2. When the federal government shuttered in October, Starbucks (SBUX, Fortune 500)CEO Howard Schultz refused to sit on the sidelines while businesses everywhere suffered. Instead, Schultz wrote a petition calling on his peers to rally together and put pressure on Congress to come to an agreement.
3. Few years in recent decades dawned with as much of a sense of pessimism as 2014. One consistent theme in the predictions for the year was that 2014 looked eerily similar to 1914. Most pundits predicted doom and gloom, especially in east Asia. Yet, while there were many horrific events — from thedowning of flight MH17 over Ukraine, to the abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria and the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — we have avoided outright world war. Now that the year is closed, with no repetition of 1914, it may be wise to investigate why the pundits were wrong, particularly on their ideas around the potential for conflict in Asia.
5. The ability of customers to air their dirty laundry to the world via Twitter and Facebook has already changed the customer service game. A 2012 Nielsen survey shows more than half of all customers now turn to social media for redress; meanwhile, some 81% of Twitter users expect a same-day response to questions and complaints. But this fall, things got even more interesting: On Sept. 2, British Airways passenger Hasan Syed spent an estimated $1,000 to purchase several promoted Tweets blasting the company for losing luggage. With paid social media now in customers' arsenal, 2014 may mark the beginning of the end of abysmal customer service at major airlines, credit card companies, banks, and other repeat offenders, characterized by endless phone wait times and those automated "phone trees" (i.e., "Press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish, 3 to waste your entire afternoon on hold ...").