Top articles of the week | September 28

September 28, 2019

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

Growing your own agility coaches to adopt new ways of working McKinsey & Company (reading time: 12 minutes)

A lot of ink has been spilled over the rise of Agile in organizations. There have been many attempts to replicate the Spotify model but simply copying a model without a more deliberate process is doomed. McKinsey argues for Agile coaches to play an important role in this transformation.

A Taxonomy of Moats Jerry Newmann (reading time: 29 minutes)

It’s quite rare that I share every new post from a particular blog or publication but Jerry Newmann is the exception. His latest post on defining moats (aka competitive advantage) is exceptional. He summarizes research on the topic and succinctly categorizes moats. There are four broad classifications: 1) state granted, 2) special know-how, 3) scale and 4) system rigidity. If you are interested in the topic, I highly recommend this article!

The Slow-Burning Success of Disney’s Bob Iger NY Times (reading time: 23 minutes)

To be honorable, decent, smart, successful and a terrific guy is unusual anywhere. But it is most unusual in the entertainment business. He’s in a category of one.

I thoroughly enjoyed this piece on Disney’s Bob Iger. On top of being a tremendous operator, he also happens to be a nice guy! He’s concluded some of the most successful acquisitions in corporate history (Pixar, Fox, Star Wars, etc.) and is now battling the tech giants with the Disney+ streaming service. The post also reveals more details on the relationship between Mr. Iger and the late Steve Jobs.

After Blockbuster IPO, Lightspeed Torn Between Growth and Profit Bloomberg (reading time: 10 minutes)

This post is a well-deserved victory lap for Montreal’s Lightspeed that went public this past summer. Bloomberg cites the company as one of North American’s technology leaders and profiles its CEO, Dax Dasilva. The article also covers an interesting tension between more profit focused Canadian shareholders and growth driven shareholders from the US.

Neither, and New: Lessons from Uber and Vision Fund Ben Thompson (reading time: 16 minutes)

This is another seminal article from Ben Thompson. The arbitrary definition of a “technology company” leads to confusion and to dramatically high valuations in certain instances. Ben argues that companies like Uber and WeWork fall into a new category. There are not technology or traditional, there are neither yet entirely new as well. It’s a fantastic analysis that examines gross margins of Uber in particular and also shed light on Softbank’s Vision Fund portfolio.