4/4/14: Stories and Strategies from Real Life

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Some of the best learning happens when you read stories about real people and real companies. Read them for ideas, for lessons, and inspiration. This week’s stories and strategies from real life are Are You a Human, Apple, Andrew Roby, Chick-fil-A, and Petplan.

From Frank Witsil: Playing online game helps reinforce brand of tech company Are You a Human

“Tyler Paxton and Reid Tatoris — cofounders of a tech company with an intriguing name, Are You a Human — are business school classmates who have built a business on a simple idea: How to make Internet experiences less annoying.”

From Colin Pope: Steve Wozniak says Apple’s plenty innovative, but needs to invent

“Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak tells Austin Business Journal editor Colin Pope that the tech giant is plenty innovative, coming up with new wrinkles for existing products constantly. What Apple lacks right now is invention.”

From Caroline McMillan Portillo: Charlotte-based general contractor morphs into family of companies

“Trent Haston calls it ‘polishing the diamond.’ It’s a phrase the 35-year-old company president and CEO picked up from a book by billionaire business magnate Warren Buffett. And it’s the perfect metaphor for what he’s done for the Andrew Roby name.”

From  Venessa Wong: Chick-fil-A Stole KFC’s Chicken Crown With a Fraction of the Stores

“Anyone in the northern half of the U.S. is likely scratching her head and wondering why she hasn’t seen Chick-fil-A outlets opening in the neighborhood. Last year Chick-fil-A only had about 1,775 U.S. stores to KFC’s 4,491, and most are in the South. Yet in dollar terms the Colonel is coming up short even with that much larger footprint: Chick-fil-A’s 2013 sales passed $5 billion, while all of KFC’s U.S. restaurants rang up about $4.22 billion, according to Technomic. And that’s with zero dollars coming in to Chick-fil-A on Sundays, when every restaurant is closed.”

From Karsten Strauss: Dogs, Cats And A Moneymaking Machine: Meet Petplan

“Every pet owner has a horror story about shelling out for a sick animal. In 2001 British expats Chris and Natasha Ashton had barely settled into student life in the M.B.A. program at the  Wharton School when their cat Bodey came down with a mysterious case of anorexia–and rang up a $5,000 vet bill. But instead of getting mad, they got entrepreneurial, hatching a plan to sell pet insurance. Last year the husband-and-wife team sold $53 million worth of  Petplan policies for cats and dogs.”

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