background preloader

Case Studies

Facebook Twitter

6 Investing Lessons From The Valeant Pharmaceuticals Scandal. It's not every day that a company with a market cap of more than US$ 70 billion (almost same as India's largest company by market cap), and one that is favoured by a lot of savvy investors, loses 80% in nine months (65% in just the last one month). But that's what has happened with investors in the Canada-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX), where a spate of scams has been discovered over the past few months - from bad M&A accounting, to wrongful income reporting, and now the company is facing a potential default. Valeant is a typical case of a high-growth business where people think nothing could go wrong and overpay ignoring the complexities and fuzziness, and which ultimately presents itself as a classic case on what not to do in business and investing. Like I wrote about the Volkswagen (OTCPK:VLKAY) scandal a few months back, there are several lessons one can learn from the fall from grace of Valeant.

Here are just six of them. 1. "Not Just One Cockroach" Theory Works 2. 3. 4. 5. Bill Gross: The single biggest reason why startups succeed. What’s Eating Silicon Valley. Like most people, I look up to and admire the heroes of Silicon Valley (the real ones, not the ones from the TV show). They’ve given rise to services (e.g., Google, Facebook, Uber, LinkedIn, Airbnb) that we use every day and make the world a better place.

They’ve created value, wealth, and opportunity at unprecedented historic levels. I’ve also had the chance to meet some of the leading CEOs and entrepreneurs of the Valley and they are, by and large, good-natured, brilliant, and thoughtful people. They’re earnest and committed to building positive things. Some of them are donors to my organization, for which I’m immensely grateful. It’s clear that Silicon Valley is today more than ever the center of innovation and technological progress. That said, there are a few things about it that are starting to make me nervous. I’ve had several friends tell me that they’re leaving the Valley because they want to rejoin the real world.

What are these people talking about? Hard work is awesome. Tim Cook's Apple Has Forced the Whole Tech World to Realign. In Silicon Valley, where wit and irony are far scarcer than venture funding, Aaron Levie is one of the few truly funny guys. Levie is the CEO of Box, a software company that makes online tools for businesses. That doesn’t sound especially thrilling, as Levie self-deprecatingly acknowledged the other day at Box’s annual conference in San Francisco, where he had just sat down on stage to interview Apple CEO Tim Cook. “You know you’re at an enterprise software conference, right?”

Levie asked Cook, whose company is known more for its hypnotic command over consumers than businesses. “Your PR team told you?” 'You wouldn't say, let me go buy an enterprise car. You don't get an enterprise pen to write with.' Cook was making his first public appearance since Apple reported selling more than 13 million of its new iPhones the previous weekend, a new record. “To take advantage of it in a huge way you have to rethink everything that you’re doing,” he said. But then a funny thing happened. 5 unexpected problems I faced when I became my own boss. Finally, the last thing that people don't anticipate when they're starting to work for themselves is the moment when they might have to decide to cut their losses and start looking for a job.

We don't want to think about our businesses or freelancing careers failing at the moment when we're trying to get them started, but it's important that we do. There is something called the "Sunk Cost Fallacy" that makes us less likely to give up on something when we're more physically, emotionally and financially invested in it. As we put more and more time and energy into our freelancing careers or businesses, we begin to fear losing that investment and be more willing to invest too much and be less likely to walk away even when that's the smart thing to do. That's why it's important to decide ahead of time what would make you return to traditional employment.

Good luck. The Man Who Invented Scotch Tape. “He created a greenhouse environment, a skunkworks, where we could do anything, try anything. When you’re an oddball in a permissive environment, things often turn out well.” -- Paul Hanson, ex-technical director at 3M, on Scotch tape inventor, Richard Drew On a surface level, Scotch tape may seem like just about the most boring product in the world. Though it can be found in nearly 90% of American households and is used for everything from wrapping gifts to “repairing” ripped dollar bills, we'll forgive you for never being curious about its origins. But stick with us: this gets interesting! The story of Scotch tape is one of incredible determination and risk-taking -- and its invention was thanks to a banjo-playing, college-dropout, “misfit” engineer who believed in his ability to invent.

He ended up not just pioneering Scotch transparent tape and masking tape, but revolutionizing the way that his company, 3M, treated creative people. A Brief History of 3M The Scrappy Engineer Taping the Way. The Dumbest Idea: Maximizing Shareholder Value. Danish restaurant keeps track of occupied tables using low tech solution. Yahoo's Comeback Is All Smoke and Mirrors. The appointment of Marissa Mayer as Yahoo CEO has been a godsend for those in the media.

If nothing else, the photogenic, enigmatic and workaholic chief executive has made people interested in the company again. In 2011, Yahoo was never mentioned in the same breath as Google or Facebook. But now, Mayer has propelled the company into the top tier of Internet Companies That Tech Writers Like to Cover. Like investors, the media love a comeback story, and Yahoo seemed to fit the bill: Since Mayer joined the company on July 16, 2012, its stock price has risen 159%. YHOO data by YCharts While Mayer is doubtlessly part of the reason for the increased valuation, skeptical analysts now say the company has benefited more than most realize from its 24% stake in Alibaba and that company's impending IPO. Alibaba's Magic Spell Yahoo is known for its string of strategic errors over the last few years, but not all the deals were blunders. Henrique de Castro's Exit. Nest acquisition: Where next for 'new' Google? 14 January 2014Last updated at 09:48 ET By Dave Lee Technology reporter, BBC News In Pixar's Wall-E, mega-corporation Buy n Large is part of all human life and leisure In the adorable 2008 Pixar film Wall-E, much of the plot centres on the corporate behemoth that is Buy n Large.

