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Cold Call

Podcast Cold Call

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  • Nestlé’s KitKat Diplomacy: Neutrality vs. Shared Value
    In February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, and multinational companies began pulling out of Russia, in response. At Switzerland-based Nestlé, chief executive Mark Schneider had a difficult decision to make. Nestlé had a long tradition of neutrality that enabled it to operate in countries regardless of their political systems and human rights policies. But more recently the company had embraced Michael Porter’s “shared value” paradigm, which argues that companies have a responsibility to improve the business community and the health of their communities. What should Schneider do?
  • Wordle: Can a Pandemic Phenomenon Sustain in the Long Term?
    Wordle went from a personal game, created by a developer for his girlfriend, to a global phenomenon with two million users in just a few months. Then The New York Times made an unexpected bid to acquire it. But will Wordle outlast other pandemic pastimes?
  • Metaverse Seoul: How One City Used Citizen Input to Pilot a Government-Run Metaverse
    In May 2022, the Seoul Metropolitan Government in Seoul, South Korea, launched the pilot of Metaverse Seoul, a virtual version of Seoul’s mayor’s office. As they worked towards building a broad, immersive, online government platform, they hoped to gain insights from citizens about everything from popular local tourist sites that could be experienced virtually to government services that could be delivered in the metaverse. But to do that, the team had to figure out how to solicit ideas from citizens and then determine which ideas to put to use.
  • How Will Gamers and Investors Respond to Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard?
    In January 2022, Microsoft announced its acquisition of the video game company Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. The deal would make Microsoft the world’s third largest video game company, but it also exposes the company to several risks. First, the all-cash deal would require Microsoft to use a large portion of its cash reserves. Second, the acquisition was announced as Activision Blizzard faced gender pay disparity and sexual harassment allegations. That opened Microsoft up to potential reputational damage, employee turnover, and lost sales. Do the potential benefits of the acquisition outweigh the risks for Microsoft and its shareholders?
  • Planning the Future for Harlem’s Beloved Sylvia’s Restaurant
    Sylvia’s Restaurant, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in August 2022, is a testament to the values instilled by the founder and matriarch, Sylvia Woods. She cultivated a strong community around her soul food restaurant in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood that has continued to thrive, even after her passing a decade ago. Amid business expansions and succession planning, the legacy of Sylvia Woods continues to live on. But as Sylvia’s grandson takes over the business, a new challenge faces him and his family: what should the next 60 years of Sylvia’s look like?

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