Reliance Fuel Pumps: A Business Model Masterstroke

A typical Reliance fuel pump has only 1.5% market share by number of pumps, but 60% market share by volume of fuel sold. Unbelievable. Right? Let us delve deeper to understand. The market gap Let us take an 80 km radius (a.k.a. Trading area) as our unit of analysis here. This may not be accurate … Read more

How McEnroe Defeated Ivan Lendl 9 Times In A Row

John McEnroe’s and Ivan Lendl were great players of the 1980s. McEnroe was the #1 from 1981-94 and Ivan Lendl was #1 during 1985-87, 1989. In 1982, while McEnroe was on a winning streak with other players, he was facing a very stiff competition from Lendl. McEnroe writes in his autobiography: Lendl cleaned my clock once … Read more

The Best Insight On Singing

Each day common people sacrifice their potential to be excellent at the altar of their own ignorance. Just look around you in the evening, and you will see kids playing mindlessly: Cricket: They don’t fix their stump-position while batting Badminton: They don’t play with proper sized badminton rackets Tennis: They play tennis with worn out … Read more

Steve Jobs Unique Answer On Apple’s Strategy

Growtist is a great admirer of both Richard Rumelt as well as Steve Jobs. Both these guys are no-nonsense independent thinkers. So, what happened when Rumelt asked Jobs about Apple’s strategy, way back in 1998? This is what Rumelt says: At that moment in time, Apple had less than 4 percent of the personal computer … Read more

Baajirao’s Mother’s Answer To: How Can Strength Be Defeated?

Most people often take Strategy for granted. To them strategic solutions seem very simple and obvious. This mindset suffers from what I call the IIT-question syndrome: The question is very difficult to solve initially. But if you see the solution, the question feels damn easy. The IIT-question syndrome applies to the mass perception of strategic frameworks … Read more

Jack Bogle And His Independent Thinking

At Growtist, one of my objectives is to curate articles about great men. Their professional domains do not matter to me. They may come from Finance, Strategy, Sports, Music, Politics, etc. What matters is their common mental qualities. Qualities that we can borrow and apply to our own lives. I hope that this will motivate … Read more

John D. Rockefeller And His Sound Business Judgment

In early 1880s, John D Rockefeller had reached the top of oil business. But, many were predicting his demise. Because the entire oil industry was getting in jeopardy. The Pennsylvania oil fields were running dry and electricity was beginning to compete with lamps for lighting homes. Russians were capturing Standard Oil’s (Rockefeller’s company) foreign markets. Some … Read more

The Elephant And The Rope

Context When still a baby, the elephant is tethered by a very thick rope to a stake firmly hammered into the ground. The elephant tries several times to get free, but it lacks the strength to do so. After a year, the stake and the rope are still strong enough to keep a small elephant … Read more

The Most Successful Decision Of A.G. Lafley’s Career

P&G former CEO A.G. Lafley, attributes the most successful decision of his career to a qualitative judgment: In 1990, as the general manager of laundry products, he had to decide whether to move to compact detergents, which were transforming the market in Japan. The new format would cut P&G’s production, packaging, and transportation costs as … Read more

Bob Lutz’s Intuition About Dodge Viper

Business history is full of examples of decisions that were taken purely on gut feeling or intuition. Chrysler’s Dodge Viper (shown above) is a very apt example here. Bob Lutz, the company’s president, got the intuitive insight to build this car during a weekend drive. The car was a smashing success. It single-handedly changed the public’s … Read more

The Secret to Learning Anything: Albert Einstein’s Advice to His Son

In 1915, aged thirty-six, Einstein was living separately from family. On November 4 of that year, having just completed the two-page masterpiece on the theory of general relativity, Einstein sent 11-year-old Hans Albert a letter with a simple insight on learning: “That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment … Read more

A Mental Reason For Dhoni’s Success

Dhoni is the only cricket captain in the world who holds all 3 ICC trophies. Some people attribute it to his ability to handle pressure, some to his decision-making, some to his reflexes, some to his teamwork skills, etc. Some people even attribute it to luck! I think a big part of his success owes to his ability … Read more

