Stories of reinvention in today’s NY Times business section

We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming …

I’ve been blogging about gratitude for the last month and now it’s time to shift back to writing more broadly about reinvention and transformation.

Apparently the New York Times knew I might need some help with blog topics, since the business editors packed three good stories of reinvention today:

Wines, With Notes of M.B.A. — a story about couples like Kathryn and Craig Hall, who have gone into the wine business as a second career. It says in part:

the Halls are part of a recent wave of M.B.A.’s, bankers, architects, engineers and others who are taking over or starting wineries and infusing small boutique labels with a level of business expertise usually found only at big brands.

“It’s a very common second career,” says Bill Nelson, president of WineAmerica, a national trade association with more than 800 member wineries. “Often, people get the financial wherewithal from the first career to get started and transition into wine.”

Over 60, and Proud to Join the Digerati — a profile of James Gaines, editor in chief of the online publication FLYP, who spent a career in magazines including Time, Life and People before moving into online media in his 60s. The lead says:

IN the summer of 2008, just before I turned 61, I went to work at FLYP, an online digital publication that combines text with Flash animation, motion graphics and streaming audio and video to tell stories. It’s part of a larger effort to explore new forms of multimedia journalism.

FLYP’s founder, Alan Stoga, is several years younger than I am. The other people on the staff are decades younger than either of us. Most of them, I suspect, have body piercings or tattoos of some sort. You can say 60 is the new 40 all you want. Where I work, even 40 is pretty old.

When Names Change to Protect the Future —  a story about how businesses see themselves strategically and the role the business name plays in that identity. It starts out:

APPLE dropped the word “computer” from its name in January 2007, soon after it introduced the iPhone. Likewise, Fuji Photo Film shortened its name to Fujifilm in 2006, when sales of its photography products slipped to less than one-third of total revenue.

These moves symbolize fundamental shifts in how these companies see themselves and how others perceive them. In short, they signify a change in identity.

How a company responds to today’s tumultuous technological and competitive landscape depends greatly on how it defines itself or, in some cases, redefines itself.

This story reminds me a bit of my blog post on Netflix and Chuck Close, which told a bit of the story of Netflix seeing itself as something bigger than just movie rentals by mail.

Did you read any good stories of reinvention or transformation this weekend?


Categories: career

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