How Coca-Cola Stays Relevant, with David Butler

Coca-Cola's VP of Innovation and Entrepreneurship explains the two reasons why his company remains attractive to investors. First, its presence as a so-called "iconic brand." Second, its proven ability to leverage its assets in new ways.

David Butler:  I think what makes Coca-Cola interesting, to an investor or to anyone, is really two things: It's been able to maintain its point of view as a brand over time. And this is what is commonly referred to as an iconic brand. So in other words there are great brands out there, lots of brands, but there are relatively few that are able to maintain a point of view on the changing times around them. So if you think about it Coke has always had a point of view on society. So in the early '60s when there was a lot of cultural change, they had a point of view on race relationships. And remember the Mean Joe Greene commercial where Mean Joe Greene tosses his shirt to the kid. This is what makes brands iconic, having a point of you around the world around them.

And then the second thing is I think Coke has always been able to leverage its assets in new ways. Of course we have a core business, but it's always been able to adapt and change to the marketplace by offering new products and services, again, that are outside of our core business.

I mean Coke and every other large corporation can't stand on its laurels. So you have to adapt. Every large company or brand or product must adapt to be relevant. Every company is right now afraid of having a Kodak moment. You can imagine that the people inside of Kodak looking at the iPhone and calling it a toy at some point; now they're not. So that's what every large company, every brand should be looking at and frankly avoiding. And lots of phrases out there right now rolling around disruptive innovation and so forth, but whatever you want to call it, every brand, every company, every large organization must remain relevant or they simply die.



Directed/Produced by Jonathan Fowler, Elizabeth Rodd, and Dillon Fitton


 

 

David Butler, Coca-Cola's VP of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, explains the two reasons why his company remains attractive to investors. First, its presence as a so-called "iconic brand." Second, its proven ability to leverage its assets in new ways. Butler offers a glimpse into the ideas espoused in his new book "Design to Grow: How Coca-Cola Learned to Combine Scale and Agility (and How You Can Too)."

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

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  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.