Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 2/12/16

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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 Apple, IBM, Sears, Brian Holoubek, and Amazon.

From Juan Pablo Vazquez Sampere: Apple’s Shrinking Impact in the Smartphone Industry

“But the longer-term picture is not so rosy. The very same disruption process that has made Apple so successful at capturing growth from other industries is also happening elsewhere in the smartphone industry. Apple is getting plenty of competition at the low end of the market. Samsung was first, of course, but now there’s also Xiaomi and many other companies with similar smartphone offerings.”

From Evangelos Simoudis and Brad Power: The 5 Things IBM Needs to Do to Win at AI

“What to do next: Even when it buys private companies, IBM traditionally has favored buying and scaling ones with significant current revenue, rather than buying ones that only have IP. This strategy is natural since revenue reflects a mature business with established products and business models that can scale up. To make Watson and Watson Health successful, IBM’s acquisition strategy must continue to strike the right balance between buying large companies with market dominance and faster revenue impact and buying many more small startups with differentiated IP and strong teams that have a longer-term impact. In addition, IBM corporate marketing must restrain itself from fueling the hype about artificial intelligence and resist Wall Street pressure for short-term results by clearly explaining how far-reaching innovations such as Watson take years to pay off.”

From Robin Lewis: Sears Titanic: SOS

“From their analysis of shoppers’ preferences for women’s apparel, Sears’ share has plummeted 53% from January, 2006 to January, 2016. And get this: it ranks them at 15th in the category, behind Goodwill! Yes, you read that right. Incredibly, women would rather shop at Goodwill for apparel than Sears. In my opinion, that’s one step closer to not even being able to give the stuff away.”

From Rick Romell: Milwaukee designer’s T-shirts find Hollywood lights

“Born into T-shirt royalty, Brian Holoubek has fashioned his own career around that most ubiquitous of garments. And if it hasn’t hit the commercial jackpot his father struck in an earlier era, that’s fine. Holoubek, with lots of ideas and the artistic and business wherewithal to get them out into the world, is a happy creative.”

From Suzette Parmley: The Paper Chase: Definition of ‘office products’ evolving

“Rock, paper, scissors. Amazon always seems to win.
Is there any sector that the Internet juggernaut isn’t taking down? Its latest target is office supplies. Essentially, if you sell paper products, or anything that uses paper – say, notebooks or books – you’re facing challenging times.”

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