In Search of Stupidity: Over 20 Years of High-Tech Marketing Disasters
Post by:Book Review Team
<pre>Author/s : Merrill Chapman Publisher : APress Category :Other Review by : Michael Ernest Rating : 9 horseshoes</pre> It's hard to build a company that is both big and smart; most large companies survive by minimizing their mistakes, or making fewer costly mistakes than the competition, or at least by knowing how to recover from their own. In making light of the 80's blockbuster In Search of Excellence -- whose author, Tom Peters, admitted 20 years later was based on bogus data -- In Search of Stupidity examines several companies that did nothing to prevent or recover from their mistakes, and willfully so. Each story exemplifies pride in wrongheadedness, a triumph of personality over common sense, or best of all, a belief that markets can be told what they want and who to get it from. It's great reading. Chapman is merciless, entertaining and yeah, really merciless. Aside from kicking several high-tech losers after the fact, which is fun, he shows how high-tech's own foibles create (when it could prevent) its own sufferings. For programmers, developers, and other technical types, this book is an eye-opener to the differences between how software gets built and how it gets sold. In particular, Chapman's analysis of Microsoft's market dominance today (and why), along with his excerpted interview with Joel Spolsky are invaluable reading.
<pre> Review by : Thomas Paul Rating : 9 horseshoes</pre> Why is Microsoft such a huge company today? It isn't because their products were better or because they cheated other companies out of their rightful place in the market. It's because they weren't as stupid as their competition. Merrill Chapman takes us through the comedy of errors that companies like Digital Research, WordStar, Lotus, and AshtonTate went through as they tossed their market leads aside in fits of stupidity. You can't help but laugh (or cry) at the mistakes these companies made. Example: WordStar was once one of the finest word processing programs in the world. But through stupidity the company ended up owning two competing mediocre products. You won't find very much analysis of why a particular company made such obviously fatal errors. Why did Borland pay an outrageous sum to buy AshtonTate at a time when it had virtually nothing that Borland needed? You won't find the answer here. What you will find is an amusing, well-written examination of the collapse of good companies under the weight of their serious errors of judgment. There is a moral to be learned from this book. It isn't necessary to be excellent. In fact, excellence can be expensive and drive up your costs so much that they make your products uncompetitive. The secret is not to be excellent, in fact you don't even have to be very smart. All you need to be is less stupid that your competitors. Just ask Microsoft.
<pre>Author/s : Merrill R. Chapman Publisher : Apress Category :Other Review by : Valentin Crettaz Rating : 9 horseshoes</pre> I would qualify this book as a great marketing antipattern repository. All the true stories reported by Rick Chapman illustrate the worst practices in high-tech marketing he experienced over the past twenty years. With an entertaining narrative style, he immerses you in the corporate life of the big companies he worked at and delivers a fair dose of crispy details about some scary war stories that you wouldn't believe they actually happened. You would think that companies like IBM, Microsoft, Novell and Borland to cite a few, have never made stupid mistakes. Well, you're wrong! As the saying goes, ?nobody?s perfect?. This statement gets all its sense when applied to people working for big corporations that have the money and the brain cells, but despite this, still manage to shoot themselves in the feet. Money doesn?t buy you anything, but it is isually a good magnet for stupid managers, so watch out!
To understand the content of this book, there is no need to be a marketing guru whose resume reaches the moon. In fact, this book is suitable to pretty much anyone, whether you want to discover which practices to avoid at all costs, or whether you want to laugh out loud and despise those wannabe "deus ex machina" working for big corporations. Grab your copy, sit down comfortably and start turning the pages. You won't regret it, unless of course you were actively involved in one of those shameful and pathetic undertakings
<pre>Category :Other Review by : Ulf Dittmer Rating : 9 horseshoes</pre> This highly readable book provides an overview of major blunders hardware and software companies have made since the evolution of small computers in the mid 70s. Not all examples are marketing failures - management, development and sales also often contributed. The book provides examples of various kinds of business mistakes, be it product positioning, burning one's own brand, mistreating the customer base, being caught in a bubble, underestimating the competition and others. Amongst the companies studied are IBM, Digital Research, Apple, Microsoft, MicroPro, Ashton-Tate, Siebel, Borland, Intel, Motorola, Google, Novell and Netscape. Taken together, the case studies also provide a kind of abridged history of microcomputing. Two concluding chapters try to distill the essence of the mistakes made, and how they may have been avoided. Even though hindsight is 20/20, there are a number of valuable lessons, not always new ones, sometimes just forgotten ones.
At 350 pages the book is nicely shorter than the usual crop of high-tech books, but it still contains a lot of material that is covered in-depth. The authors manages not to get lost in technical arcana, and makes his points clearly, and in a light style that is accessible even to those without a programming background.