Top articles of the week | July 6

July 6, 2019

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

Lessons From the VC Who’s Seen It All Before Fortune (reading time: 12 minutes)

Jeff Jordan is one of the most successful venture capitalists yet one of the most underrated. This profile in Fortune covers his prolific career and the bets he made into some of the world’s most iconic brands. There are lessons in humility and pattern recognition that are inspiring.

How Yahoo Died Sammy Abdullah (reading time: 8 minutes)

Hat tip to Antoine for sharing this article. It summarizes the main reasons of Yahoo’s decline. Some of the points are quite obvious while others are less so. From culture, to failed acquisitions, to layoffs, there a quite a few strategic insights. That being said, it is quite easy to play Monday morning quarterback on these types of situations.

Bonsai Brands Simon Andrews (reading time: 4 minutes)

There is a narrative in CPG that direct to consumer (DTC) brands are taking over. This article is a counterpoint to this story.

We think many of the new DTC businesses are Bonsai Brands. They look very like big successful businesses. But they are a lot smaller and don’t grow beyond a certain size.

The author argues that even though there are no longer any walled gardens; these brands struggle to grow past a certain threshold.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall — WeWork and Uber’s fight against reality The Next Web (reading time: 7 minutes)

The cracks are starting to appear on “successful” businesses that lose gobs of money. Tom Goodwin raises great points to counter the story and simply stating the obvious; these are uncertain times and investing can be quite dangerous.

The cost of making profit has never been more expensive when you can claim fast growth and a big future, and burn money like no tomorrow and the oft broken promises of a ludicrous investor deck.

Inside the conflict at Walmart that’s threatening its high-stakes race with Amazon Vox (reading time: 14 minutes)

A lot has been written about the epic struggle between Amazon and Walmart for the future of retail. This excellent piece in Vox looks at the story from Walmart’s point of view by interviewing many of its executives. The insights are fascinating; changing the nature of an organization is fraught with peril. Dealing with losses, internal tensions and shifting corporate strategy are all explored in depth.