Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 8/12/16

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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 Unilever, Apple, Fisher-Price, Supervalu, and Fogo de Chão.

From Bhaskar Chakravorti: Unilever’s Big Strategic Bet on the Dollar Shave Club

“The deal is full of intriguing details. Unilever paid five times what Dollar Shave Club was expecting for revenues this year. Analysts had valued it for far less: in its most recent funding round — a $90.7 million Series D in November 2015 — Dollar Shave Club had been valued at $630 million, according to Pitchbook. While Dollar Shave Club represents a growing share of the razorblades market, it is still tiny, it operates with low margins, is made up of an irreverent albeit engineering-savvy team – and is, as yet, unprofitable. So why did a traditional consumer products company do a deal that feels more like it belongs in the tech sector than the consumer product industry?”

From Leonid Bershidsky: Apple’s Technological Lag Is Starting to Show

“A lack of ideas is a gloomy thing to behold in a tech leader. Executives try to strike all the right notes and use all the latest buzzwords, but the numbers show a disturbing trend and competitors are way ahead with real innovations that can be seen and touched. This is now happening to Apple.”

From Richard Feloni: How an iconic 85-year-old company is reviving its ideas and its profits

“From alphabet blocks to Power Wheels, Fisher-Price toys are iconic. The Mattel-owned company has been around since 1930 and is in the midst of a revival, during a time when the toy industry is adapting to a new generation of millennial parents.”

From David Merrefield: Why Would Supervalu Sell Its Crown Jewel?

“Supervalu, based in Minnesota, is a major grocery wholesaler to many independent and chain supermarkets. Save-A-Lot is Supervalu’s wholly owned retailing subsidiary, based in Missouri. It’s a chain of nearly 1,350 hard-discount grocery stores. Most are owned and operated by licensees, although a few hundred are corporately owned.”

From John Kell: How this Brazilian Steakhouse is wooing meat lovers

“About halfway through a tasting at Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chão, I was wondering whether I made a mistake attending the press event. I’ve been a pretty strict pescacarian for nearly five years — avoiding meat entirely. At Fogo de Chao, specialty trained chefs serve up pork, lamb and chicken — and I had to admit: it was truly delicious.”

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