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jerryking : big_bets   29

‘Math men’ not mad men rule advertising’s data age, says Lévy
May 5, 2019 | Financial Times | by Anna Nicolaou.

Maurice Levy: 'The future [of advertising] is based on data. It is not based on any mass media.' We know that mass media is [declining] every day,” “And if an advertising agency wants to have a future, data is absolutely indispensable.”

the advertising industry was undergoing a “metamorphosis” that required big bets.......As consumers shift attention away from pricey television commercials and towards the internet, where Facebook and Google dominate, the industry is more “math men” than mad men......In light of digital disruption Publicis, the world’s third-largest advertising agency by revenues, has made a big bet on data. In April the company made its largest acquisition with the purchase of Epsilon, a digital marketing company owned by Alliance Data Systems......Like its rivals WPP and Omnicom, Publicis is under pressure as Facebook and Google have disintermediated the traditional agency model. The two tech groups account for two-thirds of digital advertising sales in the US.....The industry has been consolidating as traditional agencies look to position themselves as data analytics gurus who can help brands target shoppers online. Last year Interpublic bought data business Acxiom for $2bn, while just last month buzzy agency Droga5 sold itself to Accenture......Despite lingering fears that an economic slowdown is looming, “the situation is much better now,”.... making the Epsilon decision easier. “The fastest-growing segment in our industry is data, technology, internet. Period. All the rest is suffering.”
advertising  advertising_agencies  analytics  big_bets  data  decline  disruption  disintermediation  Epsilon  Facebook  Google  Interpublic  Mad_Men  marketing  mass_media  mathematics  Maurice_Lévy  Omnicom  Publicis  WPP 
may 2019 by jerryking
Bezos on why failure is not failure
April 11, 2019 | By | FT Alphaville : Izabella Kaminska

According to Bezos no customer was asking for Echo before it was launched, thus Amazon's foray into listening tech was definitely them wandering. And yet, if they'd listened to market research (a firm no thank you!) they'd have lost out on more than 100 million sales of Alexa-enabled devices. So there.
Alexa  Amazon  Amazon_Echo  AWS  big_bets  experimentation  failure  Jeff_Bezos  large_companies  market_research  scaling 
april 2019 by jerryking
With the iPhone Sputtering, Apple Bets Its Future on TV and News
March 25, 2019 | WSJ | By Tripp Mickle.

The iPhone is running out of juice. To go beyond the device that made Apple Inc. a global colossus, Tim Cook is betting on a suite of services—marking the company’s biggest shift in more than a decade......Apple will take a giant leap forward announcing video- and news-subscription services that it hopes will generate billions of dollars in new annual revenue and deepen ties between iPhone users and the company.....apps and services, from Spotify to Netflix to China’s WeChat , have often become more important to users than the devices that run them. .....The company’s ambition in video is to become an alternative to cable, combining original series with shows from other networks to create a new entertainment service that can reach more than 100 markets world-wide. ....Apple hasn’t said what it will charge for the programming. .....The original series will be delivered in a new TV app that staff have been calling a Netflix killer.....Apple has been negotiating to bring its new TV app to multiple platforms, including Roku and smart TVs.........Apple plans to showcase a revamped News app that includes a premium tier with access to more than 200 magazines—including Bon Appétit, People and Glamour—as well as newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal.....The Washington Post and New York Times aren’t participating in the new app...... in the early 2000s, co-founder Steve Jobs reinvented the company by pushing it into mobile devices. The iPod and its accompanying iTunes service revived a company that was largely dependent on Mac computer sales....Mr. Cook is attempting a similar feat in the approaching twilight of the smartphone era....Cook wanted to know which apps were selling well, how many Apple Music subscribers stuck with the service, and how many people were signing up for iCloud storage.....Apple’s biggest source of services revenue comes from distributing other companies’ software through its App Store.....Apple’s music-streaming service has about 50 million global subscribers—far behind Spotify’s 96 million.

Apple’s base of 1.4 billion iPhones, iPads and Macs in use globally gives it a distribution platform..................The push into news subscriptions could help Apple battle Facebook, whose News Feed has helped it become the No. 1 app world-wide in monthly active smartphone users.....Facebook is attempting to become a super-app like China’s WeChat, which allows users to shop, order food, buy movie tickets and make reservations on any mobile operating system......Steve Jobs foreshadowed Apple’s services future when he started iTunes in 2001, offering categories from competing major labels to make the first successful digital-music store, with songs available for 99 cents.

