HOMEMASS MEDIAXavier in the NewsThis Could Get Messy
24 October 2013
This Could Get Messy
Mass media - News Sala i Martín

Tags: Barça | Sports

Can Pep Guardiola work his Barça magic at Bayern?

Unlike Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, Pep Guardiola didn’t have his audience at “Hello.” But he did have them at “Guten Tag, Grüß Gott.” All it took for the 42-year-old—on his first day running FC Bayern Munich—was to address the more than 250 journalists in the Allianz Arena in very passable German, garnished with a Bavarian idiom. The writers marveled at his command of the notoriously difficult language, they laughed at his self-effacing joke (“All the answers for the most important questions are pre-prepared—if I don’t know the questions, I’m kaput!”), and above all, they appreciated the two key messages Guardiola sought to get across. First, he’s an obsessive worker determined to arm himself with the communication tools every successful manager needs. According to his brother Pere, Guardiola studied German “like a madman” since accepting Bayern’s job offer just before Christmas [...]


Xavier Sala-i-Martín, a professor of economics at Columbia University, has an interesting analogy. He got to know Guardiola’s modus operandi while he was working as FC Barcelona’s treasurer from 2004 to 2010. “Look at Zara and H&M, the two big European clothes chains,” he says. Both have similar business plans: fashionable clothes at affordable prices. But H&M produces their stock as cheaply as possible in great volumes. Half a million yellow pairs of trousers, for example. Zara, a Spanish chain, produces smaller quantities—say, 20,000 pairs of yellow trousers. Production is more expensive, but the stock in the shops changes every week. “If Madonna wears a purple pair of trousers in a concert, there will be purple trousers in the Zara shops the next week,” says Sala-i-Martín, “whereas the H&M trousers are still yellow. Guardiola is Zara. He surprises his opponents by making small changes to his tactics each week. An economist would call it flexibility. Pep stands for continuous innovation.” [...]

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