The Lead: YouTube’s Create Your Own Adventure, First Black Hole Pictures, and the sale of the National Enquirer

Choose Your Own Adventure on YouTube

With recently developed technology, YouTube is creating choose-your-own-adventure shows with the hopes of increasing viewership and ad sales. Even though YouTube is the largest video website, it will be met with fierce competition. Netflix already developed several interactive shows for children and released its first interactive program for adults. Walmart is also in the mix and invested $250 million in a joint venture with interactive series producer Eko.

Our View: To outpace competition, leaders need to understand their business environment to know how to prioritize their firm’s capabilities. Based on study that analyzed data on 147 business units within large companies in the manufacturing sector, researchers found that the value of innovation and responsiveness is higher when responding to unanticipated external shocks while improvement and sensitivity to failure are more internally oriented. Further Reading

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First Black Hole Picture Revealed

Black holes are defined by tremendous mass and minuscule volume, making them extremely dense objects of matter that trap any light that passes by and does not emit photons. And yet, a region of space that is defined by being invisible just had its first picture taken with eight telescopes that were turned into a virtual giant parabolic dish. Just last week, the Event Horizon Telescope released a photo of the black hole at the center of the Messier 87 galaxy.

Our View: Pictures are attention-getters, conveyers of complex ideas, and inspiration. Excellent leaders find opportunities to use images to tell stories that explain their strategy and motivate followers into action. People are drawn to pictures and process them at an incredibly rapid speed. Further Reading

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For Sale: The National Enquirer

American Media Inc. is selling The National Enquirer. The Washington Post reported that the pressure to sell has come from the company’s board of directors and from its controlling shareholder Chatham Asset Management. American Media CEO David Pecker said his company has been “keenly focused on leveraging the popularity of our celebrity glossy, teen and active lifestyle brands while developing new and robust platforms including broadcast and audio programming, and a live events business, that now deliver significant revenue streams.”

Our View: Even the best leaders find transitions challenging. Whether it’s a role change and individual or a product change and organizational, leaders must reinvent to manage transitions. According to research detailed in the Harvard Business Review, “The capacity for reinvention is the single-most-important career attribute for executives today.” Further Reading

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Dinner via Drone Delivery

Google’s parent company Alphabet launched a commercial air delivery business called Wing in Canberra, Australia. Wing delivers everything from food and beverages to golfing equipment by drone directly to homes. Twelve local businesses are already signed up to be involved.

Our View: Successfully leading innovation requires a personal champion. Harvard Business School professor and author of The Innovator’s Solution Clayton Christensen explains that for an innovation initiative to start and eventually grow and mature, a senior leader must personally champion the cause. The three waves of growth for innovation include plans for the near term, the longer-term, and perhaps most importantly, the perpetual responsibility to sense and adapt to change and continuously teach others to recognize the signals. Further Reading

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Direct-to-Consumer Cookware

The online cookware startup based in Austin called Made In was launched in 2019. Recently, the startup announced $5 million of funding for marketing and expanding its line of carbon steel and stainless steel products. As internet companies (from mattress designers to eyeglass sellers) continue to disrupt traditional industries, Made In is looking to disrupt the cookware industry where brand affinity is currently scarce.

Our View: Leadership and disruption may seem like two opposing concepts, but forward-thinking leaders reconcile them by thriving on uncertainty. They are constantly experimenting and recording insights into what makes things work, what makes things work better, and what doesn’t work. Innovate and iterate is their mantra. Further Reading

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