Woody Allen once explained why eclecticism works: "The real advantage of being bisexual is that it doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night."
--- Warren Buffet. 1995 Letter to Shareholders.
Another quote from the same letter is relevant to Jerry Yang's resignation from Yahoo. It explains why, for example, Amazon would fail much faster with the same kind of chairman.
Retailing is a tough business. During my investment career, I have watched a large number of retailers enjoy terrific growth and superb returns on equity for a period, and then suddenly nosedive, often all the way into bankruptcy. This shooting-star phenomenon is far more common in retailing than it is in manufacturing or service businesses. In part, this is because a retailer must stay smart, day after day. Your competitor is always copying and then topping whatever you do. Shoppers are meanwhile beckoned in every conceivable way to try a stream of new merchants. In retailing, to coast is to fail. In contrast to this have-to-be-smart-every-day business, there is what I call the have-to-be-smart-once business. For example, if you were smart enough to buy a network TV station very early in the game, you could put in a shiftless and backward nephew to run things, and the business would still do well for decades. You'd do far better, of course, if you put in Tom Murphy, but you could stay comfortably in the black without him. For a retailer, hiring that nephew would be an express ticket to bankruptcy.
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