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Andrew Hill's challenge
The FT's management editor sets a weekly test of your business, strategy and management skills.
Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, is preparing for an initial public offering. In its preparatory documents, Snap styles itself as a "camera company". This must be galling for veterans of Eastman Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy in 2012 after trying, but failing, to catch the digital wave that Snapchat and others are now riding. As I wrote at the time, it was only in 2000 that Kodak started describing itself as part of the growing "infoimaging" sector.
Kodak lagged behind — and I think Snap is getting ahead of itself - but this week's challenge is to imagine how an existing company could redefine its sector. Rather than Ford saying it is in the carmaking business, for instance, it could call itself a "transportation technology" company. Send your one-sentence thoughts to email@example.com.
Last week, I asked you to come up with a novel test for aspiring CEOs, given that many succession plans lead to a last-person-standing "Hunger Games" contest. You came up with plenty of ideas but my favourite was one of the simplest, from Paul Merison: "Get each candidate to explain how they would best attempt to motivate the other internal candidates to stay."
Some further reading. In my column this week, I've looked at whether Donald Trump is the ultimate "authentic leader" . In gathering material, I came across a provocative blogpost from Dilbert creator and Trump-endorser Scott Adams. He suggests the world needs to understand that the US president is an entrepreneur-in-chief with a "bias to action", pursuing A/B testing and rapid iteration of policies.
Every week a business school professor or academic recommends useful FT articles.
Rita Gunther McGrath, a professor at Columbia Business School, selects:
I am phobic about the cloud’s data custodians I would recommend Andrew Hill's piece on personal data being stored in a "leaky shoebox in the sky". With digitisation, we have this incredible faith that really hasn't been borne out in reality. I really would like my students to be thinking about where they put sensitive, personal information.
This relates to some work I've done on complicated and complex systems. Online privacy is a complex system, which young people in particular give so much information to without any real idea of where it's going to end up.
Ask the academics
Got a question for leading business school experts? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will publish the best replies in future newsletters.
Jonathan Moules' business school news
The ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US — which has been temporarily suspended — has created uncertainty for students from these nations studying at US business schools as I have discovered in talking to MBA classes recently.
We have also run the numbers from our global MBA ranking survey to show the effect of the ban on US business school communities, both for faculty and students from the seven outlawed countries. The concern among school deans is not so much the absolute numbers affected by this presidential executive order, but the wider message it sends to the world about America’s hardening attitude to outsiders.
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Compiled by Wai Kwen Chan
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