Archive for July, 2002

The Strategy Machine. Building your business one idea at a time Larry Downes

The Strategy Machine. Larry Downes. 2002 ISBN 0066211298.$40)
Picking right up three years after “Unleashing the Killer Ap” , Downes has put out “the business book for this year”.
From drawing insights from Kubler-Ross “On Death and Dying” as it applies to change through Kafka on “Metamorphosis” plus Mintzberg (“Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning” , Porter ( “HBS on Strategy” and Christensen ( Innovators Dilemma) Downes adds to what you learn from the Invisible Advantage and then some.

Some great thoughts. Compare the Internet boom and bust to the building of the Suez Canal and the 80s AI boom/bust. Downes takes direct attacks on the way we look at supply chains and shows how to grow your information supply chain. How and when did Boeing change from a products to a services company? What are the characteristics of the three attributes of corporate inertia called the paradigm shift, the second system syndrome and the innovators dilemma? How about, ” the strategic decisions in a company are made by experts in “business as usual, not usually where you find visionaries.” He lists the obstacles to change and how to address them in his pragmatic fashion. This is a “I can use this tomorrow and the rest of my life ” type of book. Buy it for your personal development library. Mark it an A.

Invisible Advantage. Jonathan Low/ Pam Cohen Kalafut

Invisible Advantage Jonathan Low/ Pam Cohen Kalafut 2002. ISBN 0738205397. ($42)

Two Cap Gemini consultants take apart company valuations to find the “invisible advantages”
of many successful and growing companies which are not recognized by regular valuations.
Well done, readable and not that surprising to those of us laboring in the tech industry. I was surprised that two “traditional ” consultants would write something this useful.

Harrahs IT commitment to high value customers is enlightening as are the different measures of ecommerce effectiveness. The ten advantages are leadership, strategy execution, communication& transparency, brand equity, reputation, networks & alliances, technology & processes, human capital, workplace organization & culture, innovation, intellectual capital, and adaptability. Mark it a B. If you can get it at the library, do it.