The NewCo Daily: Today’s Top Stories
Sometimes the day-two and week-two takes on big stories are more valuable to read than the breaking coverage. Here’s a couple of examples.
For Investors, Travis Kalanick Was Great, Until He Wasn’t
Before he became the icon of toxic management and bad-boss behavior that he is today, Travis Kalanick was, in the eyes of the venture capitalists who funded his company, the perfect startup CEO. He had the vision. He had the hard-charging spirit, the “won’t take no for an answer” stance, the “I’ll do anything to win” determination. As long as VCs value “manic, headstrong sociopaths,” we’ll be stuck with more Kalanicks, writes Adrianne Jeffries in The Outline.
Yet the industries that today’s startups are increasingly focused on entering — like government, healthcare, or Uber’s own business of transportation — are too embedded in multi-stakeholder political arrangements and socially complex traditions for “headstrong” to remain asset. The next wave of successful startup leaders will need to figure out how to remain determined while also practicing diplomacy.
Don’t Cry Too Hard For the Malls Amazon Is Killing
Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods last week capped two decades of phenomenal growth with a dramatic move into brick-and-mortar operations. Should we welcome our new Amazon overlords for the convenience and efficiency the company provides, or lament that its dominance means job losses and store closures in many industries? Both, writes Zachary Karabell in Wired. “While Washington focuses almost entirely on the last gasps of manufacturing and coal mining employment, e-commerce and Amazon threaten far more jobs,” Karabell argues. “Yet Amazon also offers the potential of far more affordable goods at lower costs. It truly defines creative destruction.”
While we rightly fret over the fate of people whose lives and livelihoods are disrupted by Amazon’s expansion, we should also recall that the world of strip-mall suburbia and anchor-tenant shopping centers that Amazon is strangling was no paradise. The rise of that retail model came at the expense of urban cores and shuttered a previous generation of businesses. Ironically, reborn dense downtowns are more likely to thrive in an Amazon-shaped world than the suburban malls that once crippled them.
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