a16z Podcast

a16z Podcast: The Case Study of Dollar General and Surviving (Thriving!) Retail

Cal Turner Jr., Jeff Jordan, and Hanne Winarsky

Posted September 5, 2018

The “death of retail” in the face of e-commerce and tech disruption is a very real phenomenon, but what about the flip side of that story — that is, retail thriving despite all odds?

Enter Dollar General, a multi-billion-dollar success story of the U.S. chain with 14,000 brick-and-mortar dollar stores. So in this episode of the a16z Podcast, general partner Jeff Jordan — who was formerly an SVP for The Disney Stores (and has written much about declining malls, competing with Amazon, and the tipping point for ecommerce, among other things) — with Hanne Tidnam interviews Cal Turner, Jr., the CEO of Dollar General and author of the new book, My Father’s Business: The Small-Town Values That Built Dollar General into a Billion-Dollar Company.

How did Dollar General go from the Great Depression to nearly filing for bankruptcy to IPO and entering the Fortune 500? It turns out, the journey — not unlike startups and successful big companies — is a case study in focus, focus, focus… whether it was pricing (natch) or inventory or a focus on customers or simply (but not so simply!) focusing on one’s “true north”.

photo credit: Mike Mozart/ Flickr

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The a16z Podcast discusses the most important ideas within technology with the people building it. Each episode aims to put listeners ahead of the curve, covering topics like AI, energy, genomics, space, and more.

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