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Review: Escape Velocity by Geoffrey Moore

Geoffrey Moore is a very successful author and has also started multiple consulting and speaking businesses.  He is also a partner in a venture capital firm.  Mr. Moore writes extensively about strategy and marketing, particularly in technology markets.

In Escape Velocity Free Your Company’s Future from the Pull of the Past Mr. Moore sets up circumstances in which businesses struggle with a transition from existing products and services to the products and services that will replace them. 

I have two quick observations: first, this book is clearly about business-to-business marketing.  If you are in the B2B space, there are some lessons here, but this book clearly is not aimed at you.  Second, since Mr. Moore is involved with tech companies, his examples are almost exclusively tech examples.  Not so narrow as not to be interesting, but perhaps limited for readers who are in, say, insurance or construction.

Moore’s theme is that there is a hierarchy of strategy, which he labels powers.  (It is my interpretation that these are strategy equivalents).  Specifically and in order: Category Power, Company Power, Market Power, Offer Power and Execution Power.  He sets up his argument with examples of enterprises where strong legacy products exist and the enterprise gets the majority of its cash flow from those.  Some more forward-thinking members of the firm envision the next generation product and begin scratching for resources to advance those.  In his view as presented in this book, far too many firms are too reluctant or at least too slow to free up the best people and adequate capital to support the new.  The old-world firm that I would point to as the exemplar of the opposite is Gillette, which has steadily and relentlessly pushed its lead in razors and razor blades, cannibalizing the old product. 

The chapters after the set-up describe each of the five “powers” with prescriptions on how to fight organization inertia and obtain adequate funding to identify the most promising new products and harvest the old.

Overall, I would describe this as a useful management book.  More relevant for tech space readers, and most relevant for B2B tech space readers.


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