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  • Michael Krakovskiy 12:20 am on September 11, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: armless nursing chair, Bertil Torekull, , car door factory, , Economy of Sweden, , , IKEA, Ingvar, , , STØR,   

    Leading By Design: The Ikea Story 

    Based on exclusive interviews with the legendary founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, Leading by Design tells the inside story of Kamprad’s humble roots and of the visionary concepts and innovative strategies that turned a small, Swedish mail-order company into a worldwide commercial giant.

    When in 1943 at age seventeen Ingvar Kamprad founded IKEA, he had no way of knowing that IKEA would come to represent dedication to quality, a distinct design style, and convenience to the harried modern consumer. Today, more than 195 million people worldwide frequent his 150 stores in thirty countries, and almost 100 million catalogs are printed each year.

    As the grandson of German immigrants who went to Sweden in search of a better life, Ingvar Kamprad grew up on a farm in a rural village. But he was no farmer. Early in his life, he discovered his natural affinity for business. From cigarette lighters and fish to Christmas cards and pens, young Ingvar devoted himself to importing and selling anything he thought he could make a profit on. Furniture was just one item in a long and fairly undistinguished list’until, in an effort to best his main competitor, he took a chance on an armless nursing chair he called Ruth. It quickly sold out. Adding a coffee table and then a sofa bed and then a chandelier, Kamprad was astonished by how quickly the merchandise moved.

    The rest is business history. In Leading by Design, Bertil Torekull, a well-known Swedish journalist, reveals the genius and the secrets behind IKEA’s extraordinary success. With candor and detail, he offers insights into Kamprad’s cutting-edge management strategies, his enthusiasm to embrace innovative methods (such as producing ready-to-assemble merchandise and using a car door factory to produce affordable products with universal appeal), and the tools he used to grow the IKEA brand into a veritable industry unto itself.

    More than a standard business history Leading by Design captures the essence of Kamprad himself. It is a testament to the inspiration, the ideas, and the innovations that make a good business great.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 12:11 am on September 11, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Electrodeless lamp, , , , , , Giancarlo Fassina, IKEA, , , , Lamp, , , , Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, Robert Dudley Best, set designer, , , , Winston Churchill   

    The House of Lamps or Lamp Lust 

    I firmly believe that expensive and well designed office chairs like Aeron or Mirra make a very good investment. On the other hand my friend, a very successful entrepreneur, tells me that much cheaper 300 dollar chairs are just as good, and that his most prized employees, when asked what kind of a chair they want said that it does not matter. My friend is very smart, very rich, and probably right.

    People who have chair lust, like me, sometimes have an even more irrational desire – to buy expensive table lamps. When Joel Spolsky visited me at work, i pointed out to him that everyone at my office had a four hundred dollar Artemide Tolomeo desk lamp. Joel, famous for his office architecture fetish, was not impressed — oh yeah, we have a whole bunch of them too at Fog Creek, — he said.

    I noticed that the set designer of the hit show House, MD also has an obsession with lamps. Even more interestingly, I noticed that Dr House’s office has three very interesting lamps.

    Lamp A is a paragon of British design, Bestlite, a lamp that I always wanted, and never bought because it’s crazy to spend that much money on a lamp. Designed by Robert Dudley Best and made famous by Winston Churchill, who had one in his office, it’s the Bentley of expensive designer lamps. It’s just crazy to spend over $600 on a lamp, innit?

    Lamp B is the Artemide Tolomeo, a floor version of the lamp that I have at work. It’s a beautiful lamp that works very well. The desk version is about half the price of Bestlite, but it’s crazy to spend $300 on a lamp, right? Even if it’s designed by Michele De Lucchi and Giancarlo Fassina?

    Lamp C appears all throughout Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital and gets the most screen time. It’s a 25 dollar Antifoni work lamp from Ikea, and the one that I have on my desk at home. Who designed it? I don’t know, it says “Ikea of Sweden”. What does Antifoni mean? According to Nordic Names, a website for translating crazy Ikea names like Bjöberg and Drömma, it means “antiphony“.

    By the way, apparently Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad has a Nazi past and chose to name all the furniture because SKUs were hard for him to keep track of due to his dyslexia. Also Gillis Lundgren, besides being famous for designing the Billy bookcase (I have 12 of these in my apartment) , actually invented the concept of flat pack furniture when he sawed off legs from a table that would not fit into a car.

    Also on the subject of Ikea lamps:

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 5:14 am on July 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , IKEA, , ,   

    Old Books 

    I have 8 big Ikea Billy bookshelves (and one small one in the bathroom) all full. Since I don’t do Microsoft stuff any longer, I freed up a sweet chunk of shelf space by throwing these out (well, actually putting into the recycle pile):

    I’d give them away, but they are absolutely useless.

     
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