“All the news that fit on smartphone”: NYT continues to face transformation challenge

The NYT Times has worked hard to cut costs and get people to pay for digital content. It has been more successful in this quest that many other newspapers around the world.  But as more and more people read their news on smartphones, it faces challenges from digital-only news sources. Politico has published an insightful piece on the big transformation that still lies ahead for the NYT if it wants defend its position as leading news organization.

Politico.com: New York Times braces for big change

The 10 Most Valuable Brands in Australia

Australia’s most valuable brands. I would have not guessed them correctly.

Beyond Profits: Tesla’s fundamental objective to hasten the transition to electric vehicles

Elon Musk gave an interview that makes it clear that the fundamental objective for Tesla is not profits.

 

Question: The German automakers just presented their responses to Tesla in Frankfurt at the international automobile show. What do you think of the Audi e-tron quattro and the Porsche Mission E?

Any action in the direction of electric mobility is good. Our goal at Tesla is for cars to transition to e-vehicles. That’s why we opened up all our patents for use by anybody.

And who has used them?

Maybe the companies you already mentioned. When I saw a diagram of Porsche’s Mission E, I thought: It looks exactly like our car. Which is fine. It’s more important to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport.

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Source: Handelsblatt.com

How much uncertainty is there in different industries

Jeff Dyer, Nathan Furr, and Curtis Lefrandt have put together a useful graphic on the relative uncertainty in different industries.

uncertainty

Full Story on HBR.org

Game Theory:  Why it became so popular and why it often is hard

John Cassidy explains in the New Yorker:


Thanks to the sterling efforts of Sylvia Nasar, Ron Howard, and Russell Crowe, many people are aware that John Nash, the Princeton mathematician who was killed over the weekend in a car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike, lived a remarkable life. It included early academic stardom, decades of struggling with schizophrenia, and, in 1994, a shared Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. But outside the field of economics, Nash’s contribution to game theory, for which he was awarded the Nobel, remains rather less well understood.

Although it is often used in economics, game theory can be applied to any venue where people, or other decision makers, interact strategically and follow rules-based behavior. The setting could be nuclear negotiations, such as the ones currently taking place between Iran and the great powers. It could be a product market, in which a number of firms compete for business. Or it could be a political campaign, in which various candidates try to outdo each other. The word “strategically” is important, because the various players, in choosing from a variety of possible moves, take account of one another’s actions, or likely actions. And the phrase “rules-based” means that the players are acting purposefully and seeking to maximize their own advantages, rather than behaving passively, or randomly.


Full Story

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Gerhard Steidl’s Fundamental Objective for his Printing Business

Gerhardt Steidl was asked: Many people call you the “king of printing” and some artists will trust no one else with their books. In what way are Steidl’s books different than other books?

He replied:

Most of the publishing houses in the world are owned by shareholder companies and their interest is to make profit. My publishing house is a private business. I founded it in 1968 and it is still owned by me. It is a family business. It is a Manufaktur and we don’t set any limits on cost. A Steidl book is always made in Germany, in Göttingen, in Düstere Straße 4 and there is a guy, Gerhard Steidl, who is hands on. So, believe it or not, I oversee every sheet that tumbles out of our press. This craftsmanship and this know-how we bring to every one of our babies, our books, makes a huge difference compared to the production processes of other companies.

Source:  The Talks

What is impact investing

CEO of Qantas highlights that some private investors explicitly do not focus on financial returns but on social impact. This is called impact investing. 

Joyce writes on LinkedIn: It’s not a well-known term in Australia, perhaps because our economic prosperity makes it seem less relevant. But the impact investment market here is growing, targeting areas of social disadvantage that government funding alone can’t fix, from unemployment to homelessness. The point of difference is that an investment relationship requires much more sustained engagement between the investor and the business they’re supporting, compared with a one-off donation or grant.

Indigenous businesses have a particular interest in the potential for impact investment. The Forrest report found that Indigenous enterprises are 100 times more likely to employ Indigenous Australians than other businesses, so building the capacity of these enterprises is vital. Organisations like the CAPE Fund in Canada and Indigenous Business Australia show the way forward, and Qantas is playing a role through our Reconciliation Action Plan, partnerships with Career Trackers and Supply Nation, and backing for ventures such as the North Kimberley carbon offset project.

