What I wrote last week
Exploring ALDI’s Unlimited Success With Limited Assortments. If I could buy shares of a privately held company, that’d be Aldi. I wrote about Aldi here
($) Louis Vuitton’s Formula for World Domination. “Even as it took steps to broaden its appeal, the brand put in place measures to manage the risks associated with becoming too widespread and easy to get. Its number of stores has changed little over the past 10 years, closing some as it opens others. Vuitton doesn’t sell through wholesalers and it doesn’t license its designs. There are no end-of-season sales. Its perfume production is limited to small batches, available only at Louis Vuitton retailers and on the brand’s website. Its fragrances aren’t available in the LVMH-owned retailer Sephora. Louis Vuitton has also intentionally limited supply to retain a sense of exclusivity. The brand makes small production runs for products in each collection. The idea is to always make slightly less than demand.“
How Spotify’s podcast bet went wrong. Growth at all costs and through M&A is usually not the answer for sustainability.
($) Goldman Sachs Steps Back From Bidding for New Credit Card Programs. The move to scale back consumer credit card ambitions of Goldman Sachs is surprising to me. First, they abandoned plans to have Goldman-Sachs-branded credit cards. Then, they don’t bid for co-branded portfolios. The infrastructure that they built for Apple Card (which I suspect involves a lot of concessions) only makes sense economically if it’s used for many other portfolios. I can understand if the bank is being more conservative now than it used to be, but this type of retreat seems like an over-correction at best or at worst the beginning of the end for consumer banking ambition.
Inside Flipkart, the Indian giant beating Amazon. “Krishnamurthy had a simple approach for the sale: Go all-in on smartphones. The company offered customers interest-free loans and Krishnamurthy personally visited the offices of phone brands to make exclusive sales deals. One Flipkart executive who worked with him at the time recalled him pleading with a phone manufacturer, “Give me a chance.” His strategy worked. In terms of gross merchandise value (GMV) — the total value of goods sold — Flipkart achieved a 50% market share during the sale, compared to Amazon’s 32%, according to market research firm RedSeer. Amazon was rattled. One former executive in Amazon’s payments unit told Rest of World that within the company, some leaders still regard this period as a missed opportunity to kill off Flipkart.”
Other stuff I find interesting
($) For Remote Workers, These U.S. Cities Are Great Places to Live. I am more of an office or hybrid guy myself as I believe in the value of separating work from home as well as human interaction in an office. But if remote working is your thing, this list can be valuable. I’d throw the city of Omaha to the mix as well.
Milled is a great tool to search for email newsletters by brands
The maze is in the mouse. While there are some criticisms over parts of the article, the consensus is that it reflects the culture and inner workings at Google. As a result, Google has a big problem at hand. Given the hiring frenzy, the layoff and the botched launch of Bard, one must wonder if Sundar is the right man to help Google fix these problems and once again roar in the future.
Why cash is still king in Iraq. It makes one reflect on how much banking regulations in the US protect consumers and create trust. And how often we tend to take it for granted.
Amsterdam’s airport was brutally honest about its ‘poor’ 2022 performance. How often have you read something this refreshingly honest from a company?
Why African EV startups are struggling. “Two years on, however, industry advocates believe the company’s goals are too ambitious given the high EV prices, unfriendly government policies, lack of charging infrastructure, high customs duties, and bad roads in African countries.”
Three-in-ten U.S. adults say they have ever used a dating site or app
US Credit card balances reached $986 billion at the end of 2022, a record high