Category Archives: Leadership

The World’s Most Successful Caviar Entrepreneur….

…Is A Scrapyard Operator In Wisconsin.

A long State Road 35 on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River, there’s a junkyard filled with old boats, cars and refrigerators, where 20,000 pounds of aluminum gets melted down every day. A handwritten sign tacked onto the front door reminds all those who enter: Put Shirts On. Inside sits Bill Holst, the 69-year-old blue-jeaned, third-generation corn farmer who started this scrap-metal business 12 years ago. “I see value in things that other people don’t see value in,” he says. “I’m more of a risk-taker.”

All of which explains one of Holst’s more exotic businesses: Hangzhou Qiandaohu Xunlong Sci-Tech, a sprawling sturgeon farm and caviar-processing company based 7,000 miles away at a man-made lake in eastern China. Hangzhou is now the largest caviar company in the world: It controls 30% of the global market and will bring in an estimated $35 million in revenue this year. That scale, combined with low labor costs and high retail prices—an ounce can cost upwards of $150—gives the company an estimated 25% profit margin. Holst owns about 24% of the joint venture and is its single largest (and only American) investor.

More at Forbes.com

Everything I Know About Business I Learned from Netflix

netflix

Last year, the company updated its manifesto on Netflix Culture, a detailed statement of its principles, policies, and practices with respect to the human factor in business. What’s unusual about the manifesto is how sharp the language is; there is no hint of HR boilerplate. “Many companies have value statements,” it begins, “but often these written values are vague and ignored. The real values of a firm are shown by who gets rewarded or let go.” So what kind of people get rewarded at Netflix? “You say what you think, when it’s in the best interest of Netflix, even if it is uncomfortable,” the manifesto says. “You are willing to be critical of the status quo” and “You make tough decisions without agonizing.” Moreover, “You are able to be vulnerable, in search of truth.” The essential point: Great companies understand that they have to work as distinctively as they hope to compete.

More at HBR.org

Related Links
Inside the Binge Factory
Netflix is moving television beyond time-slots and national markets
Netflix Culture

4 Traits of Leaders…

More than ever, we are faced with business challenges that call for higher levels of innovation, knowledge, and soft skills. So when leaders operate from integrity, they gain the trust of their team members. They are still tough and hold you accountable for performance and excellence, but they are seen as dependable and people feel safe in their presence. Leaders of the present don’t rely on trusting in their positional power to get things done; instead they rely on the power of trust to get the best from people.

More at Inc.com