Flashy vs. Quiet Luxury Goods

Wealthy consumers low in need for status want to associate with their own kind and pay a premium for quiet goods only they can recognize. Wealthy consumers high in need for status use loud luxury goods to signal to the less affluent that they are not one of them. Those who are high in need for statusbut cannot afford true luxury use loud counterfeits to emulate those they recognize to be wealthy.

Bike Sharing Overflow

 A fascinating collection of images collected by The Atlantic that document the huge oversupply of bikes in china triggered by hype around bike sharing companies that are trying to win customers and capture market share.

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Understanding the lack of digital directors on boards

The Financial Times reports on the lack of non-executive directors with digital knowledge on boards despite the fact that digitalization has is transforming basically every business.

One challenge is that the scope and focus of a digital director can be very broad even though digital skills are becoming more specialized. An expert in cyber security is most likely not the right person to think about the opportunities of injecting AI into business processes.

One of the questions that remains unanswered is the potential impact that a digital director could have on a business if the actual management is not equally "digitized". In such a situation the digital director can become the catalyst that starts the digitalization of the business - an essential task in itself as well.

Read the full article Europe lacks non-execs with digital knowledge

More evidence: CEOs who don't listen are bad for business

Fascinating article that looks into the details of GE's fall from being an industrial giant to a company in need of a drastic turnaround. The following paragraph stood out specifically as it highlights a leadership pattern that has repeatedly been shown to be a leading indicator of trouble: 

The most surprising element in Flannery’s critique of the culture he inherited is that it needs “more candor, more debate, more pushback.” Really—more candor? At GE? The place has long been famous as a company where frankness borders on rudeness. An Immelt spokesman says “there was a lot of pushback” in meetings with Immelt. Yet Flannery harps on the point, and executives who worked with Immelt voice the same concern. “Jeff just didn’t listen to his subordinates,” says a former finance executive. “Pushback went away under Jeff,” says a former staff member. “When the top guy is the smartest guy in the world, you’ve got a real problem.” 

Read the full article What the Hell Happened at GE?

Turns out, teaching entrepreneurship is hard

Are entrepreneurs born or raised? Recent research shows that the outcomes from entrepreneurship programs in non-business schools are rather poor. 

Instead, the focus of successful entrepreneurship programs should be to focus on selecting the right candidates into the program based on their personality. 

Individual, student‐level attributes may be as important to entrepreneurial outcomes as curricular considerations in BEPs. Using data from current and recent graduates of a BEP our study suggests that personal attributes—an individual's entrepreneurial passion—increase the likelihood of entrepreneurial intention among its students. Consequently, our findings indicate that BEPs may need to consider applicant characteristics to maximize the likelihood of entrepreneurial outcomes from its program.

Carlos Ghosn: beyond the cost-cutter

Carlos Ghosn, who is as of early 2018 Chairman and CEO of France-based Renault, Chairman and former CEO of Japan-based Nissan, and Chairman of Mitsubishi Motors, is typically known as the cost cutter who achieved the turnarounds at Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi through ruthless focus on removing operational inefficiencies. Yet the successful renewal of these brand cannot just be attributed to cost-cutting but also to innovation in product design which is an aspect that gets often overlooked in turnaround management.  

One of the first things Product Planning did,” says Collins, “was define the brand identities of both Nissan and Infiniti, with the understanding that Nissan–which is the larger volume brand–would be the first to be revitalized.” It didn’t take long, Collins claims, for the product planning groups to differentiate the brands by powertrain layout, with Nissan producing predominately front-drive cars, and Infiniti rear-drive vehicles. This would move the brands in distinct directions, and make Infiniti a more credible player in the luxury segment, despite the potential savings that could be gained from building the Infiniti models off the Nissan platforms.