Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 12/11/15

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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 Barry Diller, Slack, Kiko, CommCore, and Weight Watchers.

From Andrew Ross Sorkin: Barry Diller’s Business Model Bears Fruit

“Mr. Diller, the colorful media mogul turned early Internet evangelist, has somewhat accidentally built a unique business model: Buy digital businesses, fold them into a conglomerate and then spin out the most successful ones, like the Match Group, the online dating company that had its initial public offering last Thursday after being carved out of IAC. Match now has a market value of about $3.7 billion.”

From Jeff Bercovici: Slack Is Our Company of the Year

“Stewart Butterfield has taken Slack from idea to software juggernaut in just over three years, entirely by word of mouth. What’s the secret to Slack’s phenomenal growth? It’s in the name.”

From the Economist: A shake-up in make-up

“COPYING can be a form of innovation when a company pinches ideas from a different industry and applies them to its own. This is what Kiko, a Milanese cosmetics company, is doing. It is adopting the principles already used to great success by ‘fast-fashion’ clothing chains such as Zara and H&M: constantly changing the line-up of products in its stores to encourage customers to visit frequently; responding rapidly to the latest consumer trends; and keeping prices low. Its success is encouraging some of the industry’s bigger brands to rethink their distribution model.”

From Andrew Gilman: How does a firm survive and prosper over 3 decades?

“During the celebratory toasts for my company’s 30th anniversary, one of our contractor consultants raised his glass and said, ‘Congratulations! And thank you for always paying on 30 days.’ Other toasts highlighted CommCore’s high-profile success preparing clients for ’60 Minutes’ interviews, Congressional testimony and launching consumer products and IPOs. But the ‘paying on time’ compliment struck a particular note about the little/big things a business needs to pay attention to in order to survive and prosper for 30 years.”

From Ellen Byron: Weight Watchers’ Plan: Don’t Call It a ‘Diet’

“To win back members, company pushes lifestyle change rather than just dieting; gains Oprah Winfrey’s support.”

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