BnL, a "mega-corporation", runs everything. Everything. The company is the "world leader" in - to pick just a few - aerospace, agriculture, the media, food, science, infrastructure and transport. But it didn't start out that way. And in 1998, Google just did search. These days, it's the biggest player in internet advertising. Monday's announcement that Google was to acquire smart-thermostat-maker Nest for $3.2bn (£2bn) came hot on the heels of a big shopping spree in robotics, with the notable acquisition of Boston Dynamics.

Continue reading the main story “Start Quote I think it's been clear for a long time that Google is not a web search company” End QuoteBenedict EvansTechnology analyst Machine-learning How? Inside RIM: An exclusive look at the rise and fall of the company that made smartphones smart. Research In Motion is in the midst of a major transition in every sense of the word.

Publicly, the company is portraying a very defensive image — one that is very dismissive, as if RIM is profitable and class-leading, and the media is out of line to criticize its business, as are investors. Internally, however, there’s a different story to be told. It’s a story filled with attitude, cockiness, heated arguments among the executive team and Co-CEOs, and paranoia. We’ve spoken to multiple ex-RIM executives at length about their experiences with the company over the past few years. While most speak highly of RIM and their time in Waterloo, they also each left the company due mainly to RIM’s lack of vision and leadership. Read on for an exclusive inside look at a company teetering on the edge between greatness and collapse. Lightning in a bottle. “Lightning in a bottle.” Let’s rewind a few years. There will never be a BlackBerry with an MP3 player or camera. Immigration reform is a no-brainer to help the economy | Grover Norquist | Comment is free |

People are an asset, not a liability. The United States is the most immigrant-friendly nation in the world and the richest country in the world. This is not a coincidence. Those voices that would make us less immigrant-friendly would make us less successful, less prosperous, and certainly less American. Today, some 11 million "undocumented workers" live in the shadows in the United States. Sixty percent of them crossed the Mexican border or the Canadian border without government approval and 40% arrived by plane and overstayed their visas. The 844-page immigration reform bill submitted to the Senate by the "Gang of Eight" senators would allow the 11 million to earn legal status by submitting to a background check to weed out those with felony convictions, paying taxes and a fine. This legislation would greatly strengthen the American economy. "Whether low-skilled or high-skilled, immigrants boost national output, enhance specialization, and provide a net economic benefit.

" Why did Pope Benedict XVI resign? 27 November 2013Last updated at 19:49 ET By Mark Dowd BBC Radio 4 Benedict XVI shocked the world in February when he became the first pope to resign in almost 600 years. But attention shifted quickly to the succession, and the election of the new Pope, Francis. Amid the drama, one question was never fully answered - why did Benedict quit?

Pope Benedict's official resignation statement offered his waning physical and mental powers as the explanation, but it's long been suspected there was more to it. And my inquiries have confirmed that. I went to visit the Nigerian Cardinal, Francis Arinze at his apartment overlooking St Peter's. I raised the subject of the scandals that had preceded the Pope's bombshell decision and, in particular the Vatileaks affair in which the Pope's butler, Paolo Gabriele, had leaked confidential documents exposing Vatican power struggles.

Continue reading the main story 'I have had to recognise my incapacity' Resignation statement, 11 February 2013. Pope Francis - rebranding case study for business schools. When a pope meets a president — and the Vicar of Christ gets pulled into political coverage — trivialization ensues. As a reporter, I covered the St. Louis meeting between Pope John Paul II and President Bill Clinton in January 1999, not long after Clinton admitted to “inappropriate, intimate contact” with Monica Lewinsky. There was a frenzy of speculation that, well, what? That the pope would force Clinton to kneel in penance for three days in the snow, like Henry IV? That if they touched hands, it would cause spontaneous spiritual combustion? The media acted as though a priest had never met an adulterer before, and as though two seasoned world leaders didn’t know how to act in public.

In the current round of coverage, we have been treated to comparisons between the approval ratings of President Barack Obama and Pope Francis, and analysis about similarities between the Democratic and the Vatican platforms. That said, popes have been known to employ political skills in divine purposes. Seeing Through the Illusion: Understanding Apple’s Mastery of the Media. Apple CEO Tim Cook with former VP of Worldwide Communications Katie Cotton “Beautifully, unapologetically plastic.” “Feature for feature, it’s identical to iPad Air in every way.” “Just avoid holding it in that way.” Apple’s public relations (PR) department is probably the best in the world — certainly more impressive at shaping and controlling the discussion of its products than any other technology company.

Except for a few big exceptions, such as the memorably off-pitch quotes above, Apple’s “tell them what to believe” PR strategy has worked incredibly well for years. Like this: Like Loading...