Skip to main content

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.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: What Matters Now by Gary Hamel

Interview of Eric Schmidt by Gary Hamel at the MLab dinner tonight. Google's Marissa Mayer and Hal Varian also joined the open dialog about Google's culture and management style, from chaos to arrogance. The video just went up on YouTube. It's quite entertaining. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Cover of The Future of ManagementMy list of must-read business writers continues to expand.Gary Hamel, however, author of What Matters Now, with the very long subtitle of How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition, and Unstoppable Innovation, has been on the list for quite some time.Continuing his thesis on the need for a new approach to management introduced in his prior book The Future of Management, Hamel calls for a complete rethinking of how enterprises are run.

Fundamental to his recommendation is that the practice of management is ossified in a command and control system that is now generations old and needs to be replaced with something that reflects an educat…
As happens this time of year, publishers list their most important/influential/etc. youngsters.  As an example, the May issue of Wired has “20 Unsung Geniuses”.  We think mature adults deserve recognition just as much as 20-something billionaires.  Here is our Sixty Over Sixty list of the most influential, annoying, important or folks we just find interesting.  Here then, sorted by age, is The Sixty Most Important Leaders Over Sixty.
Henry Kissinger.  Still the U.S. best thinker on foreign policy and diplomacy. His recently published book (at age 91) World Order is not only a best seller, it is extraorinary. Jimmy Carter.  Better as an ex-President than President.  His work for Habitat for Humanity is a lesson for all of us. T. Boone Pickens.  Oilman, energy expert.  Creator of The Pickens Plan for energy independence. Frank Gehry.  Showing the world what new materials and CAD design can do to architecture. Warren Bufett. Best investor in history.  Becoming one of the best philanthro…

The Acceleration of Asset Lite Business Models

The number of asset lite businesses is steadily increasing, as is the breadth of industries effected.  I first noticed them in the 1970’s, when Baron Hilton sold several flagship Hilton hotels while retaining management contracts that entitled Hilton Corporation to a share of revenue and earnings. Over the next two decades, Marriott Corp copied and then perfected the hotel management agreement business approach, coupling a Marriott franchise with a management agreement for any one of a growing stable of brands (Fairfield Inns, Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inns, J.W. Marriott, etc. etc.), enabling absentee investor/owners.  It turns out, however, that asset lite business structures date back much earlier.
Franchises and Dealers Early versions of asset lite businesses include franchise and dealer organizations. Soft drink and beer distributors, auto dealers and tire and repair franchises date to the early nineteen hundreds, as manufacturers needed mass distribution. The dealers furn…