Friday, January 30, 2015

"Bloomberg Businessweek", feature articles stand out

This bi-weekly business magazine, "Bloomberg Businessweek", has broken from the traditional troika of such magazines and now is in a class of its own.  Its predecessor, "Business Week", was staid and boring in comparison.  The feature articles week in week out are well written and tend to be half business and half human interest stories in their totality.  The business aspect is covered in reasonable detail and the coverage of the individuals involved is usually interesting, sometimes fascinating.  Fortune and Forbes are now far behind.

The January 25th issue is a good example.  Among the features is one about the now struggling retailer Abercrombie and Fitch, its history and its leadership.  It details the 22 year career as CEO of Michael Jeffries who recently left the company.  His hands on strict rule based management finally ran out of steam, his style choices became stagnant.  Younger daughter, among her many jobs(she likes jobs), worked there part of one summer and found the job completely frustrating.  Rules were that a salesperson was required to stay in their one designated spot in the store and if a customer wanted to look at an item not in that area she could not continue to help them.  These stores are generally not that large, and she was threatened with being fired a few times as she thought sticking with a customer was the best way to do things.  She quit before she was fired.

A second feature looks at Greg Wyler, a serial entrepreneur that was not known here.  The 45 year old has already made a couple of fortunes, and now runs "OneWeb", a company whose goal is to bring high speed internet connections to everyone on earth, no minor ambition.  He is planning to use "an elaborate array of low-orbit satellilites", and the effort is already underway in parts of Africa and in islands throughout the Pacific.  Who knew?  Many are aware, of course, if they are in this business but he and his company are far from household names.  He refers to his plan as creating "the second internet".

A third feature looks at Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary.  While Hungary is part of the European Union, Orban has been leading the country away from the free market and toward what could be called "antidemocratic" rule.  His "reforms" have not been universally embraced and if fair elections are held it is likely that his party will lose their "supermajority" status.  How this plays out is unknown, but certainly it is important in that area of the world.

What it all boils down to is that "Bloomberg Businessweek" is a magazine that attracts attention here with each issue and, like "The New Yorker", does not sit around piling up and waiting to be read. Those piles include "New York Magazine", "Consumer Reports", often "Vanity Fair", and any travel magazines that cost almost nothing.  At least for the moment I gave up on "The Economist".  I like it but it was in piles as well. I was not keeping up with its content stuffed issues of conservative economics and it was far from inexpensive.  The library subscribes but access is not perfect.  I did like the extensive feature articles so will revisit the cancellation at some point.  For now, less piles.


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