with fraud and Holmes and Balwani were indicted on eleven counts of fraud. When these charges occurred, Holmes was stripped of her control of Theranos, and after months without an interested buyer, the company officially was forced to close on September 5th, 2018. 

Ever since Holmes was arrested in 2018 and paid her bail which was $500 000, she has led a private life while awaiting trial. One thing that has stayed consistent is the fact that Holmes has maintained her innocence throughout the past three years. Finally after four delays, three due to Covid and one because of her being pregnant, Elizabeth’s trial began in August. Following 11 weeks of testimony and evidence, Holmes’s defense unexpectedly called her to the stand at the end of November. Holmes tells a story that is very different from that of the prosecution. Her account of the story is that her boyfriend – and COO of Theranos at the time – Balwani abused and emotionally controlled Holmes, impairing her mental state. Balwani, now 56, facing the same fraud charges called the claims “outrageous”. Balwani’s trial will begin in January 2022. It is up to the jury now to decide if Holmes will be convicted of the charges she is facing. If convicted, she can face a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. 

Although the Theranos scandal occurred years ago, this situation is far from over. The damage and effect on people’s lives will never be forgotten and Elizabeht Holmes will go down as one of the biggest con artists in history. In the weeks to come, the trial will finish and a verdict will be made about whether Elizabeth Holmes is guilty or not guilty. To keep up with the developments in this case, check in on credible news sources such as CNN, BBC News or Yahoo News. Or, listen to the podcast Bad Blood which goes into depth about the Theranos scandal and offers trial updates.  


McDonald’s Methane Mayhem and its effects on global warming

by Sebastian

McDonald’s, arguably the most well known fast food chain in the world is not at all what it seems. At first glance, you see McDonald’s as an above average unhealthy fast food place known for their sodium infested fries and their iconic Big Mac. However, the thing with being at the top is that there is almost always a massive negative effect on the environment, this is because of the need for more factories, warehouses, transportation, etc. In the case of McDonald’s, massive negative effect is an understatement.

To begin, many of  McDonald’s items, including their signature big mac needs beef. The use of beef is not the issue, the issue is the rate at which they need it, produce it and use it. McDonald’s sells 1.5 million big macs every day of the year. And that’s just the big mac alone, with all the other burgers on the menu, a massive amount of beef being used. 

Another problem with using beef is that unfortunately, beef is the most harmful meat towards the climate as the amount of cattle produces huge amounts of methane, around 5x the amount of chicken or pig. In fact, beef is such a big contributor to McDonald’s emissions that the use of beef alone is 1/3 of McDonald’s climate footprint. 

In addition to the methane, McDonald’s also releases huge amounts of CO2 emissions. Using the Big Mac as another example, it is estimated that the production of 1 Big Mac releases around 2.35kg of CO2. To put this into perspective, 2.35kg of CO2 is the equivalent of driving an average car 12.7km. This along with the beef is resulting in huge amounts of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Thankfully, McDonald’s acknowledges this and is taking action.

 McDonald’s has stated “In 2021, we joined the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, pledging to put McDonald’s on the path to net zero emissions by 2050”.

Global Warming is one of, if not the biggest global problem the world faces. Knowing that McDonald’s, an incredibly successful, international company is devoted to reaching net zero emissions is great news as not only will it lower their carbon footprint but it will also encourage other companies to join them on the path to net zero emissions by 2050.

How Social Media Affects Teens

by Luca

Everyone uses social media, we all know it. But what some people don’t realize, are the effects it has on you and others. Social media changes who you are and the way you think. 

Social media can lower your grades for a few reasons. Teens constantly go on social media to have fun, and eventually this becomes a habit or addiction. Teens then start going on social media while they’re in school. Not listening to their teacher, they don’t learn anything, lowering their grades.

Cyber bullying is another big issue that affects teens grades, and more importantly, their health and mental well being. Teens can get bullied over social media, “cyber bullying”, and this can make someone depressed if they aren’t sure how to deal with the issue. This can also lead to lower grades.

Teens get easily addicted to social media, and there is also a scientific reasoning to this. It opens your concentration of dopamine, activating rewarding centers in your brain. While using social media, the secretion of the aforementioned hormone increases creating an irresistible addiction.

