June 19, 2017

robert-scobleA few months ago we looked at how increased competition has hurt sales at Whole Foods and slowed its growth in recent years. Faced with the possibility of shutting down stores, CEO John Mackey cleared five people from the board of directors, appointed a new chairwoman, and hired a new CFO. Executives even developed plans to cut costs while also improving operations.

Then suddenly everything changed: last week Amazon announced that it would buy Whole Foods for $13.4 billion. This Continue reading

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restaurants-strugglesWhile retailers have seen sales drop in the years since the Great Recession, restaurants have largely enjoyed a boom time. American eateries benefitted from a shift in consumer spending habits away from products and towards “experiences” like meals and travel. And as demand increased, so did the supply of restaurants. Chipotle, for instance, has added 57 stores so far this year on top of the 240 locations it opened in 2016.

The burrito chain’s aggressive expansion is even more astounding Continue reading

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john-edwardsIn 2007 members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike for 100 days, bringing much of the entertainment industry to a halt. The action left tens of thousands of workers idled and reportedly cost the Los Angeles economy $2 billion. The writers eventually reached a deal with Hollywood studios and ended a dire situation that neither side wanted to see happen again.  

Ten years later, though, these two groups found themselves at yet another stalemate during Continue reading

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April 27, 2017


bankers-regulatorsThe 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform act stands as one of the most complicated pieces of legislation ever devised. The law includes more than 22,000 pages of rules, which is equivalent to about 15 copies of Tolstoy’s epic novel
War and Peace. These guidelines tell banks how much money they must set aside, how they can advertise, what sort of investments they can make, and many other stipulations and requirements.

As you can imagine, keeping track of all those regulations Continue reading

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April 25, 2017

chinese-companiesFor years tech giants like Facebook and Google have tried to set up shop in China only to see their efforts blocked by the country’s restrictive government. In place of these global brands, domestic companies like the search engine Baidu and the social network Weibo have flourished among China’s enormous Internet community. And in an ironic twist, this growing tech sector owes much of its success to the structure and culture of Silicon Valley’s biggest names.

Many Chinese companies are Continue reading

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April 18, 2017

ibmIn the 1980s IBM was one of the first companies to make remote work a priority for its employees. Starting with “remote terminals” installed in staffers’ houses, by 2009 40 percent of the tech company’s 386,000 employees worked from home. In the process, IBM reduced office space by 78 million square feet and started saving $100 million in annual costs. Other companies took IBM’s lead and began to follow the remote trend as well. In fact, 25 percent of American Continue reading

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March 10, 2017

UBS-Reinvents-WorkSpaceOver the years, Silicon Valley startups have become famous for developing open work spaces free of personalized desks or big corner offices. The idea is to allow employees to gather together and collaborate rather than leave them enclosed in their cubicles. While other companies avoided this unconventional approach at first, more firms have switched to open offices as the concept has become more popular. Still, these companies have tended to be smaller operations as many big businesses remained skeptical that Continue reading

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March 9, 2017

SwedishSoftwareCompany-wo-CEOThree years ago, the staff of the Swedish software consulting firm Crisp felt it was time for a change in leadership. The company had been recently experimenting with its upper management structure, going from a standard CEO model to one that replaced the top executive annually through a staff vote. Then, a radical idea took root in the minds of Crisp’s employees. “We said, ‘what if we had nobody as our next CEO – what would that look like?’” said Continue reading

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March 7, 2017

LisaNottinghamIn recent years, many companies have sought to create work environments that place a heavy emphasis on collaboration. With flattened hierarchies and open door policies, these workplaces give employees easy access to managers and other top performers. The system is meant to improve office efficiency by allowing staffers to receive unique advice that makes their jobs easier.

But while regular employees can have their workloads lightened, managers quickly become overwhelmed by overly collaborative workplaces. After all, executives who spend much Continue reading

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February 28, 2017

GlobalPanoramaFor 82 years, the accounting firm PwC (formerly PricewaterhouseCooper) has tallied the votes and handed out the envelopes at the Academy Awards. Although it’s not the company’s most lucrative contract, the Oscars are nevertheless one of the crown jewels of PwC’s clientele. Not only does the awards show give the firm a marketing boost, but it also acts as evidence for PwC’s ability to handle situations in the spotlight smoothly.

But as anyone who watched Sunday night’s broadcast knows, that Continue reading

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