Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 10/31/14

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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 AIG, Feetures!, Google, Amazon, and Mars Inc.

From Murli Buluswar and Martin Reeves: How AIG Moved Toward Evidence-Based Decision Making

“How can companies better manage the process of converting the potential of data science to real business outcomes? How can companies go beyond merely generating new insights to changing behaviors—not only of their employees, but customers too? We would like to offer some lessons from AIG’s early experiences with deploying new analytical tools to leaders across industries who may be considering embarking on a similar journey.”

From Jonathan McFadden: Charlotte-area specialty sock company Feetures! finds the right fit

“Like any runner, Jonathan Vogel doesn’t want his socks to slip or his feet to blister.”

From Rolfe Winkler: In New Structure, Google CEO Page Aims for ‘Faster, Better Decisions’

“Google CEO Larry Page says the 16-year-old company is showing signs of age, and Page wants to make sure it stays innovative.”

From Peter Fader and Daniel Raff: Amazon’s Future: Looking Beyond the Balance Sheet

“Amazon has not been an investors’ darling of late, and the guessing game over the exact game plan of its founder and CEO Jeff Bezos just got more confounding. The company posted a worse-than-expected $437 million loss for the last quarter. To boot, the world’s biggest online retailer also said it expects weak revenue growth in the 2014 holiday season. Amazon projected a 7%-18% revenue growth for the current quarter compared to the 20% it achieved in earlier years. Consequently, the company’s share price dropped more than 8% after the announcement, and Monday’s close of $290 is far off from the year’s high of $407 in January.”

From Annie Gasparro: Mars Inc.: Chocolate Minus Wall Street

“While many U.S. food companies are closing factories and cutting staff, Mars Inc. recently opened its first new chocolate factory in the country in 35 years to feed Americans’ seemingly boundless hunger for sweets.”

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