Story

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iPhone 7 and Apple Watch show the evolution of Apple's story

Apple hosted a special event on Wednesday to announce the iPhone 7 and the Apple Watch Series 2. I watched some of the event, and I came away with two main observations: Apple Watch shows the company’s strength around innovation and experimentation. iPhone 7 shows the company’s strength around positioning mature technologies. Apple Watch — innovation
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Department stores are failing. Executives don't know why

Bloomberg published an article on Friday about department stores’ recent horrible quarter. Specifically, the article quoted top executives trying to explain what was happening. The backstory is that the Commerce Department released data showing that retail sales climbed in April by the most in 13 months. Against this backdrop of increased consumer spending, department stores
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Tesla shows the critical marriage of story and technology

Tesla unveiled its Model 3 sedan on March 31 to much fanfare. Over 325,000 customers pre-ordered the car, by making a $1,000 (refundable) deposit. An incredible feat, no doubt. But why Tesla? And why now? There have been other electric cars available at similar price points. The Nissan Leaf comes to mind. Chevy announced the
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Do we spend too much energy trying to save dying companies

The Wall Street Journal ran an article on Sunday about department stores. Specifically, a research firm claims department stores need to close about a fifth of their US mall space to bring performance in line with 2006. The article notes the competitive pressures eating away at department stores: It’s super easy to find almost anything
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Why scientists and engineers should care about corporate finance

It has to do with incentives. I’ve dedicated STEM to Business to helping scientists and engineers build their business acumen. The more we, as STEM professionals, know about business, the better chance we have to earn promotions, change careers, or start our own companies. In the past couple of months, I’ve written extensively about corporate
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What it means to not judge people, personally or professionally

Want a way to sound enlightened? Claim you don’t judge people. You’re above that. You don’t get dragged down into the mud, fighting against the frustrations and resentments that overwhelm most people. And of course that’s a crock. Unless you’re not paying attention, or you’re Buddha-level enlightened, you judge people. Then what does it mean
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What soccer taught me about business

I published a post this morning on Medium titled “What soccer taught me about business”. It’s a story of how I went from ignoring soccer, to watching only the World Cup, to being a true fan. And as I learned more about soccer, I saw many parallels with business. The short version is that soccer
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Correlation versus causation in the world of business

In science, we take great effort to avoid confusing correlation with causation. Two things can happen simultaneously, but not be the cause of one another. Confusing the two is a well-known logical fallacy. How do you overcome potential confusion? Test. Set up experiments that isolate variables. Show that you’re able to effect change in one
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Sean Penn, El Chapo, and how to tell business stories

If you’ve recently been anywhere near news coverage, you’ve heard the story of Sean Penn secretly visiting El Chapo in Mexico a few months ago. El Chapo, a fugitive drug lord, was captured by Mexican authorities this past weekend. Shortly thereafter, Rolling Stone published Penn’s report of his visit. Penn tells an elaborate story of
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Rationalize is a fancy word for reduce

Last week, The Wall Street Journal published a story about the struggles of mining and oil companies. Falling commodity prices have forced these companies to aggressively cut costs. Here’s one excerpt from the article: “2016 is going to be another tough year” for miners, says Macquarie Research mining analyst Alon Olsha. “We have still not seen sufficient capacity
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