To read more about impact investing on the Inside Policy blog, click here, and to read John Simon’s landmark report, More than Money, click here.

A Good Strategy is like a Good Story

Tan Story

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In this context this quote by Jim March also is relevant: 

“Leadership involves plumbing as well as poetry.”

Founders sell WhatsApp to Facebook: Motives not clear

The founders of Whatsapp were very clear that did not not what to sell advertisement through the messaging app.  (See their 2012 statement.They did not even want to collect data on their users.  So why did they sell themselves to Facebook, which is all about collecting more data on us to sell it to advertisers?  Here is a clue in their blog.  Maybe they were tired of having to manage a business rather than just design a product.

Home Depot changes its strategy in China after failing to achieve its targets

Home Depot is not the first company to find out that the strategy that worked well back home does not work in a foreign country. Wal-Mart failed in Germany not realizing that the competitive landscape was different. Starbucks failed in Australia, closing most of its shops because the Australian consumer was used to much sophisticated coffee. The WSJ journal reports on the changes in the Home Depot China strategy after failing to implement the previous one successfully.

Home Depot Learns Chinese Prefer ‘Do-It-for-Me’
The largest U.S. home-improvement retailer, which entered China in 2006, has struggled to gain traction in a country where cheap labor has stunted the do-it-yourself ethos and apartment-based living leaves scarce demand for products like lumber.
Home Depot conceded that it misread the country’s appetite for do-it-yourself products. “The market trend says this is more of a do-it-for-me culture,” a Home Depot spokeswoman said of China.Home Depot is shaking up its strategy by focusing on specialty stores. Three months ago, it opened one paint-and-flooring store and one home-decorations outlet in the northern port city of Tianjin to cater to specific needs and shopping preferences shown by Chinese consumers, the spokeswoman said. It also plans to launch online operations with a Chinese partner, she said, without naming the company.

Home Depot debuted in China with a 12-store acquisition six years ago and the number has since dwindled as it found that Chinese consumers differ from their global counterparts. As Swedish furniture giant IKEA discovered, Chinese consumers will pay for people to do the work for them. Several years ago, the furniture store added services to help customers assemble their furniture.

Home Depot’s closures will cause the company to take a $160 million after-tax charge in the third quarter, a company statement said. The charge will be equal to about 10 cents per diluted share, and will include the impairment of goodwill and other assets, lease terminations, severance and other charges associated with closing the stores.

Full Story

Deutsche Bank lowers ROE target from 25% to 12%

When a company has a very high financial targets, employees are encouraged to do everything possible to achieve it, which in turn may lead to an unwanted increase in the level of risk that the firm faces. As the FT.com reports, the new leadership of the Deutsche Bank determined that the target was to high. They may have felt that they needed to curb the risk taking in the bank.

Deutsche’s new co-chief executives are expected to make a decisive break with the decade-long era of Josef Ackermann, their predecessor, when they will drop a target of generating a 25 per cent pre-tax return on equity. At a strategy presentation in Frankfurt after 100 days in charge of the bank, Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen are set to announce a “substantially lower return on equity target”, one person close to the situation said.High quality global journalism requires investment. They are also expected to unveil a strategy for much closer integration of the bank’s business lines, make significant changes to the bank’s bonus model and give more details on a plan to take out €3bn of costs.Analysts estimate that the new goal could be in the region of 12 to 13 per cent ROE after tax – a benchmark more commonly looked at by investors than the pre-tax figure.

Full Story on ft.com

Fundamental Objective for Founder of HTC is making unique products rather than margin

Chou [CEO of HTC] said he cares more about making unique products than making good profit margins. He listens and acts quickly. Often, when Beats co-founder and music producer Jimmy Iovine calls with an idea, Chou will have sent off an e-mail about it before the conversation is over, Iovine said. Chou said he tests the music himself. A $300 million controlling stake in Beats Electronics LLC, the headphones maker backed by rapper Dr. Dre, was part of a strategy to lure music enthusiasts with a marketing plan that included bringing singer Lady Gaga to an Oct. 6 audio party in London to release the HTC Sensation XL, its first handset featuring Beats audio technology and headphones.

Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek

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