For Mr. Cook’s monthly services meetings, the company monitors of apps that benefit and threaten Apple. There is a "release radar" for Cook to track apps that are expected to sell well and other metrics for the apps that have challenged Apple’s business, including iTunes sales decreases compared with Apple Music subscription growth.
App_Store  Apple  Apple_IDs  Apple_Music  big_bets  CEOs  cloud_computing  Disney  iCloud  iPhone  iTunes  magazines  mobile_applications  multiplatforms  Netflix  news  NYT  original_content  pivots  platforms  services  smartphones  Spotify  storage  streaming  subscriptions  television  Tim_Cook  WaPo  WeChat 
march 2019 by jerryking
Grand follies and the art of thinking big
February 22, 2019 |Financial Times| by Janan Ganesh.

Who would rather that Airbus had never made the bet at all? Who would live in a world that never risks over-reach?

A defender of grand follies is spoilt for examples that turned out well........Today’s vainglorious travesty is tomorrow’s untouchable fixture of the landscape. We are lousy judges of future tastes, including our own....Even if an audacious project fails, and fails lastingly, it can still trigger success stories of other kinds. Some of this happens through the sheer technical example set: the A380, like Concorde before it, forced engineers to innovate in ways that will cascade down the decades in unpredictable ways. Some of the most banal givens of daily life — dust busters, wireless headsets — can be traced back to that messianic project we know as the space programme.

Then there is the inspiring spectacle of just trying to do something big. Progress through tinkering counts no less than progress through great leaps, but only the second kind is likely to electrify people into venturing their own efforts. Without the grand gesture — and the risk of humiliation — any field of endeavour is liable to stagnate.....Perhaps an exhausted west now prefers to tinker all the same. Big ideas are often paid for out of idle wealth (think of Elon Musk’s fortune, or Alphabet’s cash pile) and the existence of this can seem almost distasteful in a culture that is newly sensitive to inequality. As for largeness of vision, there was plenty of the stuff in the forever wars and pre-crash banking. It would be strange if people who lived through those events did not now flinch at the sight of excitable visionaries brandishing schemes.
Airbus  audacity  big_bets  breakthroughs  Elon_Musk  fallacies_follies  game_changers  humiliation  incrementalism  inspiration  Janan_Ganesh  Jeff_Bezos  marginal_improvements  moonshots  overreach  risks  thinking_big  tinkerers  visionaries 
february 2019 by jerryking
Everything still to play for with AI in its infancy
February 14, 2019 | Financial Times | by Richard Waters.

the future of AI in business up for grabs--this is a clearly a time for big bets.

Ginni Rometty,IBM CEO, describes Big Blue’s customers applications of powerful new tools, such as AI: “Random acts of digital”. They are taking a hit-and-miss approach to projects to extract business value out of their data. Customers tend to start with an isolated data set or use case — like streamlining interactions with a particular group of customers. They are not tied into a company’s deeper systems, data or workflow, limiting their impact. Andrew Moore, the new head of AI for Google’s cloud business, has a different way of describing it: “Artisanal AI”. It takes a lot of work to build AI systems that work well in particular situations. Expertise and experience to prepare a data set and “tune” the systems is vital, making the availability of specialised human brain power a key limiting factor.

The state of the art in how businesses are using artificial intelligence is just that: an art. The tools and techniques needed to build robust “production” systems for the new AI economy are still in development. To have a real effect at scale, a deeper level of standardisation and automation is needed. AI technology is at a rudimentary stage. Coming from completely different ends of the enterprise technology spectrum, the trajectories of Google and IBM highlight what is at stake — and the extent to which this field is still wide open.

Google comes from a world of “if you build it, they will come”. The rise of software as a service have brought a similar approach to business technology. However, beyond this “consumerisation” of IT, which has put easy-to-use tools into more workers’ hands, overhauling a company’s internal systems and processes takes a lot of heavy lifting. True enterprise software companies start from a different position. They try to develop a deep understanding of their customers’ problems and needs, then adapt their technology to make it useful.

IBM, by contrast, already knows a lot about its customers’ businesses, and has a huge services operation to handle complex IT implementations. It has also been working on this for a while. Its most notable attempt to push AI into the business mainstream is IBM Watson. Watson, however, turned out to be a great demonstration of a set of AI capabilities, rather than a coherent strategy for making AI usable.

IBM has been working hard recently to make up for lost time. Its latest adaptation of the technology, announced this week, is Watson Anywhere — a way to run its AI on the computing clouds of different companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google, meaning customers can apply it to their data wherever they are stored. 
IBM’s campaign to make itself more relevant to its customers in the cloud-first world that is emerging. Rather than compete head-on with the new super-clouds, IBM is hoping to become the digital Switzerland. 

