Chapter 2. Paying for Innovation and Making Innovation Pay: Wow on a Budget

THE NEW MILLENNIUM HAD JUST DAWNED, AND THE BRAVE NEW WORLD OF BUSINESS WAS IN THE FULL FLUSH OF THE INTERNET CRAZE. PROFITS, CASH FLOW, AND EVEN REVENUES HAD BECOME IRRELEVANT; WHAT COUNTED WERE CATCHY NAMES, COOL CONCEPTS, AND OFFICE SUITES FULL OF HIP, YOUNG PEOPLE PLAYING PICKUP BASKETBALL WHEN THEY WEREN’T TOSSING OFF BRILLIANT IDEAS. IN THE FEVERISH NEW ECONOMY, ANY KIND OF BRICK-AND-MORTAR BUSINESS WAS JUST BO-RING—SO 1985.

Martin Franklin thought otherwise. In the early 1990s, Franklin, the British-born son of a merchant banker and corporate raider Roland Franklin, a close associate of Sir James Goldsmith, bought a small string of eyewear shops. He grew it into ...

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