No one will ever find themselves in precisely the position Jeff Bezos found himself in when he launched Amazon.com in 1994, with the ambition to create an online “everything store”. Instead, most competitors will – at least for now – have to learn from Bezos’s success.
On Monday, The Everything Store, which traces Amazon’s rise, was named FT/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year for 2013, partly, in the words of one judge, because of its management lessons.
I talked to Brad Stone, the book’s author, about what those lessons might be, and he outlined four. Read more
Not much unites Franz-Joseph I of Austria-Hungary and a flock of starlings. But when Don Tapscott, the business thinker, used film of murmurations of flocking starlings to conclude a presentation about managing complexity in Vienna last week, the mesmerising images unfolded alongside the forbidding presence of the old emperor, staring down from a gilt-framed portrait.
A video about how IBM’s supercomputer Watson took on human contestants in the Jeopardy game show was playing in the lobby of the company HQ when I visited in September. Read more
Who knew management gurus could be so noisy – or so emotional? Gather business academics together in one place and they are more likely to exchange views on core competences or quietly debate the legacy of Peter Drucker. Put them in a banqueting hall and offer them the chance to win an award, though, and they go as mad as a group of middle managers at the Regional Salesperson of the Year gala luncheon. Read more
If a destination’s desirability is measured by the number of maps that claim to lead you to it, innovation is the corporate world’s Taj Mahal. Among the manuals on sale is an Innovator’s Guide, a Cookbook, a Toolkit, a Path, a Way, a Handbook and a Manifesto.
There was something familiar about reports that a German cleric dubbed “the bishop of bling” had spent €15,000 on a bathtub for his palatial new residence. The Pope has now suspended Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, Bishop of Limburg, while his home improvements are audited. There is no evidence the bishop has done anything wrong, let alone illegal. But the affair brings back memories of disgraced Tyco chief executive Dennis Kozlowski’s notorious purchase of a $6,000 gold-and-burgundy floral-patterned shower curtain, using cash and loans from the company.
I recently spent time sifting strategic plans for seven non-profit organisations, drawn up by teams of MBA students for an FT competition, the winner of which will be announced this week.
As Britain agrees to build the country’s first nuclear power plant in a generation, it is chastening to learn just how bullish everybody was about British nuclear energy on the eve of the opening of Calder Hall – the UK’s first nuclear power station – 57 years ago. Read more