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Why Amazon Has No Profits (And Why It Works)

Why Amazon Has No Profits (And Why It Works) [more inside]
posted by gwint on Sep 5, 2014 - 93 comments

Praise The Machine

IBM's 1939 Corperate Song Book.
posted by The Whelk on Aug 29, 2014 - 35 comments

The Rise and Fall of Brownie Wise

In the 1951, impressed by the amount of Tupperware she was selling (especially compared to other outlets), Earl Tupper hired Brownie Wise to run his sales organization. As a VP of the company, she revolutionized Tupperware with her Tupperware parties, her salesforce management, and other sales and marketing techniques, thus allowing him to stay in the background, creating new designs. Sales skyrocketed and Tupperware became popular throughout the United States. [more inside]
posted by julen on Aug 20, 2014 - 21 comments

Sometimes, life is like a box of cacao products

"Enrique Martinez didn't like chocolate, but he was eating as many as 10 pieces a day, drinking chocolate protein shakes and rubbing a chocolate-based skin cream on his face. It was expensive chocolate, too. Martinez and his wife, Michelle, were going through $2,000 in chocolate a month."
posted by reenum on Aug 16, 2014 - 31 comments

BuzzFeed Motion Pictures President Ze Frank

Producer Michael Shamberg Wants to 'Invent the Future' With BuzzFeed Motion Pictures - "I don't think there's ever been a Hollywood R&D model like we have here." (previously 1,2,3) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Aug 13, 2014 - 28 comments

Why the Comcast guy is always late

The Verge talks with current and former Comcast employees about life as a Comcast repair/install technician. [more inside]
posted by misskaz on Aug 4, 2014 - 29 comments

The Confidence Gap

Why are women so less self-assured and why are men so overconfident? The Atlantic takes on what they are calling the "confidence gap," the tendency of women to underplay their expertise to lack confidence in both their achievements and their potential. [more inside]
posted by amanda on Jul 31, 2014 - 57 comments

Lies, damn lies, and negotations

Women are more likely to be lied to at the negotiation table
Women are more likely to be lied to at the negotiation table, according to a recent study led by UC Berkeley researchers at the Haas School of Business. The study, published online July 14, determined that women are more likely to be lied to than men from a series of face-to-face negotiations among about 300 MBA students at Haas.…The cultural stereotype is that women are “too nice” to accuse someone of lying, but the study found that whether or not women were lied to was rooted in how their competence was perceived by their negotiating partner, [lead researcher] Kray said.
[more inside]
posted by Lexica on Jul 31, 2014 - 22 comments

Burger King Is Run by Children

Burger King's CEO is 33 years old. Its head of investor relations is 29 and its CFO is 28.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Jul 24, 2014 - 80 comments

Pizzendämmerung

Monaghan and Ilitch barely know each other. The Domino’s founder says in an interview he can’t recall ever tasting a Little Caesars pizza, “though I must have a long time ago.” A sculpture hanging in the archives at Little Caesars’ headquarters makes fun of a Domino’s slice as having “hard, tasteless crust, topped with artificial, flat, and runny cheese.” It’s a fluke that the chains emerged from the same corner of Michigan at roughly the same time more than 50 years ago. Yet, in different ways, Domino’s and Little Caesars changed the way Americans eat pizza, helping to make it one of the country’s most popular foods. The pizza barons were great at selling pies. Now one wants to save Detroit, and the other wants to save everything else.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 8, 2014 - 36 comments

Risky Business

The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States (PDF); prospectus (PDF); press coverage (YT) - "The signature effects of human-induced climate change—rising seas, increased damage from storm surge, more frequent bouts of extreme heat—all have specific, measurable impacts on our nation's current assets and ongoing economic activity. [The report] uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences for each region of the U.S.—as well as for selected sectors of the economy—if we continue on our current path..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 24, 2014 - 34 comments

The commercialization of mentorship

In the ultra-competitive worlds of business and freelancing, should mentorship come with a fee? Arguments for and against: "When someone asks to pick my brain, I bristle. My brain is how I earn my living — would you ask a plumber to unclog a drain for free?" "Not every investment of time has to be 'worth it.' Sometimes you just have a brief conversation with someone because—why not?"
posted by rcraniac on Jun 24, 2014 - 76 comments

The reporter called the poverty level wages "Sanbornomics."

