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Top 5 Interesting News Items in February (so far)

February 10, 2014

News events are more than Justin Bieber’s (latest) run-in with the law. It’s also more than strangely-colored-and-likely-dangerous hotel water from Sochi, Russia. So here’s what I hope will be a regular blog series: interesting news items that caught my fancy.

In terms of subject matter, the articles will deal with business strategy or marketing research or sustainability or cause-marketing or all of the above. Occasionally, like the post below with Bill Maher, I’ll include something that I think is interesting even if it’s off-topic.

Without further ado, here you go:

  • MillerCoors Brews a Beer to Battle Spirits Makers – This is a classic business strategy study. What should your company do when an indirect competitor is stealing away your business? Should you enter their business (spirits in this case)? Or should you create something that could compete with what your competitor offers? How do you do so without “cannibalizing” your own products? Find out how MillerCoors (which is just down the street from where I live, although I have yet to get neighborly free beer) is taking on its threat to “share of the throat.” (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)
  • The Violent Gang Wars Behind Your Super Bowl Guacamole – Simply put, I had no idea that avocados were a sustainability issue. It’s interesting how the locals are fighting back. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Flip A District – I try not to dive into politics on this blog. But recently heard about something Bill Maher is up to that I found interesting. Regardless of your politics, I think most of us agree that many Congressional members could and should be booted out of office for some fresh thinking. The two parties have entrenched bad civil servants through gerrymandering. So in an effort to change at least one of these Congressional districts, Bill Maher is going to shine the “national spotlight” on a Senator or (most likely) Representative that is a “bum.” Although it’s obvious to anyone which way Bill Maher leans politically, I hope that he’ll choose one district from both the Republic and Democratic parties since idiocracy is a bipartisan issue.
  • Industry Awakens to Climate Change – For companies like Nike and Coca-Cola, climate change (and adaptation) is considered a serious threat to business. This article in the New York Times takes a look at how companies and industry groups are addressing the costs of climate change.
  • New CEO Satya Nadella Needs to Make Mircosoft More Like Google – As Microsoft named fellow University of Chicago alum Sataya Nadella to the chief post, this article in Bloomberg Businessweek takes an interesting look at innovation. Microsoft is a huge financial supporter of scienific research, yet is considered behind Google. Most damning sentence: “In many ways, Google has become the company Microsoft always hoped to be.” Ouch.
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