From Leather to Electronics – What Can We Learn from Radio Shack?

Most people alive today would have trouble remembering when there wasn’t a local Radio Shack store.  For  years, it was synonymous with things electronic.  This past week it filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy with most if of its brick and mortar assets probably destined to be resurrected as Sprint Stores.    Founder Charles Tandy began with a few outlets serving leather goods hobbyists and over time morphed his enterprise into the nation’s leading chain of  hundreds of electronics stores…a remarkable evolution.

What happened and why?  Take a few minutes for a cautionary tale about taking success for granted and failing to understand one’s market place.  Technology writer Robert X. Cringely analyzes the rise and fall of this enterprise in a brief article  Remembering Radio Shack.   On the CNBC site,  analyst Charles Fearon (author of “Dead Companies Walking”) offers a  one minute video montage of the history of Radio Shack and a brief musing of why, from a larger societal standpoint, Radio Shack’s Demise is a Good Thing.

If you are a CEO of a company with storm like headwinds, lean in, develop a culture of innovation, take risks, and don’t defend your turf to the very last moment.

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