Top articles of the week | July 11

July 11, 2020

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

An Uber Move A Balanced View (reading time: 7 minutes)

This is a brilliant analysis of the PostMates acquisition by Uber. The post analysis how this deal makes sense for Uber. It is widely seen as a consolation prize after they failed to acquire the much larger GrubHub which would have raised anti-trust scrutiny. It’s a great analysis of the supply/demand side, GrubHub’s performance marketing strength and the valuation structure.

Our Ghost Kitchen Future Anna Wiener, The New Yorker (reading time:33 minutes)

This is the most in depth exposé of ghost kitchens that I’ve read and it’s fascinating. If you’re not familiar with the concept, ghost kitchens exist to serve customers only on meal delivery applications (see article above!). The most well-known company in the space is aptly named CloudKitchens and was started by infamous Uber founder, Travis Kalanick. As we move towards a future where food and groceries are increasingly being sold online, virtual restaurants are more & more popular. During the pandemic, the acceleration of the underlying trends gave us a glimpse of what the future holds, not just for food but for cities as a whole.

Are Our Management Theories Outdated? Gianpiero Petriglieri, Harvard Business Review (reading time: 15 minutes)

Have our management theories become too stale? Are we still too focused on the one hundred-year-old Taylor model? This author believes so and argues that we need to “kill” management. He suggests that purpose needs to trump profit, that a more human view of management is needed. It’s a bit of wishful thinking but I don’t disagree with the premise.

A Brief History of Strategy Consulting Paul Millerd (reading time: 16 minutes)

Related to the article above, Paul Millerd shares a history of strategy consulting starting with Taylor. He explains the rise of McKinsey, BCG, Bain and the management frameworks that emerged during the 20th century. Paul also dives into what’s next for the firms. Despite this, the industry sees the writing on the wall. As technology reshapes every industry, the consulting industry knows that it may be disrupted as well. A shout out to my colleague Antoine that helped out with the article.

Not All Platforms Are Created Equal Sameer Singh (reading time: 9 minutes)

If you want to understand the nature of platforms and what makes them powerful, this post does a great job of clarifying the key concepts. It also underscores the important dynamics. Of course, supply and demand are important but developers play a key role as well.


Every Company is Becoming Software Confluent (reading time: 15 minutes)

It isn’t just that businesses use more software, but that, increasingly, a business is defined in software. The well known post by Marc Andreesen is religiously accepted in Silicon Valley and in my view is largely correct. This post by a database company is content marketing (so take with a grain of salt). Yet, there is a great insight here. Entire parts of businesses are being written out in code. This completely transforms the dynamics of business and subsequently strategy.