Pay, Power and Politics: Where Did Carlos Ghosn Go Wrong?


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One of the trending stories.

Did Ghosn have far too much control at the three companies? Apparently yes, noted MacDuffie, pointing to a Nissan director’s comments at a news conference where “he was critical of how much power is centralized in one person” in the alliance. Ghosn, 64, is approaching retirement and had already announced his plans to exit all roles in the alliance by 2020. “If he hadn’t emerged as such a hero from the early stages of this turnaround [at Nissan and Renault], many people would have said it’s a little risky to concentrate that much power in one person.”

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Christmas Without Toys R Us: Who Will Fill Its Stockings?


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Kahn remarked on how competitive the category has become, with all kinds of retailers trying to cash in. “I think of it as a ‘defender’ category,” she said. “If you’re a family – and that’s the kind of customer a lot of retailers want – then you have to buy your kids’ toys somewhere. So you’re seeing toys showing up in interesting [places].” Even electronics purveyor Best Buy is offering toys this year, Kahn noted. “You go into the store to buy toys, and while you’re in there you are buying in other categories. I think that’s one of the reasons why it’s a really competitive area right now.”

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How Iceland Dealt with a Volcanic Financial Meltdown


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Iceland was unique in that they handed over jail terms to bankers.

Gylfason believes that when a country goes through a major economic shock, in addition to getting its financial house in order – which Iceland successfully accomplished at the behest of the IMF — it also needs to clean up its act in the judicial and political realms. “We have a mixed picture here,” he says. “Thirty-nine bankers were awarded prison sentences by the Supreme Court of Iceland, to the tune of 2.5 years on average. This means the amount of prison time in man-years that the Supreme Court handed out is close to 100.” He admits some critics have alleged that “the small fry were sentenced, while the big fish got away. This raises sensitive questions about equality before the law. But we will know more once the Supreme Court hands out its last sentences in 2019.”

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After Recessions, Why Do Some Jobs Disappear Forever?


Knowledge@Wharton: There are two things that I found quite interesting in your paper that I want to highlight for a minute. One is the finding that 88% of job losses in the so-called “routine” occupations — such as bank tellers, manufacturing plant jobs, and office clerks — happened during economic downturns, and this is a trend that has been going on since the mid-1980s. Interestingly, this was also around the same time when innovation and automation started to pick up. These two seem to be correlated. Are they?

Roussanov: This is exactly the main empirical fact that our model aims to explain or at least understand. We were not the ones who documented this fact, but this has become an important piece of information for macroeconomists to wrap our heads around — the fact that this job polarization process seems to be primarily happening during relatively short periods of time, which are recessions.

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Where’s the Value? An Inside Look at Walmart’s Flipkart Deal


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Now, that the storm has settled a bit, a deeper analysis of the mega deal.

The big takeaway from the present deal is that deep pockets win. This is a maxim that has been demonstrated over and over again, especially in B2C technology plays. A certain disdain for capital efficiency, a focus on gaining share and a relentless focus on killing competition define today’s leading companies. Flipkart would have been in the news for very different reasons had it not been for the timely fund infusion by SoftBank in 2017. Growth had stalled, the annual burn was high and unit economics were unsustainable. And yet, as part of the strategy of Lee Fixel of Tiger Global and Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Flipkart doubled down on not ceding market share to Amazon, whatever the capital burn. This in turn caught Softbank’s eye (whose earlier investment in Snapdeal was not working to its expectations).

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Rajat Kumar — Knowledge@Wharton

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How the Golden State Killer Case Ignited a Privacy Debate


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What is also worrisome about the potential uses of DNA data is that “it doesn’t have to be your own” to help establish links, said Field. “If a cousin of yours decides to donate DNA information, it’s out there,” he added. “There’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t prevent your cousin from doing that, and you probably don’t even know [about] it. That’s a really tough one for the law to address.” Up until now, the assumption was that an individual would have the autonomy to decide who could see his or her genetic information, but that is no longer the case, he noted.

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What Silicon Valley Can Learn from the Theranos Fraud Case


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The flip side of the startup story. Sometimes things go very wrong.

As for Holmes’s future, Angel said, “she is very tainted, so no public company would really want to have her on board.” At the same time, he described her as “very intelligent, very talented and a great salesperson, [who] will land on her feet eventually.” Guay agreed. “Any kind of public role where a company would put her forward as a spokesperson or as a person of importance — that’s going to be a non-starter, at least for a while.”

Guay wondered how things may have come to such a pass at Theranos. “In many fraud circumstances, they sometimes start with small lies, and then those small lies have to be backed up with bigger and bigger lies,” he said. “[It is about] understanding how that all evolved here — whether this was something that [Holmes] felt she had to do or wanted early on, and then she dug herself a hole that she couldn’t get out of. It’s hard to know exactly how that evolved.”

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