Money Quote April 16 2018
A number of consequential business stories broke over the past few days, but it was hard to hear it over the braying contest between our president and his detractors (or the second and third day analysis pieces on Facebook’s journey to DC). So for your Monday morning, a review of the stories we’ve been reading since late last week. No Trump, no Comey, and very little Zuckerberg.
No one seems to know exactly why Sorrell stepped down, save “personal misconduct.” If this is how advertising agencies handle things, they deserve to be put out of their misery entirely. No transparency, no public accounting, and therefore no institutional learning and transformation. Utterly unsurprising, unfortunately.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson had a very bad weekend. But listen to how he took responsibility, and compare that to Sorrell and WPP’s board, above. “Regretfully, our practices and training led to a bad outcome — the basis for the call to the Philadelphia police department was wrong.” He apologized, he took responsibility, and he promised change. That’s how a leader leads.
I found this interview with Hastings deeply important, even if most outlets ignored it in the flood of more salacious Facebook headlines. Hastings defended the company and said it’s on a journey toward maturity (kind of what you’d expect a board member to say), but it was his characterization of Netflix as the “anti-Apple” that really struck me. Tim Cook, you will recall, is recently famous for taking shots at Facebook’s data model amidst the worsening crisis. Here’s the quote: “We’re like the anti-Apple — you know how they compartmentalize. We did the opposite — which is everybody gets all the information.” Time will tell if this comes back to bite Hastings, but for now, it’s clear Facebook’s counter offensive is well under way.
“Bandwagon” is rarely a good word when used in a headline, but the fact that Samsung is serious about streamlining its supply chain by using blockchain technology may well give the overhyped sector a shot in the arm. Samsung is predicting savings of nearly 20 percent. If that proves out, the worldwide scramble to imitate one of the world’s largest manufacturers will be immediate. One to watch.
The argument gaining currency in the policy world is that when it comes to regulating the large tech companies, Europe will inevitably lead. Here’s an overview of one of the leaders of that movement. Oh, and yes, they want the CEO of Facebook to testify there. My guess: He won’t, because over there, they actually understand how Facebook works.