5/2/14: 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  about Grubhub, Avon, Proctor and Gamble, Dogg Haus, and NPS Pharmaceuticals.

From Kathy Gersch: What Is GrubHub’s Biggest Opportunity? Not Where You’d Expect

“What has struck me about the coverage of the IPO, however, has been how little the media is talking about what may be the company’s single greatest asset – its data. Grubhub, which also operates the Seamless delivery service in the New York region, collects data on the spending and ordering behaviors of users placing more than 150,000 orders each day from nearly 29,000 restaurants in 600 cities. Despite the wealth of information at its fingertips, there has been little discussion about how the company might use this data.”

From Jessica Leeder: The second coming of the Avon Lady

“It’s still a business that’s predominantly run by women for women. But that extra X chromosome is about the only thing that today’s direct salespeople have in common with their 1950s counterparts. The suburban housewives who flogged Tupperware and Mary Kay have now been replaced by doctors, lawyers and business executives who are driving a direct sales boom in Canada.”

From Alexander Coolidge: A year at P&G: Lafley’s 5 big moves

“Company officials say Lafley is concentrating his energies on improving the company’s results. His actions so far portray a corporate leader willing to remake a Fortune 500 company he transformed once before. Can he do it again? These five moves are worth watching for results:”

From Tom Daykin: Dogg Haus opens fifth location, considers plan to franchise the brand

“Mazen Muna was less than three years out of college when he quit his job to start a tiny restaurant on Milwaukee’s Brady St. with a menu centered on one item: the Chicago-style hot dog. Nine years later, Muna, 34, has just opened his fifth Dogg Haus restaurant and is considering plans to franchise the brand.”

From François Nader: How We Built a New Company Culture

“Too often, any thought of changing a culture, never mind rebuilding it, seems like a Sisyphean task; the weight of the status quo ultimately rolls back and crushes such efforts. I learned this while leading a turnaround of NPS Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company that now specializes in creating treatments for rare diseases. To save the 20-year-old company, I had to get it operating like a start-up. In the process, I came up with six rules that could also help others change their cultures.”

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