Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 1/29/16

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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 ESPN, Google, Dutch Hollow Farms, Epic Systems, and the Italian fashion industry.

From Amol Sharma and Shalini Ramachandran: ESPN’s John Skipper Plays Offense on Cord-Cutting

“The mood among investors changed last August when Disney disclosed that ESPN had lost pay TV subscribers and dialed back profit projections for its media networks. That showed that even with its unrivaled sports rights and powerful position in the TV world, ESPN was vulnerable to the forces sweeping through media, as consumers cut the cable cord.”

From Conor Dougherty: How Larry Page’s Obsessions Became Google’s Business

“Mr. Page is hardly the first Silicon Valley chief with a case of intellectual wanderlust, but to a rare degree he has made his company a reflection of his personal fascinations.”

From Geoffrey Mohan: Modesto farmer has blossomed into a tulip peddler

“John ‘Farmer John’ Bos, 44, is owner-operator of Dutch Hollow Farms, an agri-tourism business on 65 acres on the northern edge of Modesto, across from a Best Buy and a Home Depot. He runs a popular pumpkin patch in the fall. In spring, he defies the scorching heat of the Central Valley to grow thousands of tulips for public picking. In a decade, his business has grown from ‘beer money’ to about $300,000 in annual sales.”

From Guy Boulton: Epic Systems soars with transition to electronic health records

“Founded with a $70,000 investment in 1979 in a basement office, with a computer Faulkner says ‘sounded like a washing machine,’ Epic today commands nearly a quarter of the U.S. hospital market in the rapidly expanding industry of electronic health records.”

From Marie Driscoll: Made In Italy

“In the summer of 2014, London’s famed Victoria and Albert Museum hosted a comprehensive design exhibit, The Glamour of Italian Fashion – 1945 to 2014, which has since moved on to tour internationally. The exhibit documents a postwar Italy, eager to return to its past splendor, and the confluence of economic interests pushing for development of a national textile and clothing industry. These circumstances were amplified by an expanding film industry that influenced fashion, and ultimately the development of ready-to-wear.”

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