Top articles of the week | May 16

May 16, 2020

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

The Agile C-Suite Harvard Business Review (reading time: 22 minutes)

The time to innovate is before a strategic inflection point. For instance, if your business is suffering because of the current pandemic, the chance of succeeding with a new innovation are much lower than in regular times. That’s why it’s important for a leadership team to be agile and ensure the rest of the organization follows suit. There’s also some great tactical advice on putting this in place from meetings, feedback loops and training.

Rather than predict the unpredictable, agile leaders build rapid feedback loops.

Strategy under uncertainty Jerry Newmann (reading time: 16 minutes)

This is a absolutely terrific post on strategy and what it actually means. Large corporations have established strategies because the problem they are solving for is known; this is what makes strategic planning possible. For a startup however, you can’t plan because the degree of n uncertainty is too high; specifically, because it is impossible to predict the future accurately. Jerry Newmann explains how uncertainty enters the decision making process

Sony CEO Yoshida navigates coronavirus and activist attacks Nikkei Asian Review (reading time: 14 minutes)

Growing up, Sony and the other Japanese consumer electronics companies were going to take over the world. Well, that didn’t happen. They ended up investing disastrously in content. This article highlights the brilliant work their CEO Kenichiro Yoshida has turned the business around, fought off activist shareholders and innovated along the way. Instead of chasing the glories of the past, Yoshida has brought an intense focus and gained investors’ trust.

Venture Capital Needs a Complete Reset Gabe Kleinmann (reading time: 11 minutes)

If the business isn’t transformational, then perhaps it shouldn’t be a venture-funded business. This post by Gabe Kleinmann is a call to reset the VC industry by focusing on much bigger planetary problems. He works at Obvious Ventures which focuses on early stage ventures focused on sustainability. I like the core argument that if you something 10 times harder to solve, you will make much progress than attempting to improve something by 10%.

COVID and cascading collapses Benedict Evans (reading time: 6 minutes)

Everything that the internet did to print media is happening to retail – a lot of retailers, like newspapers or magazines, are fixed-cost bundles that are now being unbundled and are defended by barriers to entry that are now meaningless.

Benedict Evans, as usual, provides some great insights on the implications of the current crisis. He uses print and RIM as a starting point in his argument before expanding into the inevitable collapse of retail and cable. By zooming out, the trends can be identified much more clearly.