Digging it out of the ground

Six years ago, in Unleashing the Ideavirus, I wrote, ""Twenty years ago, the top 100 companies in the Fortune 500 either dug something out of the ground or turned a natural resource (iron ore or oil) into something you could hold." This statement was a little hyperbolic, but not by much.      

Teena did some research and sent me numbers on the current state of the list. I sorted it by "Hold" stuff (like a can of Coke) and thought-value added businesses (like computers, pharma or stores). Here’s the breakdown:

Aerospace and Defense    7   
Beverages    1   
Chemicals    2   
Food Consumer Products    1   
Food Production    2   
Forest & Paper Products    2   
Household and Personal Products    2   
Industrial & Farm Equipment    2   
Metals    1   
Motor Vehicles & Parts    4   
Petroleum Refining    7   
Pipelines    1   

That’s 32% of the list. The rest, the majority, are companies that traffic in ideas, not stuff.

Commercial Banks    5   
Computer Software    1   
Computers, Office Equipment    3   
Diversified Financials    2   
Entertainment    3   
Food & Drug Stores    5   
General Merchandisers    4   
Health Care    6   
Insurance: Life, Health (mutual)    12   
Mail, Package, Freight Delivery    2   
Network and Other Communications Equipment    2   
Pharmaceuticals    4   
Savings Institutions    1   
Securities    4   
Semiconductors and Other Electronic Components    1   
Specialty Retailers    4   
Telecommunications    4   
Wholesalers    5