Although my focus is on the B-to-B world, I summarized three of my favorite B-to-C stories that are well known to many business people, and asked colleagues and cohorts to vote on the one they thought was the most significant to them. My thanks to the thirty pros who responded. Looks like the oldest story wins.
1st Place: Birthing Big Mac
Ray Kroc is hawking milk shake blenders to diners when he stumbles on the “make it before it’s ordered” assembly-line formula used by a couple of brothers named McDonalds, and the fast-food industry is born.
I got responses from folks in all kinds of industries – 16 votes total
2nd Place: Narrow-Sighted Auto Boss
After spearheading the hugely-successful Ford Mustang, Lee Iacocca is fired by the cantankerous Henry Ford II. Iacocca goes on to turn around Chrysler, inventing the mini-van, a concept that Hank the Deuce rejected at Ford.
10 votes: it appears that my more independent colleagues in the media/communication fields preferred this one.
Lastly: Wal-Mart PR Blunders
The extremely “calculated” management at Wal Mart figure they can manipulate their way to a friendlier, folksier business image using PR efforts that lack authenticity. Among them: paying a couple to blog their way across America in their RV, specifically to write about happy Wal Mart employees. No mention of the Wal Mart sponsorship.
4 votes: Adrian commented that “Walmart is such a smarmy, juicy target” – a newer story related only to communications.
Frequent themes for business stories include business blunders (and the lessons learned), problem/solution scenarios, and opportunities acted upon that others ignored. Please pass along a favorite (comments, or via email).