Summary of “Rent the Runway Wants to Lend You Your Look”

Hyman founded Rent the Runway in 2008 with Jenny Fleiss, while both were in their second year at Harvard Business School.
At a focus group held in Washington, D.C., Hyman spoke with a customer who compared Rent the Runway to an ice-cream sundae.
In 2016, Hyman and Fleiss launched Rent the Runway Unlimited, a subscription service that initially aimed to help professional women dress for work, and has since expanded to cover most of their daily fashion concerns.
Rent the Runway has some ten million members-defined by the company as people who have created a log-in to its site-spread across the country.
Unlike most warehouse-based retailers, such as Amazon, which care primarily about getting goods to customers, Rent the Runway must also see that goods get returned from them-and in time to reach the next person waiting in line.
Hyman told me, “I was, like, Oh! Our business is about an incremental ten compliments.” Until last year, Rent the Runway had never run a formal advertising campaign.
One of them, who calculates that she has rented a hundred and twenty-six items since February, described herself as a “Walking billboard” for Rent the Runway.
Rent the Runway is hardly the only company using data analytics to offer affordable personalized shopping.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Sears’s ‘radical’ past: How mail-order catalogues subverted the racial hierarchy of Jim Crow”

A lesser-known aspect of Sears’s 125-year history is how the company revolutionized rural black Southerners’ shopping patterns in the late 19th century, subverting racial hierarchies by allowing them to make purchases by mail or over the phone and avoid the blatant racism that they faced at small country stores.
While country stores were one of the few places where whites and blacks routinely mingled, store owners fiercely defended the white-supremacist order by making black customers wait until every white customer had been served and forcing them to buy lower-quality goods.
“A black man who needed clothing received a shirt ‘good enough for a darky to wear’ while a black family low on provisions could have only the lowest grade of flour,” historian Grace Elizabeth Hale wrote in an essay published in “Jumpin’ Jim Crow.: Southern Politics from Civil War to Civil Rights.”
There isn’t enough data available to determine exactly how much black customers contributed to Sears’s bottom line during the Jim Crow years.
Still, Southern merchants clearly felt threatened by the competition from mail-order department stores: As catalogues for Sears and Montgomery Ward made their way into more and more homes, local storekeepers began circulating rumors that the companies were run by black men.
By the turn of the century, some merchants were even encouraging people to bring in their catalogues for Saturday night bonfires and offering bounties of up to $50 for people who collected the most “Wish Books,” historians Stuart and Elizabeth Ewen wrote in “Channels of Desire: Mass Images and the Shaping of American Consciousness.” In response, Sears published photos of its founders to prove that they were white, while Ward offered a $100 reward in exchange for the name of the person who had started a rumor that he had mixed black and white ancestry.
Up until the middle of the 20th century, the company followed Jim Crow laws in its Atlanta department store, Bitter Southerner noted, meaning that black employees could work only in warehouse, janitorial and food service positions.
For a significant portion of U.S. history, the Sears catalogue offered black shoppers something that they couldn’t find anywhere else: dignity.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Long before Amazon, Sears taught Americans to trust shopping from home”

Sears taught Americans to trust shopping from home – Los Angeles Times.
The irony is that Sears figured out shopping from home long before Amazon’s Jeff Bezos even was born.
Sears’ parent company, Sears Holdings, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early Monday, the latest retailer to become roadkill in an industry upended by technological advances and changing consumer tastes.
Just as Bezos began his online experiment with books, Richard W. Sears launched his company in 1886 with watches.
“If you buy a good watch you will always be satisfied, and at our prices a good watch will influence the sale of another good watch,” Sears declared.
It wasn’t until the 1970s that Sears started its long slide into retail mediocrity.
Sears’ historical parallels with Amazon are a little spooky.
Another key difference between Sears and Amazon is how each company followed through on its successes.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Netflix Expanded to 190 Countries in 7 Years”

The majority of Prime subscribers are in the U.S., and Netflix has managed to make inroads into even those markets where Prime arrived first.
From the experience and learning it gained in that process, Netflix developed the capabilities to expand into a diverse set of markets within a few years – the second phase of the process.
The third phase, during which a much-accelerated pace of entry brought Netflix to 190 countries, used everything it had learned from the first two phases.
Netflix has worked with, and responded to, the new markets it’s entered.
While Netflix believes that “Great storytelling transcends borders,” in the words of Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, the company has responded to customer preferences for local content: Currently it’s producing original content in 17 different markets.
Netflix potentially reaps the benefits of investing in local content all around the world.
Despite its very rapid internationalization, Netflix implemented in all markets the same customer-centric model of operations that had been key to its success in the United States.
Netflix has demonstrated that developing country-specific knowledge is critical for success in local markets.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Did Uber Steal Google’s Intellectual Property?”