Take Me to Sanborns: Swiss Enchiladas and Race in Mexico City.
One afternoon early in their stay, [Jack] Johnson and Etta – who was white – walked into the famous Sanborns cafe in Mexico City's historic center for lunch. But before they could even place their order, owner Walter Sanborn refused to serve Johnson on racial lines. Johnson went and found a few of the generals he had met and told them what happened. They returned to Sanborns together and all sat down at the counter. They ordered ice cream. Everybody was served except for Johnson.

posted by Rustic Etruscan on Jun 23, 2014 - 53 comments

American business is about to go... into the RED

The Dissolve's Nathan Rabin kicks off One and Done - a look at writers, directors and actors who only made a significant contribution to a single film - with a dive into Carrot Top's Chairman of the Board.

Cribbing from Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Yahoo Serious, this 1998 opus failed to establish the college prop comic as a box office draw. However, the appearance of Chairman of the Board co-star Courtney Thorne-Smith on Conan O'Brien (with guest Norm MacDonald) is unforgettable.
posted by porn in the woods on Jun 23, 2014 - 53 comments

Dear Marc Andreessen

"Hi, Marc... You seem to think everyone's worried about robots. But what everyone's worried about is you, Marc. Not just you, but people like you. Robots aren't at the levers of financial and political influence today, but folks like you sure are. People are scared of so much wealth and control being in so few hands... Unless we collectively choose to pay for a safety net, technology alone isn't going to make it happen." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 18, 2014 - 50 comments

The Disruption Machine

What the gospel of innovation gets wrong. The championing of "disruption" in modern business is built around some very flaky research that does not bear out its sweeping conconclusions.
posted by smoke on Jun 17, 2014 - 54 comments

Evernote vs. ????

Springpad to shut down. The venerable productivity app that served as a digital filing cabinet and personal organizer, has announced on its blog it will close its doors effective June 25. [more inside]
posted by zooropa on May 29, 2014 - 122 comments

Reveal Thyself!

In the WSJ today, the authors of Freakanomics have an essay reprinted from their new book, entitled "How to Trick the Guilty and Gullible into Revealing Themselves" which discusses several everyday applications of theory practices including the idea that medieval Trial By Ordeal actually worked (previously), why Nigerian scammers reveal they are from Nigeria, and the policy that Zappos came up with in which they offer a cash reward for new hires to quit working there, which other companies have now picked up as well.
posted by Potomac Avenue on May 10, 2014 - 59 comments

First Class

How do you cram a bunch of strangers into an airborne metal tube, charge them a lot of money for the privilege, and get them to rave about it? Hire people like James Park to attract the one percent. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 26, 2014 - 52 comments

Where do you fall on the Smell/Likeability quadrant?

Is your business persona working for you? Stanley Bing as posted an exerpt from his new book, The Curriculum: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Master of the Business Arts. [more inside]
posted by Ruthless Bunny on Apr 17, 2014 - 18 comments

Font designer "supercouple" prepares to do battle in the courts

Popular font designers Frere-Jones and Hoefler split, with one claiming the other was his "employee". "For 15 years, Frere-Jones and Hoefler seemed charmed. They made typefaces that rendered the stock charts in the Wall Street Journal readable and helped Martha Stewart sell cookbooks. They created an alphabet for the New York Jets, based on the team’s logo. And they saw their lettering chiseled into stone as part of the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. Last year, the duo won the AIGA Medal, the profession’s highest award. It seemed to be one of those rare situations whereby two successful soloists had combined to make an even better supergroup. Hoefler was asked if there were any troubles in their working relationship for a video produced for the AIGA in 2013. “We do have a longstanding disagreement over the height of the lower case t,” he said. “That is the only point of contention.” Not quite. An interesting story about a business partnership of supposed equals - or were they? - going very, very sour.
posted by mitschlag on Apr 11, 2014 - 31 comments

Wizards finding a path out of the dungeon

How did Pathfinder become the only table-top role-playing game ever to outsell Dungeons & Dragons, outpacing it 2:1? What were the economics of the Open Gaming License, whereby Wizards of the Coast effectively gave away the rules to its flagship D&D product? Why did the table-top market collapse? This and more on Episode 73 of the Game Design Roundtable podcast, with guest Ryan Dancey, architect of the Open Gaming License strategy at Wizards of the Coast, and former marketing exec at CCP Games (makers of EVE Online). Dancey is now the business lead on Pathfinder Online, an upcoming sandbox fantasy RPG broadly in the mold of EVE and Ultima Online. TGDRT is usually about game design, but this episode is a fascinating look into the business side of the RPG world, both online and off -- from someone who has been at the heart of the most interesting business cases in the space. The first 30 minutes are all about business history and economics. [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Apr 2, 2014 - 71 comments

