In the age of coronavirus, American consumer product companies, like General Mills, are working overtime to ensure that people stay fed in an era of self-containment. It has been almost two weeks since President Trump declared a national emergency, and numerous states followed with “safer-at-home” orders. In a matter of days, Americans went from eating… Continue reading
How the private equity model drove one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies into a corner.
Combatting counterfeit products on Amazon is one of the most significant issues facing brands today. According to a Gartner-L2 study, 1/3 of all reviews for products listed by third-party sellers contain the words “fake” or “counterfeit.” Marker recently ran an interesting article on S’well, the fashionable water bottle company. The company, which reached sales of… Continue reading
Innovation is a somewhat nebulous concept in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. Every company will claim innovation is a priority, but very few are good at it. In fact, I would say that most CPG companies are terrible at it. From the WSJ Gum makers are mixing everything from vitamins to candy into their… Continue reading
Reengineering Retail isn’t a bad book. It’s just…whatever. Written by Doug Stephens, Reengineering Retail tries to lay out a theory that encompasses the future of retail. The central idea is this. Digital technology has upended the traditional retail industry. The retail store is no longer a static distribution point for a product. Instead, Stephens, a self-proclaimed “consumer futurist”, sees them as “experiential media channels.” Now, throw in a bunch of business buzzwords, technology-centric case studies, and a weird 20-page diversion into innovation consulting, and you have successfully described Reengineering Retail.
Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia University, spent the last decade establishing himself as one of the pre-eminent antitrust thinkers. In the Master Switch and The Attention Merchants, Wu used a wide-angle lens to examine the implications of the rising information cartels on American business and society. In The Curse of Bigness, Wu takes… Continue reading
In Hit Makers, Derek Thompson tries to explain why some ideas become popular and others fade away. It’s an important question and one facing every content creator in today’s hyper-competitive media landscape. Technology platforms like Spotify, Facebook, and Twitter have transformed media into a winner take’s all market. How does a new band break through… Continue reading
In the thirty-some years since it fell, American analysis of the Soviet Union has been reduced to one sentiment: communism failed because capitalism is superior. Professional people—especially ones employed by media companies—spend an awful lot of time and energy attempting to rationalize its downfall through clichéd ideological arguments. They bring up the work of Hayek,… Continue reading
I read The Most Powerful Idea in the World, William Rosen’s book about the invention of the steam engine, for two reasons, one of which was Bill Gates’ glowing recommendation. In his review, he raved about how Rosen was one of the first people to successfully argue that patent law had a large impact on… Continue reading
Like many great companies, today the Falk Corporation is forgotten. At its height, it perfected the silicon chips of the industrial era. Falk designed and manufactured fat gears and thin gears, cheap gears and expensive gears, gears that could open the Panama Canal, and gears that fit on a small desk. It made gears for… Continue reading