But there are some benefits to social media, for teens and for adults. For example, you can text your friends through Instagram, Snapchat, or other platforms. You could text them through the text app on your phone, or just call them. But some people are not able to text or call on their phone because you just pay for these features,  whereas social media is free.

You can also find people on social media platforms. If you have a friend that you lost contact with, you could search their name up on Facebook and try to find them. This works most of the time since so many people have social media.

Did you know that  98% of teens, ages 13-17, use at least one social media platform? 45% of those 750 students who took the survey are on social media every day, according to “a 2018 Pew Research Center survey”.

Without teens, social media platforms would lose a large portion of their users. For Example, on TikTok (a social media platform), 28% of its users, world wide, are under 18. TikTok has earned $1.9 billion in profits (in 2020) with 1 billion people using the platform. TikTok would have lost about $550 million without teens and minors.

Social media also impacts the economy. As I mentioned before, teens are not focusing as much in school because they are on social media instead, causing their grades to lower.Because of their low grades, they can’t go to college or university and are forced to get a lower class job, such as a cashier, or factory worker. But, without these people working in factories and as cashiers, society would not be able to function and the economy would go down dramatically.

In conclusion, social media has its pros and cons. In my opinion, everyone should have the right to use social media, but they all should have their limits. 

Why are NFTs so popular?

by Santi & Ray

Non-fungible tokens, or better known as NFT’s, are crashing the market right now. Let’s figure out why. In the year 2012, the first official Non-fungible tokens or more commonly referred to as NFT’s were first made. These tokens are so valuable because they’re tokenized drawings. 

So what are the origins of NFTs? NFTs are tokenized drawings that stockholders can purchase for various prices typically ranging from $1-$900, and even sometimes being worth a lot more. However these drawings are specific, see for many years art has been around and has been purchased. Art has been considered a thing ever since the year 30,000 BP and has been part of the market for not too much shorter. However with the internet on the rise and duplicating drawings being more common and easy, certain drawings and pieces of art lose their value as replicas look the same and that most original art pieces are stored away in art museums. With the internet you can buy these NFTs and purchase the drawings and have ownership of them meaning you can sell and purchase. However with all this being said we take a dive into why they all of a sudden have become popular despite art being existent for much longer.

With that being said we ask why are NFTs all of a sudden blowing up in popularity? The big reason why NFTs have blown up so suddenly is because of 2 things with the first being “CryptoKitties” and the second being human natural collecting instinct. So firstly what’re CryptoKitties? Originally CryptoKitties started out as a Canadian developed video game where you would earn money and buy kitties. However as time went on they then made the feature to spend real time money and make actual investments from within the game to buy these kittens at fluctuating prices.

 This was such a hit that they then created their own market called Ethereum’s underlying blockchain network. This was such a hit that other digital artists decided they would make their own drawings and sell them on the market in mid 2021 which then led to NFTs blowing up in popularity and popularity to the point where it is at now. Now the second reason I pointed out is human natural collecting instinct. Research has shown that humans have a natural instinct to buy more than they need for example, sneaker heads won’t own only 1 pair of shoes, and designer fashion models won’t have only 1 of 2 outfits, they’ll have multiple ones making them feel the urge and instinct to own more than they need.

 Another psychological comparison is food. Typically we (humans) only eat 3 meals a day and have a small meal throughout varying parts of the day, however when we make purchases we try to get as much as we need until we’re satisfied with the amount. The only difference is once you’ve eaten your food you have none left meaning you need to go back whereas wearing a pair of shoes once won’t take its toll on them.

In conclusion, NFTs have blown up in the past year or so for many different reasons. These can include having the feeling of owning something expensive, popularity, and even just collecting something and having ownership of it. With more and more people on the internet every single day, NFTs will continue to contribute to our daily spending and what we do on the internet with our money.

Lululemon Sues Peleton for their “copy-cat” Workout Apparel.

by Diosmery

On Wednesday, November 30, Lululemon filed a lawsuit against Peloton, because of their “copycat” athletic clothing products. 

              It started off as a partnership between the two most recognised home and fitness companies in the world, Lululemon (an athletic clothing company) and Peloton (an exercise equipment company).  According to court documents, the two companies reached a deal in 2016 that allowed Peloton to put its logo alongside Lululemon’s on certain Lululemon products that were then sold through Peloton’s retail outfits.

