Top articles of the week | February 22

February 22, 2020

Every week, we put together a list of our top 5 articles of the past week. Happy reading!

Is CPG Doomed? Sophie Bakalar, Collaborative Fund (reading time: 6 minutes)

If you are in CPG, there are some significant headwinds. To begin with, struggling retailers are investing more heavily in private label. The rise of DTC brands isn’t helping either. What can CPG do? The post gives a few tips on how CPG companies can innovate.

The Merits of Bottoms Up Investing Venture Desktop (reading time: 15 minutes)

This is a great read if you are interested in the VC space. It explains the concept of bottoms up investing versus thesis driven investing.

Sustainable investing success, then, is less a matter of being light years ahead of one’s competition intellectually and owed to structural and behavioral advantages developed over time.

The author uses Benchmark Capital as an example to illustrate his points. There are some great lessons about investing in here.

Full Circle Leadership Alanna Irving (reading time: 13 minutes)

There’s a lot of voodoo and black magic in much of the leadership literature. I’m writing this as a disclaimer for some of you that may not relate to this article. Nonetheless, there are still some interesting tidbits to extract from the post. Alanna Irving explains the concept of Full Circle leadership and the dichotomy between the visionary leader and the operational one. We often see this in our line of our work; a visionary CEO needs to be close to a strong operational leader in order for the organization to have success.

Lessons from Tesla’s Approach to Innovation Harvard Business Review (reading time: 7 minutes)

You know you’ve made it when HBR starts covering stories about you. Despite all the hype, Tesla is here to stay and their innovation track record is undeniable. The post does a good job of reverse engineering their innovation playbook and how their CEO leverages both SpaceX and Tesla.

The New Business of AI (and How It’s Different From Traditional Software) Andreesen Horowitz (reading time: 19 minutes)

Many companies today are branding themselves with the “AI” moniker and maybe they are right to do so. A real AI company is not the same as an enterprise software one. This post argues that it is not necessarily better from a business perspective. These companies have lower gross margins, scaling challenges and weaker competitive advantages. It’s a great deep dive on the structure and strategy of these companies.