Gustavo Ballvé on November 17th, 2015

In a return of reader-suggested stories – keep them coming! – we explore an specific example of how “some moats are harder to cross” using a Financial Times story on Elsevier, RELX Group’s scientific journal publishing unit. According to the FT, it is “the business the Internet couldn’t kill”.

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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 January 21st, 2013

Very interesting Wired interview with Google’s CEO, Larry Page. I love the “moon shot” reference in the title, and he apparently means it and tries to structure his company to allow for this sort of disruptive innovation. Does that translate into a bright future for GOOG shareholders? I have no clue, but companies like this are always in the radar, always teaching us something one way or the other.

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Gustavo Ballvé on November 19th, 2012

Brazil has way too many holidays, that is certain. At least we can catch up with the reading, and this story is pretty interesting: Leucadia has decided to acquire Jefferies, the midsize US investment bank. Now the name Leucadia may not instantly ring a bell, but it is one of a few companies that have been called “mini-Berkshires” over the years – perhaps the most successful of them. They do interesting things there too, and this latest move takes them in a new direction.

Read more about Leucadia and Jefferies

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).

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Gustavo Ballvé on March 23rd, 2012

The Crowdfunding Act has passed a vote in the US Senate. It allows people funding companies directly to finally become owners, as compared to models such as KickStarter that are “donation”-based – you can get rewards, but not ownership. While we’re definitely seeing more of a start-up culture in Brazil, it is still way too hard to do anything new here

Read more about Crowdfunding Act passed

Gustavo Ballvé on March 19th, 2012

Wells Fargo is now the US’ largest bank by market value and Apple will pay a huge dividend and repurchase shares. Microsoft and perhaps even Google can now be called “boring”, stable companies. Just a reminder of how limited our forecasting and modelling “mindsets” usually are. Also a reminder for keeping our minds open for positive surprises.

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Gustavo Ballvé on November 29th, 2011

We highlight three articles about old truths and new business models. First the truth about economic models, according to the Scientific American magazine; second an old and huge sector disrupted by tiny start-ups; and third an entirely new business model that is becoming very relevant.

Read more about Catching up

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