How Chipotle transformed itself by upending its approach to management

Hiring, rewarding, and empowering top performers Compared to most fast-food chains, Chipotle favors human skill over rules, robots, and timers. So how did the Mexican-style food chain come to be like this while expanding massively since the 2000s? In part due to promoting from within instead of hiring culinary graduates.Today nearly 96% of hourly managers are the result of internal promotions.
posted by 2manyusernames on Mar 29, 2014 - 61 comments

Emerge, splurge, purge

Western firms have piled into emerging markets in the past 20 years. Now comes the reckoning
Although the average company has prospered, there have been disasters; plenty of firms and some whole industries need a rethink. The emerging-market rush may end up like a giant version of the first internet boom 15 years ago. The broad thrust was right but some big mistakes were made.

posted by infini on Mar 14, 2014 - 16 comments

The business of internet cat videos

“It isn’t just the crazy cat ladies, although they’re there in droves. It’s the six year-olds chanting the name of their favourite cats. It’s the hipsters there smoking cigarettes, hip-hop dudes, country dudes… It is the kind of thing where you have to learn to make everybody happy,”
posted by jason's_planet on Mar 9, 2014 - 6 comments

Coin Rules Everything Around Me

In 2014, Bitcoin (BTC) has become established as increasingly "real" money with government regulatory interest, law enforcement, and growing acceptance in commerce, but also as the reserve cryptocurrency for hundreds of "altcoins," making them also convertible to legacy money. Foremost among these is Litecoin (LTC), which introduced the scrypt hashing algorithm to cryptocurrency, democratizing coin mining by being best suited to common GPUs rather than Bitcoin's dedicated mining equipment. Recently donated LTC paid for a forest in Madagascar. Peercoin (PPC), next in prominence, introduces "proof of stake" where less energy is spent mining and existing coins pay interest. Dogecoin (DOGE), a fork of Litecoin (previously covered on Metafilter), continues heading to the moon, with more transactions than all other coins combined, thriving markets in digital goods, tipbots, an upcoming party in NYC's Bitcoin Center on Wall Street, much charity, and the recent announcement that new Dogecoins will be generated indefinitely. A selection of other foremost and interesting cryptocurrencies is within. [more inside]
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth on Feb 5, 2014 - 319 comments

offshore companies for everyone!

Want to get away with not paying taxes but don't have the money to make your own offshore company in the Cayman Islands? Fret not - you can hijack an existing offshore company starting from the low low price of 99 cents! [more inside]
posted by divabat on Jan 25, 2014 - 10 comments

Can we go back to the beginning?

ConferenceCall.biz: a slice of ambient corporate hell.
posted by rollick on Jan 3, 2014 - 92 comments

Why the Web Won't Be Nirvana

"After two decades online, I'm perplexed. It's not that I haven't had a gas of a good time on the Internet. I've met great people and even caught a hacker or two. But today, I'm uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community. Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic. Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth [is] no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works." A view of the Internet's future from February 26, 1995 at 7:00 PM
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 12, 2013 - 41 comments

Epic Fail

Demand Media, once valued higher than the New York Times, is seeing a rapid decrease in profits because of Google changing its search algorithms. Does this mean the beginning of the end for "content farms"?
posted by reenum on Dec 10, 2013 - 41 comments

Dogfood

You might now be running in your head to a well worn path of justified resistance, phoning up the ol’ gang, circling the hippocampian wagons of amygdalian resistance. Hold on a sec, pilgrim. Yahoo urges its employees to switch from using outlook to Yahoo Mail in a bizare internal email. Meanwhile, as Microsoft abandons the hated practice of stack ranking Yahoo adopts it as its own.  But hey, they have Katie Couric now!
posted by Artw on Nov 25, 2013 - 86 comments

Millions of people follow his biblically inspired advice.

The Prophet: Meet Dave Ramsey, the most important personal finance guru in America. There's probably no better way to learn about the financial lives of individual Americans than to spend a few hours listening to The Dave Ramsey Show, which airs in every major media market in the United States...Listen long enough and you realize you are hearing the raw, unfiltered tragedy of the economic plagues facing 21st-century America. [via]
posted by mediareport on Nov 1, 2013 - 86 comments

On Amazon and world retail domination.