This is a message that should resonate deeply. Big users of IT have always been wary of being locked into buying from dominant suppliers. Also, for many companies, Amazon and Google have come to look like potential competitors as they push out from the worlds of online shopping and advertising.....IBM faces searching questions about its ability to execute — as the hit-and-miss implementation of Watson demonstrates. Operating seamlessly in the new world of multi-clouds presents a deep engineering challenge.
artificial_intelligence  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  automation  big_bets  cloud_computing  contra-Amazon  cultural_change  data  digital_strategies  early-stage  economies_of_scale  Google  hit-and-miss  IBM  IBM_Watson  internal_systems  randomness  SaaS  standardization  Richard_Waters 
february 2019 by jerryking
Microsoft Is Worth as Much as Apple. How Did That Happen?
Nov. 29, 2018 | The New York Times | By Steve Lohr.

Just a few years ago, Microsoft was seen as a lumbering has-been of the technology world.....the company had lost its luster, failing or trailing in the markets of the future like mobile, search, online advertising and cloud computing.....It’s a very different story today. Microsoft is running neck and neck with Apple for the title of the world’s most valuable company, both worth more than $850 billion, thanks to a stock price that has climbed 30 % over the past 12 mths.

So what happened?

* The company built on its strengths

There is a short-term explanation for Microsoft’s market rise, and there is a longer-term one.

The near-term, stock-trading answer is that Microsoft has held up better than others during the recent sell-off of tech company shares. The more enduring and important answer is that Microsoft has become a case study of how a once-dominant company can build on its strengths and avoid being a prisoner of its past. It has fully embraced cloud computing, abandoned an errant foray into smartphones and returned to its roots as mainly a supplier of technology to business customers.

* It bet big on the cloud and won …
Microsoft’s path to cloud computing — processing, storage and software delivered as a service over the internet from remote data centers — was lengthy and sometimes halting.... it did not have an offering comparable to Amazon’s until 2013. Even then, Microsoft’s cloud service was a side business. The corporate center of gravity remained its Windows operating system, the linchpin of the company’s wealth and power during the personal computer era. That changed after Mr. Nadella replaced Steven A. Ballmer, who had been chief executive for 14 years. Mr. Nadella made the cloud service a top priority, and the company is now a strong No. 2 to Amazon.....Microsoft has also retooled its popular Office apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint in a cloud version, Office 365......“The essence of what Satya Nadella did was the dramatic shift to the cloud,” said David B. Yoffie, a professor at the HBS. “He put Microsoft back into a high-growth business.”

* … while walking away from losing bets
When Microsoft acquired Nokia’s mobile phone business in 2013, Mr. Ballmer hailed the move as a “bold step into the future.” Two years later, Mr. Nadella walked away from that future, taking a $7.6 billion charge, nearly the entire value of the purchase, and shedding 7,800 workers.

Microsoft would not try to compete with the smartphone technology leaders, Apple, Google and Samsung. Instead, Microsoft focused on its developing apps and other software for business customers. Microsoft products, in the main, are about utility — productivity tools, whether people use them at work or at home. And its Azure cloud technology is a service for businesses and a platform for software developers to build applications, a kind of cloud operating system.

Mr. Nadella’s big acquisitions have been intended to add to its offerings for business users and developers. In 2016, Microsoft bought LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, for $26.2 billion.

“It’s really the coming together of the professional cloud and the professional network,” Mr. Nadella explained at the time.

This year, Microsoft paid $7.5 billion for GitHub, an open software platform used by 28 million programmers.

* It has opened up its technology and culture
Under Mr. Nadella, Microsoft has loosened up. Windows would no longer be its center of gravity — or its anchor. Microsoft apps would run not only on Apple’s Macintosh software but on other operating systems as well. Open source and free software, once anathema to Microsoft, was embraced as a vital tool of modern software development.

Mr. Nadella preached an outward-looking mind-set. “We need to be insatiable in our desire to learn from the outside and bring that learning into Microsoft,” ......“The old, Windows-centric view of the world stifled innovation,” .....“The company has changed culturally.
cloud_computing  kill_rates  Microsoft  outward_looking  Satya_Nadella  Steve_Lohr  strengths  turnarounds  big_bets 
november 2018 by jerryking
Inside FreshDirect’s Big Bet to Win the Home-Delivery Fight - WSJ
By Jennifer Smith
July 18, 2018 5:30 a.m

Designed to keep food fresh longer and move it faster, FreshDirect’s 400,000 square-foot distribution centre is the online grocer’s multimillion-dollar bet on the fastest-growing sector in the grocery business, home-delivery. FreshDirect pioneered the e-commerce home-delivery market, and now with Amazon and big grocery chains like Kroger Co. piling on investments, companies are jockeying for position in a business that some believe is the future of supermarket sales.....FreshDirect's trucks now provide next-day delivery to customers across the New York-New Jersey, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas, with plans to expand into Boston next. The private company says it generated between $600 million and $700 million in annual revenue in 2017.

