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October 2014 Issue

Articles

The Economist: Employment statistics

What do they tell us about the economy?

By Tucker Hart Adams

As I told a businessman who said he only had time to pay attention to one statistic, the single most important piece of economic data is the employment figure. The United States economy added 288,000 jobs in June, the fifth consecutive month of gains exceeding 200,000. The unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent, continuing a decline that began in November 2009.  Clearly the economy is improving on the job front. But, is there more to the story? Each month the federal government’s Current Employment Statistics (CES) program surveys approximately 144,000 businesses and government agencies, representing approximately 554,000 individual worksites, to provide detailed industry data on employment on non-farm payrolls. The data exclude proprietors, the unincorporated self-employed, unpaid volunteers or family employees, farm employees and domestic employees. Government. . .

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Top Company 2014: Telecom

Winner: ViaWest

By Nora Caley

Telecom  winner: ViaWest (Watch a video about ViaWest.) viawest.com Information technology services have become more complex, and that’s good news for ViaWest, says Nancy Phillips, CEO of the colocation, managed services and cloud services provider. “The last couple of years have been outstanding for ViaWest,” says Philips, who is also co-founder of the Greenwood Village-based company. “We have seen high-teens growth in revenue and EBITDA and new customer acquisition.” ViaWest also opened three new data centers, bringing its total to 27. The newest centers are firsts in Minneapolis and Phoenix, and the fifth in Denver. Features include high density wattage, raised flooring, security cameras and an energy-efficient cooling system. The facilities also have 24/7 on-site engineers and service staff to help maintain uptime. Customer service is as. . .

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Top Company 2014: Consumer Business

Winner: Otter Products

By Mike Dano

Consumer Business winner: OtterBox Otterbox.com After overseeing several years of frenetic growth, Brian Thomas is working on how to properly scale the business to accommodate that growth and ensure that growth will continue in the years ahead. Thomas, the CEO of smartphone case maker OtterBox, was the company’s sixth employee in 2003, just a few years after its founding in 1998. Today he’s the head of a company with 1,000 employees (650 in Fort Collins, the company’s headquarters). Thomas and OtterBox rode the wave generated by the iPhone and other smartphones during the past decade, a wave that has pushed smartphones into the pockets and purses of more than half of all Americans. Many of those smartphone users have chosen to protect their gadgets with cases from OtterBox. Thomas said the company’s primary challenge now is “continuing to scale. . .

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Top Company 2014: Media/Advertising/PR

Winner: Madwire Media

By Mike Dano

Media/Advertising/PR winner: Madwire Media (watch a video about Madwire.) Madwiremedia.com Judging by Madwire Media’s growth, there is significant demand among small businesses for help with digital marketing. Founded in 2009 in Loveland, Madwire’s revenues have soared exponentially in subsequent years, and the company’s not shy about trumpeting that growth: In the three years between 2009 and 2012, the company said its revenues grew 5,254 percent. “We’ve grown with the (digital marketing) industry,” said Madwire spokeswoman Farra Lanzer. “Things change constantly. We change with the market.” As of the end of July, Madwire closed on a $5.5 million series A funding round. Today, Madwire counts around 150 employees, and in June released a product that ties together all of its services and lessons from five years of work.. . .

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Tech and travel

New apps abound, but don’t write off guidebooks just yet

By Eric Peterson

The trusty travel guide – the paper variety – is at a crossroads. Take the case of Google buying Frommer’s Travel Guides in 2012. The search giant immediately quashed the model of regularly updated paper books, but within a year sold off the longstanding brand back to its namesake founder, Arthur Frommer, who started writing travel guides in the 1950s. The paper guide was back – but the Frommer’s catalog was sliced from about 300 titles to 20 when it resumed publication in 2013. Where dead-tree guidebooks are waning, mobile travel apps are proliferating, offering users an endless stream of hotel reviews, itineraries and other travel content. The question is whether they can improve on the printed page. “There have been dozens of travel-inspiration apps that have been funded and launched,” says Tom Filippini, CEO of Denver-based. . .

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