Ex-Amazon employee Eugene Wei on Amazon's "profitless business model" fallacy, and why the claims that Amazon is not profitable are fundamentally wrong. "If Amazon has so many businesses that do make a profit, then why is it still showing quarterly losses, and why has even free cash flow decreased in recent years? Because Amazon has boundless ambition. It wants to eat global retail. This is one area where the press and pundits accept Amazon's statements at face value. Given that giant mission, Amazon has decided to continue to invest to arm itself for a much larger scale of business. If it were purely a software business, its fixed cost investments for this journey would be lower, but the amount of capital required to grow a business that has to ship millions of packages to customers all over the world quickly is something only a handful of companies in the world could even afford." Wei also previously touched on this in Amazon, Apple, and the beauty of low margins.
posted by jaduncan on Oct 27, 2013 - 36 comments

“You know what you are, you franchise bastards.”

When the announcement had been made that Wimbledon FC would be moved to Milton Keynes, to later be rebranded MK Dons, a meeting was called by Wimbledon fans. Toward the end of a charged meeting in the Wimbledon Community Centre, Kris Stewart, then chair of the Wimbledon Independent Supporters Club, realized that the fans had no chance of hanging on to their club and that no amount of protests would stop the franchise moving to Milton Keynes. In that moment Stewart made his walk through the crowd toward the microphone. “I’m tired of fighting,” he said before issuing a spontaneous rallying cry that has become legendary among fans of AFC Wimbledon. “I just want to watch football.” (SLTheMorningNews)
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Oct 24, 2013 - 9 comments

Blind Bets vs Sure Things

Few industries would routinely pay millions per unit of an item, sight unseen, with minimal (and sometimes no) market research. So how can the TV business afford to operate this way? To understand the economics of scripted television, we need to examine the idiosyncratic journey of a show from concept, to pitch, to script, to screen. And we’ll see why, in a business where only a few hits stand out any given year, lavish spending is the cost of staying relevant. -- The Economics of a Hit TV Show
posted by Potomac Avenue on Oct 23, 2013 - 56 comments

20-years on the bench pays off

As the 2013-14 NBA season approaches, the last year of the reign of Commissioner David Stern, Sports Business Journal takes an in-depth look at his successor, New Media enthusiast, marathon runner, and fan of competitive balance, Adam Silver. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Oct 22, 2013 - 39 comments

Eugene Fama: "I was getting kind of tired of French..."

"... and so I took an economics course and I loved it," during a phone interview in the early morning today. Likewise, conversations with Robert Shiller and Lars Peter Hansen, shortly after the 2013 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded jointly to them for their academic contributions to the field of asset pricing. UChicago News, Yale News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Bloomberg report. [more inside]
posted by ilicet on Oct 14, 2013 - 23 comments

Taken to the gleaners

Blackberry will be harvested by a private equity firm for US $4.7 billion. Generally blamed for their own decline by disdaining the massive rush of popularity of competing smartphones and becoming increasingly well-known for the bizarre behavior of their leadership, Blackberry hoped to turn things around by ejecting their co-CEOs, rebranding from Research In Motion to the name of their sole product, and launching a new spate of products: OS 10, new generation of touchscreen phones, and planning a second attempt at tablets. In spite of some misguided punditry predicting a new era, they won no love from either the reviewers or the public. [more inside]
posted by ardgedee on Sep 23, 2013 - 85 comments

Those paid more than the value they create are thieves.

Quit. Quit early and quit often, not when something is hard, but when something isn't for you. That's the way you find your genius, (YT) says Prof. Deepak Malhotra, who gave this among other tips to graduating students at Harvard Business School in a speech on how to avoid the tragedy of living an unhappy life. [more inside]
posted by shivohum on Sep 22, 2013 - 48 comments

Ferguson's formula

Before retiring in May 2013, Sir Alex Ferguson spent 26 seasons as the manager of Manchester United, the English football (soccer) club that ranks among the most successful and valuable franchises in sports. During that time the club won 13 English league titles along with 25 other domestic and international trophies—giving him an overall haul nearly double that of the next-most-successful English club manager. In 2012 Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse had a unique opportunity to examine Ferguson’s management approach and developed an HBS case study around it. Now she and Ferguson have collaborated on an analysis of his enormously successful methods.
posted by criticalbill on Sep 10, 2013 - 17 comments

