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Pop business for the intelligent reader. A publication from Medium.

Why Casper bleeds cash while Purple makes money

Source: Photo by Zulian Firmansyah on Unsplash

Failure is a great teacher. In late November, mattress-in-a-box firm Casper announced that it was being taken private at a valuation roughly 25% of its last private funding round. Some lessons from Casper’s failure.

Coke Pepsi Challenge

Casper’s gross margins are a few percentage points higher than Purple’s. Higher gross margins means more…

A fascinating new book paints a cautionary tale of Adam Neumann’s incredible rise and the dangers of the messianic leader

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I only visited one WeWork office, a co-working space at 33 Irving Pl, in New York City, in 2018. I was there to help judge a technology competition and wondered why this company was meeting in a WeWork office.

I’d heard of WeWork but knew little about it. The buzz…

The e-commerce platform’s acquisition of Depop is only the latest move in its ambitious expansion plans

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When businesses decide how to allocate their capital, they essentially have four options: reinvest, return capital to shareholders through dividends or repurchases, take on mergers and acquisitions, or build the balance sheet. Historically, tech companies have favored reinvesting: hiring more engineers, entering new markets, and building new products. But as…

Music streaming is crowded with competitors. Can Spotify’s podcast gamble keep it ahead of the pack?

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“When a management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact.” — Warren Buffett

Music streaming is a business with bad economics. The industry’s byzantine licensing structure has many mouths to feed. For each…

Southwest Airlines speaks a language of love, but for Palantir, it’s all about war

The heart logo on the underbelly of a Southwest Airlines plane (Photo by Southwest Airlines)

The use of metaphor in business is nothing new. Metaphors have been harnessed for decades to guide a company’s mission, shape its storytelling, and create a culture. …

In his final letter to shareholders, Jeff Bezos calculated how much his company has benefited stakeholders. Let’s check his math.

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“If you want to be successful in business (in life, actually), you have to create more than you consume. Your goal should be to create value for everyone you interact with. Any business that doesn’t create value for those it touches, even if it appears successful on the surface, isn’t…

A little less enterprisey than Slack. A little more structured than Clubhouse. It’s just right.

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In 2007, when BlackBerry was still the leader in the enterprise mobile space, a new competitor launched an irresistibly sleek touch-screen smartphone that epitomized the marriage of art and science. (Yes, we’re talking about the iPhone’s debut). BlackBerry executives scoffed at the seemingly pretentious device, which they thought would only…

A well-meaning Twitter thread goes off the rails

Photo: Ali Balikci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Oh, Burger King, you can’t “Have it your way,” when it comes to Twitter etiquette.

By now you’ve likely seen Burger King U.K.’s tweet (it’s since been removed) that said, “Women belong in the kitchen.” On any normal day, this tweet would’ve been considered a huge miss. …

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