Spencer – thanks for this post. Every Sears I’ve stepped foot in has struck me as decrepit and lacking in customer service, but it was so interesting to read about the root cause of this. I simply cannot believe an executive leadership team at a large public company thought it was a great idea to seperate the P&Ls by department, leading to this chaos. My question for you is what do you think Sears should do next? Private equity investors have circled Sears and other dying big box chains for the value of its real estate and stores – do you think Sears should liquidate and shut down completely? I personally believe its brand equity is highly negative and they would be best served shutting down – do you see a way for them to re-invent themselves?
Kudos to you Streit – when I read this I immediately regretted not thinking about writing about Bucees. Bucees is, in my mind, the perfect alignment of business and operating models. Everything about Bucees, from the oversized rows and rows of gas pumps to the gigantic bathroom and immaculately clean store with aisles stuffed with interesting merchandise works in unison to create a reprieve and oasis for the weary traveler. For me personally, I will drive an extra 100 miles and hold my pee so I can experiecne Bucees. The employees at Bucees are all so much happier than your typical gas station employee, and the high energy in the stores rubs off on everyone in the store. What I’m curious about is why they haven’t expanded at a faster rate – it seems like they could find areas that could generate enough traffic all along the I-10 interstate from Texas to Florida, and they have surely built up enough brand equity in Texas to spill over to neighboring states such as Oklahoma and Louisiana.
As a huge fan of Star Wars Legos growing up, it still gives me great pleasure when I go home to admire my collection of Legos sitting in my childhood closet. I thought it was really interesting how Legos was able to recover – I do remember seeing many articles about how they were distressed in the mid-2000s. To me, it seems like the two things they were able to do well was re-engage their consumer and focus on their core product portfolio. What has always surprised me about Legos is how they get their products to feel so much higher in quality than their competitors – do you think any competitors could create a viable product that would compete with Legos in their core business?
It was interesting to read about how Disney aligns its executive pay with overall company performance as opposed to business unit performance. One of the failings of Toshiba as a company were its myopic focus on individual P&L performance by business unit so it’s good to see a company align things with overall performance. One concern I have regarding Disney is its shift away from smaller mid-budget films to a “tentpole” strategy – what happens when the first Avenger film flops? Will Disney have the infrastructure necessary to just continue pumping out hits in the tough movie making business?