Why do so many incompetent men become leaders

In my view, the main reason for the uneven management sex ratio is our inability to discern between confidence and competence. That is, because we (people in general) commonly misinterpret displays of confidence as a sign of competence, we are fooled into believing that men are better leaders than women. In other words, when it comes to leadership, the only advantage that men have over women (e.g., from Argentina to Norway and the USA to Japan) is the fact that manifestations of hubris — often masked as charisma or charm — are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and that these occur much more frequently in men than in women. -- The Harvard Business Review asks why are less than competent men getting leadership positions when much more qualified women aren't?
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 5, 2013 - 65 comments

Sell, Mortimer, Sell!

Why It Makes Perfect Sense for MTV to Host the VMAs and Not Show Music Videos
posted by reenum on Aug 31, 2013 - 39 comments

Mark your calendars

Launching my first product : Brand, Make, Sell Sell, Make, Brand
posted by Gyan on Aug 29, 2013 - 31 comments

Being loyal to a corporation is sick. It is genuine madness.

A corporation is not a living creature. It has no soul. It has no heart. It has no feelings. It can neither experience towards you nor enjoy from you even the concept of loyalty. It is a legal fiction, and it exists for one purpose only: to make profit. If you assist in this goal in the long term, your ongoing association with the organization is facilitated. If you detract from it consistently, you will be cut. Family is “where they have to take you in no matter what you’ve done.” A corporation is… well, it’s sort of the exact opposite of this.
Be loyal to yourself.
posted by Foci for Analysis on Aug 20, 2013 - 88 comments

The Opt-Out Revolution, Revisited

In 2003, the New York Times published a lengthy article by Lisa Belkin about women who were choosing to leave the workforce to be stay-at-home moms: The Opt-Out Generation. In the the last ten years, the article's conclusions regarding upper-middle-class women's choices about work and motherhood have been debated, studied, rediscovered, denied, lamented, and defended. It's been noted by many that "most mothers have to work to make ends meet but the press writes mostly about the elite few who don’t." Ms. Belkin's piece also never mentioned what what a disaster divorce or the death of a spouse can create for dependent women in such situations. After a decade, the Times is revisiting the topic: The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In.
posted by zarq on Aug 7, 2013 - 64 comments

The Last Days of Big Law

Of all the occupational golden ages to come and go in the twentieth century—for doctors, journalists, ad-men, autoworkers—none lasted longer, felt cushier, and was all in all more golden than the reign of the law partner. Noam Schreiber on The Last Days of Big Law: You can't imagine the terror when the money dries up. Former law partner Steven J. Harper, author of The Lawyer Bubble, believes the profession to be in existential crisis. Another former partner weighs in. Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein presents a more sanguine view.
posted by shivohum on Jul 22, 2013 - 55 comments

"The bloodiest battles took place in the marketing meetings"

Plagued by the realities threatening many retail stores, Sears also faces a unique problem (alternate link): [CEO Eddie] Lampert. Lampert runs Sears like a hedge fund portfolio, with dozens of autonomous businesses competing for his attention and money. An outspoken advocate of free-market economics and fan of the novelist Ayn Rand, he created the model because he expected the invisible hand of the market to drive better results. If the company’s leaders were told to act selfishly, he argued, they would run their divisions in a rational manner, boosting overall performance.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jul 12, 2013 - 119 comments

"We were not asked for our approval, and we did not give our approval."

This was not the act of a fringe contingent. The letter—which, until now, has never been published in its entirety—is signed by 154 staffers, including J.D. Salinger, Calvin Trillin, John McPhee, Jamaica Kincaid, Saul Steinberg and Janet Malcolm. There are a few notable abstentions, including John Updike and Charles McGrath, who would soon be named Gottlieb's deputy. At the bottom, it reads "cc: S. I. Newhouse."
The Letter: Robert Gottlieb's Tenure as the New Yorker's Managing Editor, Elon Green, The Awl (SLTheAwl)
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Jul 11, 2013 - 12 comments

The Corporate States of America

Steve Lovelace created a map that shows the corporation that best represents each state of the US.
posted by reenum on Jun 30, 2013 - 96 comments

Apple's Folly

The story of the Pippin game console
posted by Artw on Jun 11, 2013 - 53 comments

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