How Alan Mulally Turned Ford Around

When Mulally took over as Ford’s CEO in September 2006, the company was in a very bad shape. Its stock price had fallen sharply, its debt was at “junk” status, and it was about to record its worst loss in its entire history (of $12.7 billion). It was widely expected that Ford would eventually file … Read more

How A Son Destroyed The Business His Father Built

Below is an story told by Manohar Parrikar (current defence minister of India): “I am from the village of Parra in Goa, hence we are called Parrikars. My village is famous for its watermelons. When I was a child, the farmers would organize a watermelon-eating contest at the end of the harvest season in May. … Read more

An Insight On Jack Ma’s Amazing Insights

Jack Ma is one of the most successful Chinese Internet entrepreneurs. I came across this post that captures several of his insights on business as well as life. A few of them that I liked a lot are: “You cannot unify everyone’s thoughts, but you can unify everyone through a common goal”. “Money and political … Read more

Xiaomi’s Fall In China

Xiaomi sold over 61 million phones in 2014, beating Samsung and Apple to become the biggest smartphone vendor in China. But, in Q1of 2016, Xiaomi is behind 5 companies: Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo. Why? Well, one of the reasons being its distribution model. While Xiaomi was focusing on selling online, its competitors were … Read more

How Steve Jobs Saved Nike With 1 Simple Advice

In 2006, Nike’s CEO Mark Parker called Steve Jobs for advice. Steve Jobs gave one simple advice: “Nike makes some of the best products in the world. Products that you lust after. But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.” Nike took the advice and … Read more

Why Yahoo Could Not Be ‘Great’

The nature of the issue Successful businesses are of 2 types: Good and Great. Good businesses generate good results. Great businesses generate excellent results. But, what separates the Good from the Great? I think it is: The ability to sacrifice smaller short-term gains for a bigger long-term gain. An example of ‘Great’ Zuckerberg was able to take the … Read more

How Google Got Social Networking All Wrong

This article at Inc.com captures an insight about Google that I have been also having in mind for some time now: Google’s biggest problem is its very Googlieness. The place is run by engineers–not by product managers. Engineering-driven organizations can make good technical products (e.g. search), but not social products.   This is the reason that Google+ is  complex to … Read more

How General Motors Lost Its Focus–And Its Way

There is no better example of just how important market focus is than the case of General Motors, which has been devastated because of a complete loss of market focus in their corporate portfolio. Managers and teams must make the tough choices of where to compete and to not compete. But, incredibly, in 2009 GM’s … Read more

How DuPont’s Board Failed Ellen Kullman

Boards, by their poor decisions, can often destroy great companies. Examples: Past boards of General Motors, American Express, Gap, Jet Blue, Apple, Hewlett Packard, and Motorola. Du Pont seems to a latest example of this psychological pathology. Its CEO Ellen Kullman had to step down after disagreements with the Boards and an activist Hedge Fund investor Nelson Peltz.  … Read more

How Steve Jobs Was Spot On And Others Wrong

“I give them two years before they’re turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake.” Such were the harsh comments that Steve Jobs received when he decided to go for an Exclusive Distribution strategy for Apple. Such an approach was indeed unthinkable back then. The world was more impressed by Dell’s model of direct … Read more

The 3 Marketing Principles That Always Drove Apple

Mike Markkula was the guy behind Apple’s Marketing philosophy. Steve Jobs was highly influenced by him. He told Walter Isaacson (his biographer) that it was Markkula who said: “You should never start a company with the goal of getting rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will … Read more

The Habits That Made Darwin A Genius (From An Above-Average Guy)

Darwin is a classic example of an above average guy who became a genius. His IQ would have probably scored in the 130 range (i.e. an intelligence slightly above average) on a standard IQ test. And yet there he is, buried next to the calculus-inventing genius Isaac Newton (estimated IQ of 190!) in Westminster Abbey. (As Charlie … Read more