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    Business Lessons from Reed Hastings/Netflix (Part 2)

    5. “We’re competing with sleep, on the margin. It’s a very large pool of time.” “We are growing a whole industry. So [Netflix faces] a mix of competition that hurts, but on the other hand that competition is making internet viewing more popular with everyone.” “Every incremental 10 million is a little harder than the last 10 million, but our content keeps getting better, so those forces offset each other. […]

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    Business Lessons from Reed Hastings (Netflix)- Part 1

    Reed Hastings is the Chairman, CEO, President and co-Founder of Netflix. After graduating from Bowdoin College in Maine Hastings joined the Peace Corps. He then obtained a master’s degree in computer science at Stanford. Hastings was the founder of Pure Software which built tools for Unix software developers. Pure was acquired by Rational Software in 1997, the same year Netflix was founded. “We’re figuring out every year how to use […]

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    Lessons from Phil Knight about Business and Being an Entrepreneur

    Phil Knight famously turned the startup Blue Ribbon Sports into the giant company known as Nike. Knight described the market at the time he started his business in this way: “The American shoes were offshoots of tire companies. Shoes cost $5 and you would come back from a five-mile run with your feet bleeding. Then the German companies came in with $30 shoes, which were more comfortable.” During a trip to […]

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    Super Bass-O-Matic Subscriptions: Lessons from Rovco on Customer Retention

    As you know, Rovco has traditionally sold delicious bass on a transactional basis to its “Super Bass-o-Matic” customers. Spokesman: How many times has this happened to you? You have a bass, and you’re trying to find an exciting new way to prepare it for the dinner table. You could scale the bass, remove the bass’ tail, head and bones, and serve the fish as you would any other fish dinner. But […]

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    Business Lessons from a Blues Guitarist and Blues Club Owner (Buddy Guy)

      George “Buddy” Guy (BG) was born in 1936 in Louisiana. His earliest influences included T-Bone Walker, Lightnin’ Slim and Lightnin’ Hopkins. BG wrote in his autobiography: “I wanted to play like B.B. King but act like Guitar Slim.” In 1957, BG cut a demo tape at a Louisiana radio station and bought a one-way train ticket to Chicago. Eric Clapton has said that BG is “by far without a doubt the best guitar player alive.” […]

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    Sammy Hagar: Content Marketing/Bundling/Brands/Pricing Power

    Why am I writing about Sammy Hagar? The answer is simple: because he has been a very successful business founder in addition to being a rock and roll star. To become an effective learning machine you will benefit from acquiring knowledge from as many sources as possible, including unconventional sources. For this same reason I have written blog posts on people like Rza, Wheezy, Kanye, Jimmy Iovine, and Biggie Smalls. Last, but not […]

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    MoviePass. Premature Scaling?

      Businesses are now selling subscriptions for software as a service (SaaS), but also for products like car washes and movies. Having a more predictable recurring revenue stream is often cited as a benefit of a subscription business model. If you look deeper there are more important benefits of an ongoing subscription relationship with customers that can also produce significantly higher return on investment, but only if the right conditions […]

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    Investing and Business Lessons from The Princess Bride

      If you have not at least watched the movie version of The Princess Bride, I suggest that you review your priorities in life. “The Princess Bride was directed by Rob Reiner, who was in the midst of a dynamite run that also included This Is Spinal Tap, The Sure Thing, Stand By Me, When Harry Met Sally, Misery and A Few Good Men; and written by William Goldman, who also wrote the book on which it was […]

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    Lessons from Norman Augustine About Innovation and his Famous Laws

      Norman Augustine has a reputation for saying exactly what he means. When he says something like: “If stock market experts were so expert, they would be buying stock, not selling advice,” he transforms an obvious point into a humorous barb. As another example of his wit, he recently said: “We’ve all heard the criticism ‘He talks too much.’ When was the last time you heard someone criticized for listening […]

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    Benoit Mandelbrot’s Ideas about Investing and Markets (Made as Simple as Possible, but not Simpler).

      Benoit Mandelbrot was a Polish-born, French and American “mathematician with broad interests in the practical sciences.” I met him only once at a lecture at Microsoft Research before he passed away in 2010. Mandelbrot and Richard Hudson are the authors of the influential book The Misbehavior of Markets: A Fractal View of Financial Turbulence. I suggest you read this book for yourself (even though it is not an easy […]

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