Stock Index

Stock indexes set objective benchmarks for how a stock should perform against peers. Reduces the risk of stock investing. Farmer turned reporter turned media mogul Charles Dow, with reporter Edward Jones, launched a stock newsletter in 1883. Titled the Customers’ Afternoon Letter, they tracked issues affecting the stock market. Dow’s letter gained a reputation for […]

Management Consulting

In 1886, Arthur D. Little, of MIT, founded the first management consulting company. Despite a 2002 bankruptcy, it still exists today. Little consulting tended to focus more on technology than management or strategy. Booz started his firm in 1914, focused on management. In 1933, Bower, a Harvard lawyer and MBA, went to work for McKinsey’s […]

Stock Ticker / Ticker Tape

Both the ticker and ticker tape lowered the cost of transmitting stock prices by eliminating the need for a person to translate them to and from Morse Code. Subsequently, this innovation served as a bridge from specialists required to send and receive telegraph messages to plain-text transmissions. Edward Calahan saw people rushing from the floor […]

Grocery Store Chain / Mass Retailer

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P) showed that relying on massive scale could push down prices while running a company profitably. Relying on low prices A&P expanded rapidly. Early A&P stores were full-service. Shoppers, who typically arrived on foot to the neighborhood stores, would tell grocers what they wanted, and the grocers would […]

Credit Reporting

Accurate credit reporting vastly lowered the risk of lending and, with it, the cost of capital. Lewis Tappan Tappan was a strident Christian who did not believe in credit. His brother and he went bankrupt, twice. Tappan and brothers were busybodies, known to snoop and report on New York City gaming houses, brothels, and other […]


Insurance – paying to spread risk – is an ancient practice. Modern insurance, where businesses specifically focus on assuming the risk of loss for a third-party is a more modern practice. The Hamburger Feuerkasse (Hamburg Fire Office) opened in 1676. Fire insurance spread throughout Europe. Eventually, Lloyd’s of London popularized shipping insurance, where people willing […]