It declined to disclose the cost of the new facility, which was financed with the help of a $189 million investment round in 2016 led by J.P. Morgan Asset Management, direct funding and incentives from state and local governments......Amazon, Target Corp. and other large companies have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to expand food delivery and build out their grocery e-commerce operations. Supermarket chain owner Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize NV’s Peapod unit, the longest-running online grocery service in the U.S., has expanded to 24 markets and is investing in technology to cut its handling and delivery costs.

Walmart Inc. said this month that Jet.com, the online retailer it bought two years ago, will open a fulfillment center in the Bronx this fall to help roll out same- and next-day grocery deliveries in New York City.

The grocers are trying to solve one of the toughest problems in home delivery: Getting food to doorsteps in the same condition consumers would expect if they went to the store themselves. Delivering perishables is trickier than dropping off paper towels or dogfood. Fruit bruises, meat spoils, eggs break. ........FreshDirect’s logistic hurdles start well before delivery. It must get products from its suppliers to the building, process the food, then pick, pack and ship orders before the quality degrades.

That is why the new distribution centre has 15 different temperature zones. Tomatoes do best at about 55 degrees, but “chicken and meat like it to be just at 32 degrees... it gives more of shelf life to it,"....Software determines the most efficient route for each order, and tells workers which items to pick.....A big part of the facility [distribution centre] is ripping out tons and tons of operating costs out of the business.....The stakes in getting the technology right are high. FreshDirect is competing with grocery chains that often fill online orders through their stores, using a mix of staff and third-party services like Instacart Inc. So-called click-and-collect services, where consumers swing by to pick up their own orders, tend to have better margins because the retailer isn’t paying for last-mile delivery.....Online-only operations with centralized warehouses tend to be more efficient than logistics run out of stores, because they use fewer workers and can position goods for faster fulfillment.
algorithms  Amazon  big_bets  cold_storage  distribution_centres  distribution  e-commerce  food  FreshDirect  grocery  home-delivery  infrastructure  Kroger  logistics  perishables  retailers  software  supermarkets  Target  Wal-Mart  warehouses  fulfillment  same-day  piling_on  last_mile 
july 2018 by jerryking
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, on his ‘crazy’ $12bn project
July 10, 2018 | Financial Times | David Pilling 11 HOURS AGO.

On his yacht in Lagos, he talks about his ambitious oil refinery — and his dream of buying Arsenal
Africa  Arsenal  moguls  Nigerians  Nigeria  entrepreneur  Aliko_Dangote  Lagos  oil_industry  oil_refiners  cement  big_bets 
july 2018 by jerryking
Disney’s Big Bet on Streaming Relies on Little-Known Tech Company
OCT. 8, 2017 | The New York Times | By BROOKS BARNES and JOHN KOBLIN.

For two days in June 2017, Disney’s board of directors wrestled with one topic: how technology was disrupting the company’s traditional movie, television and theme park businesses, and what to do about it?.....Cord cutting was accelerating much faster than expected. Live viewing for some children’s programming was in free fall......Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive and chairman, proposed a legacy-defining move. It was time for Disney to double down on streaming..... bet the entertainment giant’s future on a wonky, little-known technology company housed in a former cookie factory: BamTech.....Based in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market, the 850-employee company has a strong track record — no serious glitches, even when delivering tens of millions of live streams at a time. BamTech also has impressive advertising technology (inserting ads in video based on viewer location) and a strong reputation for attracting and keeping viewers, not to mention billing them.....BamTech grew out of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, or Bam for short, which was founded in 2000 as a way to help teams create websites. By 2002, Bam was experimenting with streaming video as a way for out-of-town fans to watch games.

Soon, Bam developed technology that attracted outside clients, including the WWE, Fox Sports, PlayStation Vue and Hulu. HBO went to Bam in 2014 after failing to create a reliable stand-alone streaming service on its own. Could Bam get HBO up and running — in just a few months? Bam built HBO Now for roughly $50 million, delivering it just in time for the Season 5 premiere of “Game of Thrones,” which went off flawlessly. “They were nothing short of herculean for us,” said Richard Plepler, HBO’s chief executive.

