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We Were There Wednesday

July 12, 2017, 4:44 PM UTC
A Snapchat logo is seen through broken glass in this illustration picture
A Snapchat logo is seen through broken glass in this illustration picture, May 11, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration - RTS165SB
Dado Ruvic—Reuters

You’ve heard of Throwback Thursday, right? Well, today I invite you to a first-ever installment of We-Were-There Wednesday, a brief look back at some stellar Fortune journalism from the past that sheds light on the news of today.

First, I invite you to re-read Shawn Tully’s brutal takedown from March of the craven way Snap’s (SNAP) bankers handled its IPO. He called the IPO an “epic fleecing” of retail investors. Things have gotten worse for Snap—though I truly enjoyed its Ferris Wheel in Cannes last month—as investors have become increasingly jittery that Facebook (FB) will eat Snapchat’s lunch. Analysts at Morgan Stanley, one of Snap’s underwriters, lowered their targets for Snap’s shares Tuesday. They fell 9% to $15.47, below their $17 offering price and nearly half their high of $29 and change.

Next, I please look back at the devil of a time the venerable publisher and education company Pearson was having repositioning itself a couple years ago. Jennifer Reingold’s look at Pearson’s problems is a classic examination at how tough it is to turn around giant organizations. Pearson is ditching its stake in book publisher Penguin Random House, a move that will get it money but not much else, says Liam Proud of Reuters Breakingviews.

Finally, I highly recommend David Whitford’s penetrating look from 2013 at Wang Jianlin, the entrepreneur behind property developer and entertainment conglomerate Wanda Group. Wang was in the ascendance four years ago, just as Fortune was convening its Fortune Global Forum in Chengdu in Western China. Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal details how Wang and Wanda are scaling back their ambitions after bulking up on too much debt.

Looking forward, another item caught my eye Tuesday. Mobike, the Chinese bikesharing startup that along with its chief competitor Ofo has raised more than $1 billion, is looking to expand to Washington, D.C. Before that happens, Mobike plans a humbler but equally exciting test. It will have 15 bikes at the disposal of guests at the Brainstorm Tech conference next week in Aspen. I plan to be among the first to try them. I’ll post a photo.

Adam Lashinsky