Top articles of the week | January 11

January 11, 2020

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

The Loyalty Economy Harvard Business Review (reading time: 20 minutes)

Loyalty leaders grow revenues roughly 2.5 times as fast as their industry peers. Yet, organizations still prioritize shareholder value rather than Customer Value. Rob Marley from Bain argues in this HBR post that customer primacy should be the focus of every organization. New accounting rules are needed to be able to measure what customer value is driving. Mr. Marley also provides a framework for investors to develop more nuanced valuations. I see the world of ecommerce/SAAS in particular starting to bleed into more traditional organizations with LTV and cohort metrics.

The mindsets and practices of excellent CEOs McKinsey (reading time: 25 minutes)

What the CEO controls—the company’s biggest moves—accounts for 45 percent of a company’s performance. McKinsey sets out to show which mindsets and practices are proven to make CEOs most effective. There are six elements that represent the make up of a CEO’s role (personal working norms, external stakeholders, board engagement, corporate strategy, organizational alignment and team & processes). It’s a simplistic representation but adds value to the only peerless job in an organization.

19 Business Moats That Helped Shape The World’s Most Massive Companies CB Insights (reading time: 56 minutes)

What do companies like Amazon, Uber, and Starbucks have in common? These companies thrive by understanding, building, and strengthening their business moats — the key competitive advantages that set them apart.

If you are interested in the concept of competitive advantage, this is a must-read. CB Insights breaks down the 19 most important moats in business. For each moat, an example is given to demonstrate how the competitive advantage functions in the real world.

The End of the Beginning Stratechery (reading time: 7 minutes)

Winston Churchill said in 1942 that it was “the end of the beginning” of the war. That line has stuck with me. Nazi Germany was far from being defeated but the beginning of the war was over. Ben Thompson uses the line to describe where we are today in technology. He aptly compares it to the automobile industry. There were essentially no new American car companies after 1930. The game had been decided between the auto manufacturers. Yet the automobile would go on to transform society. We are at a similar spot in 2020; the major tech companies have won. The rest of society will be transformed with what comes next.

Bonus: Apple Confidential Steve Jobs on ‘Think Different’ Internal Meeting YouTube (reading time: 16 minutes)

I don’t buy into the messianic fervour around Steve Jobs. That being said, the dude was a serious operator. I stumbled upon this video that shows Steve at an internal meeting just after he came back to Apple. He explains the company’s turnaround strategy, cut down the product line and increase quality. What’s wild is that the company only had a 90 day run rate at that point.