In 2015, Bam decided to spin off its streaming division, calling it BamTech. With an eye toward its own direct-to-consumer future, particularly with ESPN, Disney paid $1 billion in 2016 for a 33 percent stake and an option to buy a controlling interest in 2020. To run the stand-alone company, M.L.B. and Disney recruited Michael Paull, 46, from Amazon, where he oversaw Prime Video and the introduction of Amazon Channels.....Disney contends that a big part of BamTech’s value has been overlooked. Down the road, as other media companies move toward streaming, BamTech intends to sign them up as clients.....Though BamTech has proved its streaming bona fides, it still lacks the algorithms and the personalization skills that have helped propel Netflix to success. To fill that gap, Mr. Paull recently hired the former chief technology officer of the F.B.I. to be the head of analytics.....The level of engineering required for that enormous volume of content is no small matter. Each bit of streamable content has to be made to fit a dizzying number of requirements. Start with web browsers, ranging from Safari to Chrome or Explorer, all of which have slightly different demands. It also has to fit every iPhone and Android phone. And then there are connected living room devices like Apple TV.
algorithms  BamTech  big_bets  boards_&_directors_&_governance  CEOs  cord-cutting  digital_savvy  digital_strategies  Disney  disruption  entertainment  game_changers  personalization  Quickplay  sports  sportscasting  streaming  theme_parks  direct-to-consumer 
october 2017 by jerryking
Snap Makes a Bet on the Cultural Supremacy of the Camera - The New York Times
Farhad Manjoo
STATE OF THE ART MARCH 8, 2017

The rising dependence on cameras & picture-based communications system is changing the way we communicate and could alter society in big ways. ...Snap’s success or failure isn’t going to be determined this week or even this year. This is a company that’s betting on a long-term trend: the rise and eventual global dominance of visual culture.Snap calls itself a camera company. That’s a bit cute, considering that it only just released an actual camera, the Spectacles sunglasses, late last year. Snap will probably build other kinds of cameras, including potentially a drone.

But it’s best to take Snap’s camera company claim seriously, not literally. Snap does not necessarily mean that its primary business will be selling a bunch of camera hardware. It’s not going to turn into Nikon, Polaroid or GoPro. Instead it’s hit on something deeper and more important. Through both its hardware and software, Snap wants to enable the cultural supremacy of the camera, to make it at least as important to our daily lives as the keyboard.....the rising dependence on cameras is changing our language. Other than in face-to-face communication, we used to talk primarily in words. Now, more and more, from GIFs to emoji, selfies to image-macro memes and live video, we talk in pictures.
Farhad_Manjoo  Snap  Snapchat  visual_culture  cameras  big_bets  Communicating_&_Connecting  IPOs  Ikea  trends  Instagram  imagery  Polaroid 
march 2017 by jerryking
Philanthropy in Silicon Valley: Big Bets on Big Ideas - The New York Times
By VINDU GOELNOV. 4, 2016
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philanthropy  Silicon_Valley  due_diligence  moonshots  big_bets 
november 2016 by jerryking
Axel Springer CEO Döpfner Keeps Digital Dreams in Check - WSJ
By WILLIAM BOSTON
Updated Feb. 10, 2014

Mr. Döpfner said content once again will be king. "That's why it is interesting now to invest in content businesses that are still undervalued." He described last year's purchase of the Washington Post by Amazon.com Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos as a watershed event that drew the battle lines between the traditional publishing industry and technology companies such as Amazon, Google Inc. and Apple Inc.

"The question is whether traditional content companies will win the game because they have learned how to use technology or whether the technology companies win because they learn how to create content," Mr. Döpfner said. "That is the great game today." [the great game]
Forbes  mergers_&_acquisitions  Germany  German  publishing  digital_media  Axel_Springer  CEOs  content  undervalued  WaPo  Jeff_Bezos  digital_disruption  seminal_moments  big_bets  content_creators  the_great_game  turning_points 
february 2015 by jerryking
Bill Ackman and His Hedge Fund, Betting Big - NYTimes.com
By ALEXANDRA STEVENSON and JULIE CRESWELLOCT. 25, 2014