In 2010, employees began to hear rumors that Levandowski, on behalf of his outside companies, had met with some of Google’s competitors, including a firm that was working with Microsoft, to sell them the same navigational technology that Google was paying to use.
According to internal Google e-mails, he ordered executives to “Make Anthony rich if Chauffeur succeeds.” Two months later, Google bought 510 Systems for twenty-two million dollars.
Since 2014, California regulations have required companies to report any instance in which a self-driving vehicle is “In any manner involved in a collision originating from the operation of the autonomous vehicle on a public road that resulted in the damage of property or in bodily injury or death.” The Camry accident occurred three years before this regulation was passed; since the rule went into effect, Google has reported thirty-six additional accidents.
Lawyers later learned that, around the same time, an engineer who had left with Levandowski, Lior Ron, had conducted Internet searches for “How to secretly delete files mac” and “How to permanently delete google drive files from my computer.” Lawyers later saw a chat message that Levandowski sent to Ron several weeks after he left Google: “Make sure you delete all the messages tonight on both your PC and iPhone.” This was evidence, Google felt, that Levandowski had exploited Project Chauffeur’s secrets to jump-start Ottomotto.
When lawyers asked Google engineers to evaluate what Levandowski had taken, one of them dismissed it as “Low value” information; he told a Google attorney, in an e-mail, that “It makes me uncomfortable to think that lawyers are trying to ascribe suspicion to” the downloads.
In December, 2016, Google spun its self-driving unit into a stand-alone division called Waymo, which, employees were told, stood for “a new way forward in mobility.” That month, Waymo’s lawyers learned that a mid-level worker had accidentally been forwarded an e-mail from an outside vender, a company called Gorilla Circuits, which had been hired by Uber to manufacture circuit boards for self-driving cars.
In 2013, Google’s chief lawyer, David Drummond, wrote on the company’s blog, “We require that government agencies conducting criminal investigations use a search warrant to compel us to provide a user’s search query information and private content stored in a Google Account.” Google had even fought a government subpoena seeking data on child-pornography searches.
“The people at Google got what they wanted,” one of the lawyers who represented Uber told me.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Deciem’s Brandon Truaxe: the controversial beauty CEO, explained”

Brandon Truaxe is the founder and CEO – though he likes to say his official title is “Worker” – of Deciem, one of the buzziest skin care companies on the planet right now.
A post shared by THE ABNORMAL BEAUTY COMPANY on Oct 8, 2018 at 5:41am PDT. The largely incoherent message was paired with a long, rambling caption in which he called out many in the company’s inner circle, then went on to name hotels, restaurants, other cosmetic companies, “So many porn ‘studios,'” Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Tom Ford, Mark Zuckerberg, Donald Trump, Richard Branson, Tim Cook, and Leonard Lauder, the patriarch of the Estée Lauder company.
What is Deciem, and who is Brandon Truaxe? Truaxe founded Deciem in 2013 and launched 10 sub-brands simultaneously – including hair care, supplements, and a men’s grooming line – which is pretty much unheard of in the beauty industry.
Beauty conglomerate Estée Lauder has a 28 percent minority share in the company, an association that has given the indie brand credibility but also invited scrutiny; customers were suspicious of Truaxe “Selling out” when he accepted the investment.
Truaxe fired her in February after a confusing string of events that culminated in Truaxe questioning her loyalty to him.
Companies the size of Deciem usually employ sizable social media teams, so it’s significant that a CEO chose to interact with the public himself via this medium.
In February, Truaxe took to Instagram to broadcast that the company would no longer be producing Esho, a brand of lip products made in collaboration with a UK plastic surgeon, Dr. Tijion Esho.
A blog post about Truaxe’s drama as a CEO on Strategy + Business in July noted, “Chaos is not a business strategy.” It seemed to be working fine for Deciem for a while.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why CEOs Devote So Much Time to Their Hobbies”

