Day: October 19, 2020

The little engine that could

Technology takes all of us for a ride sooner or later. The question is, to where?

In The Magnificent Ambersons, a 1918 novel, the car is author Booth Tarkington’s chosen vehicle for exploring the transformations wrought by technology (of which he was none too fond) and the hazards of standing in their way. The book is a joy to read, for a tragedy. It bristles with ironic wit and insight even as it reveals the terrible price of believing, in a modern market economy, that you can skate by on who you are rather than seeking rewards for what you can do.

Business readers in particular will recognize a host of themes that still bedevil us, including the revolutionary nature of innovation and the environmental costs of affluence. Most dangerous of all, in Tarkington’s view, is affluence itself, which breeds a fatal complacency in the family — frozen in

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How Sticking to Their Principles Helped Zappos and Tom’s of Maine Step Ahead of Their Competition

7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Capturing market share in a competitive industry is a matter of differentiation. When Tesla saw that its rivals favored function over form, it positioned itself as a sleek alternative to more prosaic vehicles like the Toyota Prius or the Chevy Volt. marketed itself as a fresh, authentic alternative to . Uber became the alternative to Lyft. 

That’s standard branding practice. But what about using principles to position your business? Can making character be part of your company’s signature to make you distinctive without seeming gimmicky? 

While there are potential pitfalls to a character-based approach, two enterprises have found surprising success: and Tom’s of Maine. Here’s what they can teach entrepreneurs:

1. Go to extremes for customers

A quirky startup with a funny name, Zappos is no longer a joke. From a

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