Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 11/6/15

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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 Gravity Payments, Target, REI, WebDAM, and Cielo.

From Paul Keegan: Here’s What Really Happened at That Company That Set a $70,000 Minimum Wage

“Dan Price decided to pay all 120 employees at least $70,000. Grown men cried. Profits soared. Then things got really crazy.”

From Kavita Kumar: Target tests international expansion through online portals

“After picking itself up from a disaster in Canada, the Minneapolis-based retailer is once again testing the international waters. Only this time, it’s not doing anything as risky or costly as building new stores. For now, Target is embarking on a much cheaper and faster expansion through online channels.”

From Jena McGregor: One big reason REI can decide to skip Black Friday

“It was savvy marketing, a generous employee benefit and an external display of the brand’s principles all rolled int0 one. It’s also an example of something REI can do because it’s one of the country’s few large retail cooperatives and not a publicly traded company.”

From Mary Johnson: How WebDAM CEO Jody Vandergriff bootstrapped her way to a Shutterstock acquisition

“So yeah, now she can talk about the benefits of bootstrapping: how it allowed her company to focus on product-market fit, how it made her and her team hyper-focused on efficiency and return on investment, how it kept her from giving away too much of the company for too little money.”

From Kathleen Gallagher: Marks keeps Cielo in the fast lane of recruitment

“When a private equity firm in 2012 acquired a majority stake in Sue Marks’ company, she said she believed there was a ‘lot of road left’ for Pinstripe Inc., a Brookfield human resource services provider. Pinstripe, which Marks founded in 2005, had 450 employees when Menlo Park, Calif.-based Accel-KKR bought its position. Now called Cielo, the company boasts 1,300 employees and more than $100 million of annual revenue.”

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