I’ve been enjoying reading newspapers and magazines on my iPad, and in the last couple of days there were more than a few articles that caught my eye.
First, especially after the problems last night in the World Series with the dugout telephones, I went back and re-read the NY Times story in the Sunday paper on the use of that old relic of an instrument of communication in the dugout Ironically, Tony LaRussa was the cover photo for the story. From the article:
While landlines in homes collect dust and serve increasingly decorative functions, the attitude among baseball clubs is a familiar one in a sport tied tightly to old-fashioned ways: why change what works?
“The same old phones, the same old process,” said Derek Lilliquist, the bullpen coach of the St. Louis Cardinals. “I guess they’ve been that way forever.”
In today’s Wall Street Journal, there were a couple of articles about entrepreneurs that caught my eye; one dealing with China and the restaurant industry and the other dealing with entrepreneurial bankers.
A Secret Recipe in China details the story of an entrepreneur in the restaurant industry who did what some of the major chains couldn’t do…succeed in China. From the article:
Shanghai's hygiene bureau objected when Scott Minoie tried to build an open kitchen in his first Element Fresh restaurant nearly a decade ago, saying it would be unsightly: "too foreign."
But the Boston native persuaded officials to let him press ahead, confident that Chinese consumers, concerned with food safety, would appreciate a Western-style bistro that lets diners see their laffa-bread salads and raspberry smoothies while they're being made.
Now he has a chain of 11 restaurants. Sales are on track to hit $30 million this year, up 40% from last year, according to Element Fresh's managing partner, Frank Rasche. The chain's profit margin hovered between 10% and 15% last year, he says. They plan to open about 40 more outlets in China by 2015.
Go West, Investment Banker, tells the tale of one particular gentleman who went to KeyBank from Bank of America. From the article:
In July, though, the 42-year-old Mr. Fowler left the second-largest U.S. bank by assets, where he was a director covering private equity, and moved to Cleveland. He joined KeyCorp, a regional bank with a loan portfolio a tenth the size of Bank of America's, to do a similar job.
The deals at KeyCorp are smaller—and so is the paycheck—but becoming a big fish in the relatively small pond of regional banking has its advantages. In his new role, he can take on a larger role in the bank, while enjoying the benefits of living in the Midwest.
"It's very entrepreneurial," says Mr. Fowler. At Bank of America, he says he was one among legions of bankers focused on "elephant hunting" for billion-dollar deals that have become increasingly scarce. By contrast, at KeyCorp, "there's a real energy and excitement here," he says.
This week, I also sat in on Professor Brian Sommer’s Managing Organization class. Students did presentations on various companies, and one of them was Netflix. It was particularly interesting to hear about the problems of this company, given the press they’ve been getting lately. Today’s paper followed the problems of this company with a piece, Netflix Shares Sink 35%...never the headline you want to see for your company.
Now, back to my iPad.