Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 4/1/16

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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 Google, Instacart, Marathon Petroleum, Camcraft, and the Golden State Warriors.

From Shira Ovide: Does Google’s Move to Sell Robot Business Expose Growing Pains?

“It’s easy to see Boston Dynamics as a relatively minor foray by Google that didn’t work out. No harm done. But the internal discussion about it shows how tough it can be to reconcile Alphabet’s dual missions: moonshots, but with spreadsheets.”

From David Merrefield: Instacart’s Rapid Growth

“Instacart, the same-day grocery-delivery service, is showing a very high revenue-growth rate as compared to its other main competitors. But don’t assume all’s well.”

From Christopher Helman: How ‘America’s Best Employer’ Marathon Petroleum Is Taming BP’s Deadly Refinery

“America’s Best Employer isn’t a left-coast tech firm with a climbing wall and beanbag chairs, but an old-line energy giant facing real problems like a disgruntled union and fatal plant accidents.”

From Laura Putre: Bringing out the Best in Good Workers at Camcraft

“The manufacturer of precision parts has always valued communication and teamwork, but its intentions crystallized in 2011, when it began its lean journey.”

From Bruce Schoenfeld: What Happened When Venture Capitalists Took Over the Golden State Warriors

“Lacob was not the first venture capitalist to buy a franchise, but he is the first to operate one according to what might be called Silicon Valley precepts: nimble management, open communication, integrating the wisdom of outside advisers and continuous re-evaluation of what companies do and how they do it. None of that typically happens in professional sports. Most franchise owners of previous generations became wealthy mastering businesses that did one specific thing, if only because that was the way that people used to become wealthy in America. They’ve run their teams, for better or worse, in the same autocratic, hidebound fashion that they ran those companies. As a manager, Lacob prefers to surround himself with expertise and exploit it.”

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