Does serious leisure make you a better leader? The few studies that have looked at the job performance of CEOs with strong hobbies show mixed results.
CEOs who are also pilots lead more innovative companies, and CEOs who run marathons show better company performance – but excessive CEO golfing may actually harm shareholder value.
We searched for public information on the hobbies of CEOs whose companies were in the S&P 500 index at the start of 2018.
To validate and enrich our findings from public sources, one of us conducted private interviews with 17 CEOs of S&P 500, Fortune 500, and similarly sized U.S. companies, asking about their hobbies – and if they had a serious leisure activity, what it meant to them and their ability to lead. In public and in private, CEOs state that their leisure interests help them cope with the ever-increasing demands of the top job.
Many CEOs opined that the complexity of the top job has increased dramatically, with diverse constituencies requiring their attention at any given time, and that they can never stop thinking about it, even in their free time.
While competitiveness certainly comes up as a motivation, for most of these CEOs it is truly about reaching one’s highest potential, a lesson they’ve transferred to leading.
CEOs used to be seen as all-powerful leaders who could singlehandedly change the direction and fate of their companies.
Wondering how you could possibly squeeze some room for serious leisure in between the solid blocks of your calendar? A recent HBR article showed that CEOs have, on average, about 2.1 hours a day for “Downtime,” meaning everything from simply relaxing to active hobbies, and even this time is probably highly fragmented during the day.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The breach that killed Google+ wasn’t a breach at all”

For months, Google has been trying to stay out of the way of the growing tech backlash, but yesterday, the dam finally broke with news of a bug in the rarely used Google+ network that exposed private information for as many as 500,000 users.
The consumer version of Google+ is shutting down, German privacy regulators in Germany and the US are already looking into possible legal action, and former SEC officials are publicly speculating about what Google may have done wrong.
The bigger problem for Google isn’t the crime, but the cover-up.
The vulnerability was fixed in March, but Google didn’t come clean until seven months later when The Wall Street Journal got hold of some of the memos discussing the bug.
Part of the disconnect comes from the fact that, legally, Google is in the clear.
Google just found that data was available to developers, not that any data was actually taken.
With no clear data stolen, Google had no legal reporting requirements.
It’s too early to say whether Google will face a real backlash for this.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The tragic end of Telltale Games”

After the company dismissed controversial co-founder and CEO Kevin Bruner in March 2017, former Zynga SVP and GM of games Pete Hawley stepped in as Telltale’s CEO in September.
The developers at Telltale were as desperate for change as the company’s most vocal critics.
Pete Hawley’s entrance into Telltale as CEO was the company’s attempt to right its sinking ship.
On Thursday, two companies decided against investing in Telltale.
“We were told that one backer pulled out like at 2PM on Thursday and the other at 7PM on Thursday,” a former Telltale employee tells The Verge.
Telltale is dead. Former employees were unsure how the remaining developers were chosen to wrap the project, which the company calls an effort “To fulfill the company’s obligations to its board and partners.” Those still working on Minecraft: Story Mode expect that once that project wraps, “They’re probably going to be laid off next.”
According to a report from Kotaku published yesterday, Telltale is negotiating a deal with another company that would use former staff on contract to finish The Walking Dead. Confusion abounds about the company’s messaging around its status, but as several former developers note, they were instructed to list their reason for unemployment as a company closure on official papers.
One former employee is suing Telltale as part of a class-action lawsuit for allegedly violating labor laws.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The rise and fall of the company behind ‘Reader Rabbit’ and all your favorite educational games”

Both Reader Rabbit and Cluefinders were the work of The Learning Company, a dominant player in the realm of educational software during its peak in the late 1980s and ’90s. At a certain point, TLC owned pretty much every computer game that mattered to millennials: The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, even Oregon Trail.
The company was in financial shambles – and, in what was labeled one of the worst business deals of all time, almost took a Fortune 500 company down with it.
An elementary teacher’s aide, Grimm had first-hand experience with some of the earliest educational software made by textbook companies.
So when the school secretary mentioned a new company up in Portola Valley that was working on educational software, Grimm decided to give McCormick a call.
Jan Davidson, co-founder of educational software company Davidson & Associates – best known for combining aliens and addition in Math Blaster – stepped down as president because she believed the new owners were privileging profits over quality.
By the ’90s, with his company floundering, O’Leary redirected his energy towards the flourishing educational software industry.
Rather than investing heavily in research and development his strategy involved buying up existing software companies and touting their already-popular games at big box stores like Best Buy and Costco.
The Learning Company became a business version of hot potato, its intellectual property tossed from one company to another.

The orginal article.