“We certainly have to make bigger investments, that’s definitely true. But not riskier investments.” Asked about failures, like the Target bet, he sighed deeply. “Target was a bad investment,” he said, “but out of 30 investments, I don’t know of another investor with as high a batting average.”...Mr. Ackman’s role as an activist hedge fund investor is to persuade other shareholders that he knows how to run companies better than current management does. This involves research, argument and, perhaps most important, a sensitivity to how every pronouncement and gesture will be perceived....“I said, the next time I have a really good idea, I’m not going to listen just because someone is older than me.” Mr. Ackman continued, “It’s not going to stop me from going forward.”...His first foray into activist short-selling was in the spring of 2002, when he released a 48-page, scrupulously researched paper criticizing the management and reserve levels of the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation....At Gotham, he learned that he needed research and a story. At Pershing, he perfected the skill of telling that story to an audience of shareholders, corporate directors and the news media.... he has spent $50 million just on research and legal fees for his campaign ...
William_Ackman  hedge_funds  storytelling  Communicating_&_Connecting  big_bets  shareholder_activism 
october 2014 by jerryking
Wall Street Avoiding Risk? Ha! Bets Are Getting Bigger
March 12, 2003 | of The Wall Street Journal | By Gregory Zuckerman.

With stocks crumbling this past fall, John Mack, the chief executive officer of Credit Suisse First Boston, met with senior executives of the firm in New York. He surprised them with a suggestion for how to deal with the difficult markets.

"Let's make some bets," he told the executives, according to people at the meeting. "Let's be smart" with the firm's capital, he urged them, but don't be afraid to take some reasonable risks.

When the message circulated within the securities firm, it startled some people, because Credit Suisse Group's CSFB had been sharply cutting back its exposure to trading risks. But now, like most other houses on Wall Street, CSFB is slowly getting back into the business of trading for profit, boosting its exposure at a time when the rest of its businesses are down....For years, Wall Street firms worked to increase less-volatile businesses that don't eat up capital and can provide steady earnings, such as asset management and mergers and acquisitions. But most of those businesses are in a deep slump, while traders betting on "macro" global-economic trends have enjoyed hefty gains thanks to tumbling rates and a falling dollar.

Analysts say that while proprietary trading may be working for now, they question how long the gains can continue. "A lot of the trading models look invincible" for a period of time, but it doesn't always last,
Wall_Street  risk-taking  risks  CSFB  proprietary-trading  traders  big_bets 
december 2013 by jerryking
Loblaw’s big bet on thinking small - The Globe and Mail
Jul. 16 2013 | G&M | SUSAN KRASHINSKY AND JOSH KERR.
(Charles Waud & WaudWare)
The push into the small-format direction is driven by changing consumer habits, as demands on time force consumers to look for more one-stop shopping solutions in their neighbourhoods, without having to drive to bigger retailers. The convenience store industry has already responded by attempting to alter its down-market image and offering more fresh foods. Loblaw has integrated pharmacies, as well as health and beauty products, into its locations. And along with Shoppers, drugstores have increasingly been selling everything from digital cameras and iPods to milk and dry goods, household items, and expanded beauty products.

This not only helps those retailers to market themselves to busy, younger urban shoppers, but it also addresses Canada’s aging population. Seniors are the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, and prefer to stick closer to home when running errands, Mr. Tyghe observed. “It’s very much about proximity and convenience.”

While the new general store model has worked for Shoppers – the price per share of Loblaw’s offer represents a 27-per-cent premium to Shoppers’ closing price a day before the announcement – there is room for Shoppers to improve in its food offerings, said Doug Stephens, author of The Retail Revival. The challenge, he said, will be to augment that section with some of Loblaw’s products without disrupting the overall shopping experience.

“They have to be very careful with the Shoppers Drug Mart model – a lot of allegiance there,” Mr. Stephens said.

Ultimately, the advantages for Shoppers stem from the buying power the chain inherits, which will allow it to provide whatever product mix works for changing consumer habits at a lower cost.

The “buying clout and synergies” Shoppers would gain post-acquisition will prompt competitors to find ways to match these benefits, said Kevin Grier, a senior market analyst at the George Morris Centre
big_bets  buying_power  convenience_stores  digital_cameras  downsizing  grocery  Loblaws  mergers_&_acquisitions  one-stop_shop  pharmacies  post-deal_integration  proximity  retailers  Shoppers  size  small_spaces  store_footprints  supermarkets  supply_chains  Susan_Krashinsky  synergies  time-strapped 
august 2013 by jerryking
Venture Capitalists Are Making Bigger Bets on Food Start-Ups - NYTimes.com
By JENNA WORTHAM and CLAIRE CAIN MILLER
Published: April 28, 2013

