Image credit: Russia Beyond

How PepsiCo found a winning formula for snacks in Russia by actually listening to the consumer

Following an expanded market footprint through a 2010 acquisition, by 2012 PepsiCo managed to develop a thriving line of snack products in Russia and Eastern Europe. Company management studied local eating habits and developed efforts to up-trade them to ‘value-added’ products slowly, leveraging distribution networks to lower supply chain costs across different product lines.

Expanded presence in Russia through Wimm-Bill-Dann acquisition

In 2010, PepsiCo acquired 66% of Wimm-Bill-Dann for $3.8b for an implied enterprise value of $5.4b¹ with the remaining shares to be purchased at a later date. …

Image credit: Adolfo Felix

Luxury in the era of planetary technologies

Ian Rogers, CDO of LVMH, came to INSEAD to discuss the transcendence of the internet as a technology and its impact on the market for luxury personal goods. The Serviceable Addressable Market is larger than ever before and will reward players who can move away from a storefront-first perspective to serving the customer wherever they may be.

Bear with me on this. In the heyday of the Space Age, people were enthralled about the possibility of encountering an alien civilization with technology far beyond our own capabilities. A Soviet scientist, Nikolai Kardashev, proposed in 1964 a classification system for potential…

Kaleidoscope in the main atrium, Image credit: Foster + Partners

Style and status in a tightly controlled retail environment

Apple’s new European flagship store on 114 Champs-Elysées in Paris respects and advances the brand’s signature style and reinforces its role as a provider of status symbols. The interaction between style and status is a key dynamic to manage in order to stay relevant in the market for luxury personal goods.

The afternoon of October 19th 1901, an experimental airship lifted off from Parc Saint-Cloud at 14:42 and charged at the Eiffel Tower in nine minutes flat. On the way back, with tailwinds propelling the balloon forward, the engine failed and the pilot dramatically scaled the gondola railing without a…

Image Credit: dmarge

Jean-Claude Biver, the Tag Heuer Connected Watch and the evolving role of technology in the luxury industry

One of the most interesting animal foibles that luxury exploits in every one of us is not the desire for exclusivity, the pursuit of niche satisfactions or even the crafting of everlasting memories. Rather, our capacity to think in irrational terms and to sacrifice elements of our objective reality in pursuit of fantastical dreams is what makes the entire luxury industry possible at all.

Nowhere is this more clear than when product segments evolve to appropriate technology as an enabler for luxurious experiences rather than as iconoclastic vulgarity.

Jean-Claude Biver, non-executive President of LVMH’s Watches division and until recently its…

Originally published on Bloomberg Prep on May 16th, 2017

Preparing for the CFA® certification process involved devoting a year and a half of my free time to pursuing a single goal with very narrow margins for success at each stage across three exams. Although I completed the process with the fastest timing possible — namely, December for Level I and June for Levels II and III — the compressed schedule took a toll on my health and my social life. In the end, that was nobody’s fault but my own. …

Tidal, Spotify, HiFi and Product Differentiation in Digital Music

Bottom line: Hifi streaming works as a differentiator if you charge enough to avoid signing on binge listeners. Spotify was never about niche audiences so it is unlikely it can successfully counterattack as long as infrastructure costs are a bottleneck.

Tidal is a streaming service much like Spotify that offers a premium, high-fidelity music experience. The sound really does appear clearer than Spotify through a decent pair of headphones. Part of it could well be a placebo effect since Fireworks by Katy Perry might not be the best song to contrast bitrate on.

Perception aside, Tidal made me wonder about…

Bandwidth trading and echoes of a future past

Late 2001 marked, for many reasons, the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. The heyday of outrageous dot-com IPOs and idiotic business models came to a tumultuous end, compounded by one of the most dramatic attacks on American soil ever witnessed.

In December of that year, Enron made its own mark by filing for bankruptcy protection. What had once been a $100 billion titan of American industry and a millenial remnant of the age of power ties, power lunches and power deals, was reduced to petty fraud, the breakup of a venerable accounting firm and…

Harry Beck’s Original London Tube Map

Harry Beck and the terrifying erasure of West Berlin

Schematic transit maps are probably one of the world’s most successful and iconic pieces of design. They’re transparent, tourist-friendly and memorable. You pick one up and you just know how to use it.

The simplicity that goes into modern-day schematic transit maps was a trend, if not Law, arguably started by Harry Beck. An engineering draftsman, Beck turned the concept of the tube map on its head, which until then had been geographically faithful but caused problems in areas where multiple lines and stops converged, such as the centre of London.


15th Century Italy’s borders would be unrecognisable to modern eyes. A mish-mash of a Papal theocracy, family-owned city-states and foreign kingdoms rampaged across the peninsula in petty vendettas and passionnate mercantilism.

Back then, the Papacy faced a period of financial turbulence and Pope Eugene IV defaulted on a 25'000 florin loan drawn from Cosimo di Medici, the legendary founder of his namesake House. To settle the debt, the Pope forfeited the town of Sansepolcro, in modern day Umbria. …

Why surf-pop, iOS7 and the new Mac Pro sound less like design and technology and more like tax performance advisory

A lot of people are fussing about Apple’s latest announcement of the iOS7 redesign. iOS7 will, in all likelihood be standard Apple fare. Beautifully designed, immaculately crafted, incredibly successful and rightly earn the company a lot of money.

What I personally found much more interesting than iOS7 during the keynote presentation at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference was the announcement of a Mac Pro, and not necessarily from a technical perspective.

Instead, I thought it was quite amusing to see Apple executives flout the Mac Pro as an example of American innovation, designed by Apple in California and assembled in Texas…

Adrian Cachinero Vasiljevic

Interested in consumer/retail businesses. Following a strict hummus-based diet.

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