Archive for April, 2006

End of the Line. Barry C. Lynn

End of the Line. Barry C. Lynn. The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global
Corporation. 2005. ISBN . Point and counterpoint. For an analysis from
the other side of the theoretical camp from The World is Flat and the
Power of Productivity, comes a surprisingly detailed (for a journalist)
review of past, present and potential US foreign policy. The jumping off
point is the increasing tightly intertwined global logistical supply
chains and the growth of global companies that are no longer vertically
integrated like Intel but are the Dells, GE., Cisco Boeing and Wall Mart
who no longer build anything but push it onto the backs of suppliers and
nation states. Each major icon of industry like Michael Dell, Sam
Walton, Jack Welsh and so on is given some credit for leading the US
down a rabbit hole of potential doom. But he saves most of his vitriol
for Bill Clinton, who is blamed for abandoning policy control, leading
to a purely laissez faire attitude toward global companies. The
analysis of policy predates the War of Independence and is a fascinating
read. Every major author is quoted and plays their part from Coase
through to Porter. What gave me cause to read the book is that what he
predicts about over reliance on single source suppliers all over the
world has caused lots of problems in the technology world and we have
all seen it and still do. Thus plus I see still very fragile production
systems in countries that we still do not really know their end game
but we have certainly seen their mistreatment of their citizens (China)
gives me cause to give this a second think. Not a light read, but well
written. Might be hard to find!

Managing Customers as Investments. Gupta & Lehmann.

Managing Customers as Investments. Gupta & Lehmann. 2005. ISBN
013148950. The strategic value of customers in the long run.
So what happens when two good financial analysts take a rigorous look at
marketing? This book. If you have been wondering how to measure the
impact of marketing and marry it to traditional financial analysis,
then this is the book for you. Not an easy read, since it applies good
sound theories. Eg. So how much could you afford to spend to acquire a
customer? First how many years do customers remain with you? Then how
much on average do they spend each year on your products in that time?
Apply your customer retention rates. Then net present value all those
discounted amounts to today and you have the dollars you could spend to
acquire them now (Ie how much in sales and marketing you could spend.)
If you want to quickly value a company, multiply that net present value
of annual spend against the total number of customers and that is what
the cos value is today. This is also useful in assessing a M&A activity.
There are insights in the impact of a 1% price raise on profits (about
11% rise), the addition of a 1% increase in retention rates on profits
vs increased customer acquisition activities and so on. This is a
valuable addition to the C level library, but it implies that you do
want to do better in this area.
Good uses of real company stories here.

The Creative Habit. Twyla Tharp

The Creative Habit. Twyla Tharp.2006. ISBN 0743235274. A delightful and insightful read that will stimulate you to get out of your seat and do something creative. I took my time to read this, but it is an easy read, because so much of what she has put down is boiled down wisdom. Eg. How does she read? 1. Competitively (to gain advantage over those who do not). 2. Growth ( you are today and what you will be in five years due to people you meet and books you read). 3. Inspiration (looking for patterns a, concepts, situations that are basic and connect). 4.
Archaeological (backwards in time, from an authors latest work then through what predates that work until you are at the simplest text, a reverse chronology. 5. Transactional (scribble in the margins, circle words and phrases, own the text. 6. Fat. (read related texts, contemporaries, even the authors letter. What was going on life when this was written?) If you believe that you are on earth to create something at all, this is a very inspiring read. And it is a lot of fun.

Passionate & Profitable. Lior Arussy.

Passionate & Profitable. Lior Arussy. 2005. ISBN 0471713929. Why
Customer Strategies fail and 10 Steps to Do Them Right.
So your company is customer focussed? Tell me, If you lose two top
customers, which senior executive gets fired? Do you regularly ask
your good customers. “Would you recommend us to someone else?” Have
you lost your natural paranoia that got you success in the first place?
This is a superb, no punches pulled book. Easy read, but the lessons to
learn are rooted in real life experiences. His website is This is a smart guy who writes a very
readable book. In many ways this is a complement to the Christennsen
work on innovation solutions. I recommend you get this one.

Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes. Andy Goodman.

Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes. Andy Goodman.2006.
ISBN0976302721. A very well though out book, intended for the non
profits world. But, it is a compilation of all the good books on
presenting that I have looked at and more. Easy to read, to use and
extraordinarily useful. (Do you know what happens when you press the B
key in a Propionate demonstration? You use it when you want the
audience to look at you, not the screen.) If you present, ever, you
need to read this book. I have not found it on Amazon yet. You can download or buy it from