Top articles of the week | May 26

May 26, 2018

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

How Sephora Built A Beauty Empire To Survive The Retail Apocalypse CB Insights

This is a great deep dive on how Sephora has managed to grow during a time of contraction in the retail industry. CB Insights tears down how they did it, prioritization of digital, enhancing the physical store, personalization, partnerships and customer loyalty. Their research goes deep on the company’s strategy, tech platforms and revenue impact.

Bureaucracy Can Drain Your Company’s Energy. Agile Can Restore It. Harvard Business Review

This is a bit of a puff piece by Bain in HBR but definitely worth the read in my opinion. Large consultancies are realizing the value of Agile and are actively working with their clients in their transformations. It’s not a panacea and has its issues as well, the benefits seem to outweigh the costs significantly.

The Bill Gates Line Stratechery

Do Google and Facebook care about the suppliers in their value chain? This brilliant analysis by Ben Thompson provides some insight on supplier relationships for these aggregators. Websites and content providers for FB and GOOG are treated much more like commodities than suppliers in Microsoft’s value chain for instance; it is thereby useful to understand this dynamic when it comes to your strategy. Work with them and run the risk of being a commodity or bypass them completely?

Data Protectionism: The Growing Menace to Global Business Financial Times

What happens when you conduct business data in another country and you want to bring your data back home? The answer is that it depends which country. The Financial Times explains how data protectionism is having an impact on trade. Hand in hand of course is the politics that comes with this topic.

Working Ethically At Speed Alix, Engine Room

How can organizations working at the bleeding edge of technology design for and invest in process that informs governance and ethics? This author addresses his plan to address ethical product design using “agile ethics”. Agile ethics is a process to operationalise values, iteratively identify and address ethical challenges of your innovations before you send them out in to the world, and adaptively refine processes so that as the capabilities of technology evolve, so does your ability to diagnose and prevent harm before it happens. It’s amazing that people have not thought about this earlier given the impact technology is having on society at large.