Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 3/25/16

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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 the Wallenberg family, MasterCraft, Lowe’s, Polivka LLC, and Kickstarter.

From the Economist: A Nordic pyramid

“As in many countries, family-controlled businesses are the norm in Sweden. But as Randall Morck of the University of Alberta in Canada has noted, Sweden is an extreme case among rich countries in that one particular family, the Wallenbergs, holds such sway in business.”

From Matt LaWell: MasterCraft Overhauls Leadership, Plots a New Course

“Not many manufacturers deal with that production challenge, but MasterCraft is not most manufacturers. The product, for starters, is far larger and much more a discretionary income purchase (most of its boats fall within $50,000 and $150,000). Its assembly line is incredibly labor-intensive, with human hands on it at almost every turn (with no plans for robots, since the return on investment would take almost a decade). And much of the leadership cut its teeth in other industries, coming over from automotive and aerospace, and applying best practices for a different culture.”

From Katherine Peralta: Lowe’s looks for edge with new distribution concept

“In an unassuming warehouse off Charlotte’s Old Statesville Road, Lowe’s has been quietly ramping up hiring at its new central delivery terminal, one of two such facilities the retailer has opened to try to gain an edge in the competitive home-improvement landscape.”

From Cindy Hoedel: KC furniture business given to apprentice who worked for nothing

“Master craftsman furniture maker David Polivka decided the time was right to retire from the woodworking business so he gifted his studio space and designs to his intern of four years, furniture maker Matt Castilleja, who is crafting his own designs in the River Market space.”

From Mike Rogoway: When Kickstarter blows up: Crowdfunding site wasn’t built for big-time projects

“Something fundamental changes when Kickstarter, a website built for artists and craftspeople, goes mass market. When Grepper launched his campaign in July 2014, he was seeking $50,000. The $13.2 million he ultimately raised was 264 times his goal — yet still not enough.”

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