Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 5/20/16

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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 Delta Air Lines, Apple, Lending Club, Slack, Spencer Ogden, Artfinder, and Howard Hunt.

From Kristen Leigh Painter: At Delta Air Lines, a smooth change in leadership

“A new chief executive arrived at Delta and, just four months later, recruited Bastian back as chief financial officer. In the decade since, Bastian helped two CEOs take Delta through bankruptcy, fend off a hostile takeover and acquire Minnesota-based Northwest Airlines. The result: Delta is now the world’s second-biggest airline by revenue and traffic, just slightly smaller than American Airlines Group. And last week, at age 58, Bastian took charge of it.”

From Wharton: Why Apple Must Move Beyond the ‘Wow’ Moment

“Apple’s disappointing second quarter earnings – including the first-ever drop in sales for the iPhone – sent the company’s stock tumbling for eight consecutive trading sessions. It was the first such drop since 1998 and, coupled with comments by activist investor Carl Icahn that he has dumped his shares in the company, it accelerated worries about how Apple will deliver the strong future growth that investors have come to expect.”

From Gretchen Morgenson: Lending Club, a Story Stock That Skimped on the Details

“Lack of information undermined investors’ confidence in Lending Club’s prospects as doubts about the peer-to-peer lending industry emerged, causing shares to plummet.”

From the Economist: The Slack generation

“It is rare for business software to arouse emotion besides annoyance. But some positively gush about how Slack has simplified office communication. Instead of individual e-mails arriving in a central inbox and requiring attention, Slack structures textual conversations within threads (called ‘channels’) where groups within firms can update each other in real time. It is casual and reflects how people actually communicate, eschewing e-mail’s outdated formalities, says Chris Becherer of Pandora, an online-music firm that uses Slack.”

From Jack Torrance: How Spencer Ogden, Artfinder and Howard Hunt evolved to stay alive

“According to performance consultancy firm CEB, the average company has experienced five ‘enterprise changes’ – for example a merger, restructure or change in leadership – over the past three years, but only one third of such changes are a clear success. So MT tapped up a few companies that have had to undergo big changes in their business models to find out how to do so successfully.”

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