The lawsuit comes after Peloton ended the co-branding agreement with Lululemon earlier this year and announced its own private label, Peloton Apparel, in September 2021. In documents filed in a U.S. court on Monday (November 22), the athletic apparel retailer claims Peloton copied several of Lululemon’s innovative designs and sold “knock-offs” of Lululemon’s products, claiming them as their own. Lululemon filed a claim in California District Court on Tuesday (November 23), accusing Peloton of patent infringement. A patent infringement is the commission of a prohibited act with respect to a patented invention without permission from the patent holder. 

On Nov. 11, Lululemon sent Peloton a cease-and-desist letter asking the company to “immediately stop selling its copy-cat products” — pointing to Peloton’s One Lux Tight which is almost identical to one of Lululemon’s all-time best-selling products (The Align Pant), their Strappy Bra, Cadent Laser Dot Legging, and many more products. According to the Lululemon lawsuit, Peloton said it needed until Nov. 24 to respond to the accusations. But instead of a letter back, Peloton filed its own lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, citing Lululemon’s “baseless threats” and asking a judge to declare that the company had done nothing wrong.

Peloton also claims that the brands of both companies are distinctive and well-recognized, “making confusion between products a virtual impossibility.” But in a series of exhibits filed with a California court, Lululemon alleges several Peloton styles are nearly identical to Lululemon products. Lululemon also claims that it is “likely to cause confusion, cause mistake, and to deceive” customers into thinking Peloton Apparel has a partnership with Lululemon.

Lululemon has spent “enormous time, effort, and expense cultivating in the marketplace,” according to the company and Peloton is not taking this into consideration. 

 Peloton is also accused of attempting to copy Lululemon’s clothing designs and pass off its goods as Lululemon’s high-quality products in order to misappropriate the immense goodwill that Lululemon has spent enormous time, effort, and expense cultivating in the marketplace,” according to the company.

In an emailed statement, Shannon Higginson, Lululemon general counsel and senior vice-president, said: “We are confident in our position and look forward to properly resolving this case through the courts.”

Peloton said it would not comment on this lawsuit.

More Infectious Coronavirus Variant

by Jefford & Sherwin

The new Coronavirus variant originating from South Africa was dubbed “Omicron” last Wednesday after the first positive sample of the variant was found in South Africa. The Omicron variant has not been around for a significant amount of time and health officials still do not have a clear idea of what the effects of this new variant is. Omicron variant cases have been rising faster than the Delta variant of Covid-19. We can only hope the restrictions in Canada do not get worse over time. As of now we do not have the information to know if the vaccines will protect against the new variant.

As we know businesses have already been struggling due to covid. All of these restrictions from covid; such as social distancing, vaccine requirements, mask requirements, and proper covid sanitation have hit all small businesses very hard. Over the duration of covid Canada’s GDP has suffered a $135 billion loss after 181,000 businesses, almost one in six of all businesses faced closure. Lockdowns have also been a large factor in small business loss. Lockdowns have prevented people from leaving their houses for non-essential reasons. With each incoming wave people were forced into lockdown resulting in businesses losing customers. Recently in Ontario, we have been able to “flatten the curve” which relieved some of the stress on our healthcare system, and allowed us to return to some sense of normalcy. With this new variant “Omicron” there are many concerns that there will be another lockdown and many small business owners fear that they will not be able to survive another drought of customers.

When covid first began all businesses expected to take a hit to their revenue, but big businesses however did not. Retail businesses such as Walmart and Amazon have thrived during the pandemic, with Walmart raking in over $130 billion in revenue as well as hiring more than 200,000 new employees to help with this influx of demand for their products. The online retailer Amazon has also gathered a sizable $610 million in sales during the past year. With everyone staying at home, online shopping has become part of consumers’ shopping routine, this prompted Walmart to invest more in its e-commerce sales which led to a 74% increase in its online sales.

 Many business owners feel the covid safety restrictions imposed by the government are only targeted towards their small businesses. They feel hopeless, because their sales are declining while big companies are easily increasing their revenue and expanding to compete with one another. This is important because there is lots of pressure on the government to loosen up restrictions to support small businesses, but they must act carefully or they risk going into another lockdown.