Yet some investors say the projects have a better chance of success if they steer clear of selling actual food. “The food category has been a hard nut to crack because it’s a perishable item,” said Mark Suster, an investor at GRP Partners. “The No. 1 thing V.C.’s are looking for are scalable and repeatable, high-margin businesses. You can create those in food, it’s just harder.”
Claire_Cain_Miller  venture_capital  vc  food  perishables  scaling  big_bets  repeatability  high-margin 
april 2013 by jerryking
For ‘House of Cards,’ Using Big Data to Guarantee Its Popularity - NYTimes.com
February 24, 2013 | NYT | By DAVID CARR

Rick Smolan wrote “The Human Face of Big Data.” “
Netflix, which has 27 million subscribers in the nation and 33 million worldwide, ran the numbers. It already knew that a healthy share had streamed the work of Mr. Fincher, the director of “The Social Network,” from beginning to end. And films featuring Mr. Spacey had always done well, as had the British version of “House of Cards.” With those three circles of interest, Netflix was able to find a Venn diagram intersection that suggested that buying the series would be a very good bet on original programming.

Big bets are now being informed by Big Data, and no one knows more about audiences than Netflix....But there are contrarian opinions, "“Data can only tell you what people have liked before, not what they don’t know they are going to like in the future,” he said. “A good high-end programmer’s job is to find the white spaces in our collective psyche that aren’t filled by an existing television show,” adding, those choices were made “in a black box that data can never penetrate.” "...The rise of the quants has some worried about the impact on quality and diversity of programming. Writing in Salon, Andrew Leonard wonders “how a reliance on Big Data might funnel craftsmanship in particular directions. What happens when directors approach the editing room armed with the knowledge that a certain subset of subscribers are opposed to jump cuts or get off on gruesome torture scenes” or are just interested in sexual romps?

Netflix insists that actual creative decisions will remain in the hands of the creators. “We don’t get super-involved on the creative side,” Mr. Evers said. “We hire the right people and give the freedom and budget to do good work.” That means that when Seth Rogen and Kristen Wiig are announced as special guests on coming episodes of “Arrested Development,” it is not because a statistical analysis told Netflix to do so.

But there are potential conflicts. Given that Netflix is in the business of recommending shows or movies, might its algorithms tilt in favor of the work it commissions as it goes deeper into original programming? It brings to mind how Google got crossed up when it began developing more products, and those began showing up in searches.

And there are concerns that the same thing that makes Netflix so valuable — it knows everything about us — could create problems if it is not careful with our data and our privacy.
David_Carr  Netflix  data_driven  massive_data_sets  streaming  data  television  digital_humanities  Asha_Isaacs  quantitative  big_bets  white_spaces  original_programming  human_psyche  craftsmanship  Venn_diagrams  content_creators  algorithms  biases  the_right_people 
february 2013 by jerryking
H.P.’s Misstep Shows Risk in the Push for Big Ideas - NYTimes.com
November 21, 2012 | NYT | By QUENTIN HARDY.

The ill-fated marriage of the companies is a lesson for H.P. and other older technology giants as they throw billions at supposedly game-changing acquisitions, trying to gain a foothold in the future.

In that future, smartphones and tablets, connected to cloud-computing data centers, are the essential tools of work and play. Companies rent software over the air, rather than buying it with expensive maintenance contracts.

And vast streams of data are continually analyzed to find new patterns and make predictions about consumer behavior and product design. Autonomy, for instance, makes software that can analyze marketing patterns and advise a company on matters like where it should increase marketing resources.

These forces threaten older businesses, like H.P.’s traditional personal computer and data storage products. Other companies, like Oracle, Microsoft and Cisco, also face pressure. They are all trying to buy the future — and have the cash to do it..... But identifying the next big thing can be difficult, said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor of management at Yale University. Likely as not, he said, deals like the one for Autonomy have “maybe a 40 percent success, 60 percent failure rate.”

He added, “The odds are against you succeeding, but the odds are also worth taking.”

The real hazard, he said, is in the way companies describe these acquisitions as “natural, inevitable victories.” They should be seen, he said, as “an investment, like in research and development.”
Autonomy  big_bets  breakthroughs  cloud_computing  cultural_clash  failure  game_changers  HP  ideas  M&A  Meg_Whitman  mergers_&_acquisitions  mistakes  missteps  moonshots  Quentin_Hardy  risks  SaaS  subscriptions  success_rates 
november 2012 by jerryking
Trader Hits Jackpot in Oil, As Commodity Boom Roars On - WSJ.com
February 28, 2008| WSJ | By ANN DAVIS.
Mr. Hall Bet Early On Market Shift; Buoying Citigroup.

