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Friday 5 July 2019

Weekend Reading - Some Interesting Stuff

1) Will the DMart story play out like Aldi?
when Walmart’s US CEO Greg Foran invokes words like “fierce,” “good” and “clever” in speaking almost admiringly about one of his competitors, he’s not referring to Amazon. Foran is describing Aldi, the no-frills German discount grocery chain that’s growing aggressively in the United States and reshaping the industry along the way. Aldi has built a cult-like following. When it enters a new town, it’s not uncommon for hundreds of people to turn out for the grand opening. The allure is all in the rock-bottom prices, which are so cheap that Aldi often beats Walmart at its own low-price game.
There’s no secret to how Aldi keeps its prices so low: The company strips down the shopping experience in an unapologetically and brutally efficient way.

2) Or will it grow up to be like Costco?
I am reading up on the retail companies after a friend insisted I study Dmart. I am fascinated by Costco. I have shopped a few times there but never bothered to learn its history or to track its story.
Costco is an unlikely fashion retailer, but has somehow managed to become a fashion powerhouse.
Costco’s 85 million members, who pay an annual fee starting at $60 to gain access to goods at bargain prices, are filling their baskets with $70 North Face jackets and $13 Jessica Simpson jeans, along with bulk salmon and pasta. The company generated $7 billion in sales annually in clothes and footwear, which is more than Old Navy, Neiman Marcus, or Ralph Lauren. Its fashion revenue has been growing at a rate of about 9% a year for the past four years, which is faster than its food or electronics business.

3) How to be happy?
When we first get something that’s awesome, it feels really awesome. But then we get used to it pretty quickly. This phenomenon is what psychologists call “hedonic adaptation.
The prescriptions?
One was to spend time and money on things that don’t last as long—that is, things that are harder to adapt to. What this ends up translating to is the by now well-known consumerist commandment to “buy experiences, not things.” 
The other was to set aside time to be grateful for what you already have. This may come in the form of a gratitude journal or a period of brief reflection, and could be as basic as acknowledging the luxury of taking a hot shower or having a choice about what to eat for dinner. 

4) R3 pontificates on a range of issues
Raghuram Rajan discusses a vast range of issues. He discusses globalisation, the rise of nationalistic politics across the world, migration, adapting to new skills, welfare systems,
Very good read and practically not possible to summarize.

5) When you are a victim of your own success
You may be aware of Kleenex, Velcro and ChapStick, but what about escalator? Or dumpster? Linoleum, zipper, trampoline? All of these are (or were) trademarks of companies whose products were so successful that they came to represent an entire category. And it can actually cause quite a problem for those companies.
“When something becomes so pervasive in everyday society as a result of its own fame, there’s an argument that it no longer represents the brand, it almost represents the action,” Mr. Cohen said. “So as a result of that, in trademark law, you cannot trademark things that are descriptive or generic in nature.”
Bayer Co. v. United Drug Co. was a seminal case in which Bayer lost its trademark for Aspirin to what experts now refer to as “genericide.” That 1921 case set the table for the modern standard that courts currently follow: If a brand name is understood by the public to refer broadly to a category of goods and services rather than a brand’s specific good or service, a company may be at risk of losing its trademark. Escalator, cellophane, and laundromat have all lost their trademark status to genericide.

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