The Giants of Richard Tedlow's absorbing book, are individuals gifted with remarkable talents and certain shared qualities-enormous energy, intense determination, strong belief in themselves, passion for their products, appreciation of new technology-that allowed them to create major new industries and markets in the United States. Tedlow presents the lives of each of these seven visionaries as a unique story, but also sews a common thread among them, one of a pioneering spirit and maverick sensibility that makes all these entrepreneurs the "giants" of American business history.
Andrew Carnegie, George Eastman, and Henry Ford were numbers men with a unique ability to see how new technologies and/or new products fit the bottom line. Carnegie foresaw a future of American railroads and cities built with durable steel, and facilitated the development of cutting edge processes to produce it with unmatched quality and affordability. Eastman (Eastman Kodak), a bookkeeper by vocation, grasped that by making a device as revolutionary and complex as the camera accessible to anyone (his first camera cost just one-dollar) profits could be made. Henry Ford knew the same thing about automobiles, his determination to create an affordable product led to the Model T; which cost less than a refrigerator when it was introduced (though the refrigerator has long since regained it's price advantage!).
Thomas Watson (IBM) and Charles Revson (Revlon) were supremely successful salesman and both were intensely focused on creating new markets for their products. Expert training allowed Watson's sales force to overcome buyer resistance, and his success can be measured in the growth of his company to the point that the name IBM was synonymous with big business. Charles Revson sold cosmetics during the great depression and understood that his success would be based creating and then fulfilling "wants" rather than just meeting the "needs" of potential customers. Through crafty marketing techniques Revson changed the nature of retail buying from rational to emotional. Later, Sam Walton (Wal-Mart) reinvented retailing again by paying attention to price. He searched for less expensive suppliers, discounted his prices and passed the savings on to the consumer. Walton intuited correctly that he could derive greater profits from volume rather than from the traditional retail focus on margin.
All these titans embraced existing technology to advance their products, but during the 1950's and 1960's most corporations were still improving yesterday's technology, in which they were already heavily invested. At that time, Robert Noyce was actually creating a new technology, the integrated circuit. Noyce developed his new product in an environment unfettered by corporate hierarchies and rituals. Together with his partner Gordon Moore, Noyce founded Intel, short for integrated electronics. In all his encounters, it is said that Noyce "induced a euphoric sense of possibility."
This study of seven visionaries is an unfolding of an important slice of the history of American business.
HF 5548.32 .P387 2001x
Net Attitude: What It Is, How to Get It, And Why Your Company Can't Survive Without It
by John R. Patrick. Perseus Publishing, 2001.
Why should your company get Net Attitude? "Attitude is everything anywhere in life" according to John Patrick, especially on the net. People expect a lot from the Internet and Patrick argues most web sites don't come close to meeting those expectations. More companies are ignoring the future all together, hanging on to old communications methods instead of taking advantage of the remarkable power inherent in the Internet. There are some notable exceptions, which Patrick offers as examples of the importance of "net attitude."
Getting "net attitude" means pressing the re-start button on your entire organization, including all of its systems and processes. It means factoring how the Internet is growing into your business strategy. Only a small number of the world's population (3 - 5%) actually has regular access to the net, so the "Internet revolution" has really just begun. As usage grows, organizational survival may depend on having a "next generation attitude" comprising a forward outlook, an ability to follow emerging Internet standards, and to foresee applications for new technology. For example, traditional brick-and-mortar operations confronted with Internet competition, can setup around the clock service using the net, simultaneously using it to communicate with employees and in turn connecting those employees to the 24/7 feedback of the real world. Patrick recommends spending time talking to today's adolescents and college students to gain a deeper understanding of the culture and future possibilities.
Full of stories about companies' successes and failures in using the
Internet in their business ventures, Net Attitude provides a blueprint for
building a successful online culture in your company.
Also recommended are:
HG 179 .J567 2002
Life or Debt: A One-Week Plan for a Lifetime of Financial Freedom by Stacey Johnson. Ballantine Books, 2002.
HF 5415 .E8 2002
The Next Economy: Will You Know Where Your Customers Are? by Elliot Ettenberg. McGraw-Hill, 2002.
HD 1382.5 .T5643 2002
J.K. Lasser's Real Estate Investing by Micahel C. Thomsett. John Wiley & Sons, 2002.