Gustavo Ballvé on May 17th, 2013

CNBC has a very interesting series of articles and videos on what they call the CNBC Disruptor 50, a list of 50 “disruptors” in several industries, including Healthcare, Travel, Transport, Retail, IT, Financial Services and others. Any disruptors creeping up on your portfolio companies yet?

Read more about CNBC’s Disruptor 50 series

Gustavo Ballvé on March 25th, 2013

H/T to My Investing Notebook, and his emphasis on what Buffett says of Jeff Bezos is spot-on as the best part of an altogether interesting interview. Just yesterday I had read an interesting piece on how well Amazon Prime is doing, so this connected immediately. Disrupting innovation indeed.

Read more about Buffett on and Jeff Bezos

Gustavo Ballvé on November 14th, 2012

More on Groupon’s woes, from a business model point of view. I really enjoy looking at innovative business models, and the Internet/Social Media realm is a very source of “disruptive” ideas. Caution and common sense still apply, especially when invited to invest in these companies (as per the many IPOs).

Read more about Groupon hurts

Gustavo Ballvé on August 22nd, 2012

Very interesting article in Fortune Magazine about See’s Candies, the candy company owned by Berkshire Hathaway. There’s also a nice companion piece about the reporter’s experience interviewing both Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett. Buffett discussed See’s Candies in detail in the 2007 annual report, and we except from that inside.

Read more about The secrets of See’s Candies

Gustavo Ballvé on March 30th, 2012

Richard Branson’s Virgin is used to disrupting business models everywhere – telecom, airlines, you name it. Now they’re turning their attention to banks, as per this long Bloomberg Markets magazine article. Always very interesting to challenge our notions of “stable business models”, but Virgin’s very history shows that sometimes it’s harder than they initially thought it would be (Wal-mart’s experience in the US comes to mind).

Read more about Virgin’s bank: disruptive models

Gustavo Ballvé on December 28th, 2011

Two recent stories in US newspapers highlight the huge per-capita spending of Brazilians in the US. While one piece focuses on tourists in NY and retail sales, the other focuses on Florida and also mentions Brazilians buying up real estate. The big point: the taxation making imports so expensive in Brazil as to justify, in some cases, the airfare and hotel expenses.

Read more about Free-spending Brazilians

Gustavo Ballvé on November 4th, 2011

Huge, sprawling article on Business Insider about Groupon since the early beginnings. It’s telling when an article about the big article is 3 pages long. Normally we would recommend reading the summary for conciseness – and because the day only has 24h – but the big article is a keeper. They got almost all of it right, except for the culture change part. It is more important, and far more disruptive, than they make it seem.

Read more about Groupon’s saga

Gustavo Ballvé on August 22nd, 2011

Certainly one of the most-discussed articles this weekend, this NYT piece looks at the subset of American retail that is doing pretty well in this recession. Another article highlights the interest by big-name investors (Buffett, Ackman, Leon Black) in the segment. Signal or noise?

Read more about The dollar-store economy

Gustavo Ballvé on June 12th, 2011

Our headline is misleading in purpose – the idea is to provoke the reader to ask questions. The headline from AT Kearney’s own press release – “Brazil Jumps to First Place in Ranking of Top Developing Economies for Global Retail Expansion” – is an improvement, but not yet completely self-contained. The devil is in the details, but regardless of one’s opinion about the report’s conclusion, it’s definitely an interesting read.

Read more about Brazil #1 in AT Kearney report

Gustavo Ballvé on June 3rd, 2011

Groupon’s IPO filing is finally here, and the revenues growth curve is staggering. The company makes no money and doesn’t expect to make any so soon (it’s expanding extremely fast). There are plenty of doubts about the sustainability of its business model, competition and – much more importantly – margin of safety, especially given the preliminary level of disclosure and a few corporate governance quirks such as a dual-class share structure and a preference for “earnings before all the bad stuff” metrics. Yet it’s a business that one almost has to follow for insights on how these companies can impact anything from traditional retailing to data analytics. We suggest previous posts in for background.

Read more about Groupon’s IPO filing

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