Profiles Andrew J. Hall, an enigmatic British-born trader who, in 2003, anticipated an important shift in the way the world valued oil -- and bet big....Mr. Hall's bet -- that long-term and short-term energy prices would soon abandon their historical relationship with one another -- looked like a long shot when he made it....Around 2003, Mr. Hall became convinced big structural changes were looming in the oil markets. For more than a decade, oil had ranged from $10 to $30 a barrel. But growth in demand was starting to outstrip growth in supply. And the once-sleepy economies of China and India were starting to compete for that fuel.

To place his bet, he focused on what was then a stagnant corner of the commodities world: The extremely long-term market in which traders buy and sell oil to be delivered years in the future.

Futures are contracts to buy or sell a product later on, at a price agreed upon today. Back in 2003, oil for future delivery was considerably cheaper than oil in the "spot," or current, market. For instance, a barrel of oil for delivery in 2005 was as much as 20% cheaper than spot oil....A key to Mr. Hall's success, says a friend, Thomas Coleman, a Louisiana oil-storage executive and fellow art collector, is an ability to block out the noise of the crowd. When Mr. Hall "locks in on an idea, he'll take it to the extreme," Mr. Coleman says.
Citigroup  Phibro  traders  oil_industry  hedge_funds  big_bets  commodities  collectors  pattern_recognition  structural_change  extremities  commodities_supercycle  ratios  noise  turbocharge  extremes 
june 2012 by jerryking
The fight of Richard Rainwater's life - Fortune Management
November 7, 2011 | Fortune | By Peter Elkind and Patricia Sellers, with Doris Burke.
The renowned dealmaker built a fortune using little besides his wits. Now he's funding a crash program to stop the disease that's destroying his mind.

Rainwater's deals were just as eclectic and creative. But a pattern quickly emerged. Rainwater always looked for a big event. A blowup in energy prices. A revolution in health care reimbursements. A real estate bubble. Then he looked for a powerful way to exploit the upheaval -- not just to bet the trend but to turbocharge the bet. To snatch up drilling assets at panic-sale prices and hand them to the oil patch's most astute operator. To build a chain of super-efficient hospitals. To buy premium downtown office space (the quickest to bounce back) on the cheap after a market crash.
Bass_brothers  big_bets  bubbles  creativity  cunning  dealmakers  discontinuities  event-driven  events  leverage  Richard_Rainwater  turbocharge 
november 2011 by jerryking
SEC Chief's Big Bet on Goldman - WSJ.com
MAY 15, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By MONICA LANGLEY , KARA
SCANNELL, SUSAN PULLIAM And SUSANNE CRAIG. This account of how the SEC
decided to pursue Goldman and how the Wall Street giant responded is
based on dozens of interviews with regulators, executives, traders,
lawyers and other people with knowledge of the situation....The suit is
shaping up as one of the most explosive confrontations in Wall Street
history, pitting the world's most profitable securities firm against a
regulatory agency with a battered reputation as a watchdog. The decision
to proceed without unanimous agreement from the commissioners—unusual
in such a high-profile case—exposed the agency to accusations that its
actions were influenced by politics despite its nominally independent
status. The agency denies any political agenda.
Goldman_Sachs  SEC  Wall_Street  decision_making  legal_strategies  lawsuits  big_bets 
may 2010 by jerryking
Underlying Goldman Deal, a Different Set of Risk-Takers - WSJ.com
APRIL 22, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By CARRICK MOLLENKAMP ,
MARK WHITEHOUSE And ANTON TROIANOVSKI. The Busted Homes Behind a Big
Bet.
SEC  allegations  hedge_funds  Goldman_Sachs  fraud  risk-taking  big_bets 
april 2010 by jerryking
Risky Business - HBR.org
September 2008 | Harvard Business Review | The Editors. an
article about investment strategies in the Persian Gulf—“Where Oil-Rich
Nations Are Placing Their Bets.” The authors—Rawi Abdelal, Ayesha Khan,
and Tarun Khanna—persuasively argue that there’s a world of difference
between what the Gulf countries are actually trying to achieve and what
Western leaders imagine they’re aiming for. “Seven Ways to Fail Big,”
by Paul Carroll and Chunka Mui, has an ambitious agenda: to categorize
the bad strategic bets that companies make and to identify
decision-making processes that will help other companies avoid similar
failures. The key process is appointing devil’s advocates with enough
clout to stop a bad decision in its tracks.
big_bets  HBR  risks  magazines  decision_making  Persian_Gulf  Middle_East  failure  devil’s_advocates  petro-dictators  petro-politics  thinking_big  strategic_bets  taxonomy  red_teams 
may 2009 by jerryking

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