Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 7/22/16

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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 Social Finance, Mazda, Amazon, Kodak, and Yahoo.

From Peter Rudegeair and Telis Demos: Slump Might Turn Anti-Bank SoFi Into a Bank

“Mike Cagney, the boss at online lender Social Finance Inc., said in August that the traditional finance industry is ‘the second biggest waste of human capital outside the IRS’ and full of ‘significantly overpaid people who do very little in terms of value to society.’ Now he might become more like a bank to have a better chance at beating them.”

From Dale Buss: 5 Lessons for a Corporate Turnaround from an Auto Industry CEO

“There are few tougher jobs for a CEO than competing in the U.S. auto industry these days. Sales are leveling off after post-recession boom times, but there’s been no appreciable thinning of the herd, putting extra pressure on every car maker—especially the small fry.”

From Grace Reder: On Amazon’s Birthday, 8 Ways it Changed Your Shopping Life

“On its 21 years in business, the company has helped transform how we shop. Ecommerce itself is powered by the company, with the company driving 60 percent of total U.S. online retail sales growth, according to Forrester. This one company has also been instrumental in how modern shoppers vet their purchases and what they expect when shopping online. To celebrate this momentous day in history, here are 8 ways Amazon has reshaped consumers’ lives.”

From Scott Anthony: Kodak’s Downfall Wasn’t About Technology

“A generation ago, a ‘Kodak moment’ meant something that was worth saving and savoring. Today, the term increasingly serves as a corporate bogeyman that warns executives of the need to stand up and respond when disruptive developments encroach on their market. Unfortunately, as time marches on the subtleties of what actually happened to Eastman Kodak are being forgotten, leading executives to draw the wrong conclusions from its struggles.”

From Vindu Goel: When Yahoo Ruled the Valley: Stories of the Original ‘Surfers’

“Back in the mid-1990s, before Google even existed, the world’s best guides to the internet sat in Silicon Valley cubicles, visiting websites and carefully categorizing them by hand. They were called surfers, and they were a collection of mostly 20-somethings — including a yoga lover, an ex-banker, a divinity student, a recent college grad from Ohio hungry for adventure — all hired by a start-up called Yahoo to build a directory of the world’s most interesting websites”

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