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Blur: Speed of Change in the Connected Economy Paperback – September 1, 1999

52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Stan Davis and Christopher Meyer look at how three factors in the wired world--speed, connectivity, and intangibles--are driving the increasing rate of change in the business marketplace. Citing examples that include Mercedes-Benz automobiles, Otis elevators, and even, Davis and Meyer interpret how development in these three areas is causing the boundaries of other formerly distinct categories to blur. Once business tended to be either products or services. But what about a box that tracks your car if stolen? You are buying a product--a piece of electronics--but are actually receiving a service--the ability to track a stolen automobile. The distinction between buyers and sellers is also blurring; for example, in grocery stores vendors buy shelf space from the retailer but also sell their products to the store. Even the distinction between work time and home time is blurring with the development of Internet-powered home offices, where time can be used more flexibly. According to Davis and Meyer, blur should be embraced because it will only increase. The authors wrap up with 50 ways to add productive blur to your business and 10 ways to adapt to blur in your personal life. --Elizabeth Lewis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

A feel-good guide to doing business in the post-industrial age. A new economy is emerging, say the authors, every bit as world-changing as that created by the Industrial Revolution, and they call this new economy BLUR. Its characterized by Speed, Intangibles, and Connectivity. Speed is the shrinkage of time through near-instantaneous communication and computation. Connectivity is the shrinkage of space with the advent of the Web, E-mail, beepers, and other media of communication. Intangibles are values without mass, most importantly knowledge and its mobility, made possible through Speed and Connectivity. Throw away your business economic texts, say Davis and Meyerthe world of BLUR makes them obsolete. Companies prosper by not owning vast amounts of productive capacity. Nike, for instance, is a sort of Seinfeld of the business world, making nothing, but prospers by selling image and design. In the world of BLUR, work and home become one; consumers sell and sellers buy; workers become entrepreneurs selling their skills temporarily to the highest bidder and then moving on; competitors cooperate. The only certainty is uncertainty, but if economies, companies, and individuals embrace this uncertainty, and think creatively about and within it, they will prosper. The authors are on to something here; they've seemingly caught the Zeitgeist. Yet in their enthusiasm they may overstate just how BLURred (as they say) the economy actually is. Yes, Nike sells image, but somebody is making those expensive sneakers, and they are not to be heard from here. Consumers sell information back to producers, which they in turn use to improve what they sell, but does that fundamentally change patterns of concentrated economic control? And while we can buy groceries over the Internet, how many people do? (The book is devoid of statistical or quantitative analysis.) As a guide to surviving in the new business world, this is most intriguing and entertaining. As a careful analysis of what's really going on, it falls short. (illustrations, not seen) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Capstone Publishing Ltd; 2nd edition (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841120820
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841120829
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,656,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Carson P. Lysik on November 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
A book written about how changes in technology affect the way business is conducted, BLUR attempts to open the eyes of stable organizations, identifying old business rules as being subject to immediate change in order to support a new economy.
Davis focuses much of his attention on the following formula. (Speed x Connection) = Intangible. This formula attempts to show that the traditional roles of buyers and sellers are changing with the introduction of technology. Speed implies that immediate access to a desired set of information is available at any time of the day. Through connection, Davis infers that real-time information is available from virtually anyplace in the world. His use of the word intangible relates to expanded knowledge about a particular item of interest. BLUR shows how these three areas effect the way business will be conducted in the future, and how the relationship between buyer and seller will ultimately differ from that of today. There are new rules regarding the connected economy, and instead of trying to fit those rules into current day practice, Davis suggests that businesses first must become aware of them and then second, try to adapt to them.
BLUR challenges the reader to question every basic business assumption held, and encourages businesses to implement new ideas. New ideas that might even contradict past experience, but its those new ideas that just might be the key to launching businesses forward instead of becoming stagnant in an advancing economy.
I believe many of the ideas presented in BLUR carry merit worthy of in-class discussion and would recommend it as optional reading material for future classes.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Naomi Moneypenny on February 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for a good fast read about the New Economy and a high level primer on what it means for you I would recommend Blur. Despite a few commercials in there for E&Y's services and the jargon of the 'blur' it is a solid read. Though it is not something that will help you stratgically change your business, sections on how employees will be valued in the future ring true and how companies will have to bend over backwards in the future to really serve the customer. This book is good to read if you want to get an idea of what will happen at a high level to society, people, working habits and business. Its also good to have around if you are thinking about your resume...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Timothy S. Cahill ( on June 24, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Blur is literary junk food. Reading the book, you must endure a 'Wired' magazine attitude, i.e., your only chance to attain hipdom and cool, and, of course, business acumen, is if you embrace the terribly simplified and exaggerated message found in its pages. Now, this book does point out much that is true, and as a minor 1990's milestone, confirms that we're on the path laid out succinctly in Alvin Toffler's "Future Shock".
There are certainly many thought provoking issues raised by this book. It is just too bad the authors did not bother to think any further about those issues beyond a mention or suggestion. Far too many important and cautionary subjects are brought up only to be swept past by a testosterone and adrenaline fueled hype-fest.
For example: we are to accept the proposition that by virtue of the increasing compression of geography afforded by modern technology, distance is becoming a negligible issue. Yes, there are obvious advantages to teleconferencing, electronic funds transfer, and the Internet. Yet the book says nothing about the continuing tyranny of time-zones. Lloyd in London may want to collaborate with Sam in San Francisco, but the Londoner must wait 'till the end of his GMT work day before Sam's PST workday begins. No matter how fast the communication links we string between distant points, distance presents impediments to the work people at opposite ends can accomplish together. Impediments that do not exist when people work in close proximity. In this case and many others the book fails to deal honestly with the disadvantages while extolling the advantages of the increasing "...speed of change in the connected economy".
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 4, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The premise is straightforward: Changes in technology are blurring traditional boundaries, transforming simple oppositions like product and service into a new synthesis. Blur applies this kaleidoscopic view of social and business changes to commerce, management and the flow of capital.
The approach is formulaic, but that's sort of the point. The Blur formula is right there on the table of contents: speed x connectivity x intangibles = blur. Well, all right. But hype x marketing opportunity x intangibles = blur, too, and that's pretty much what we've got. The authors open by asserting that Blur is much more than a book, and that belief seems to be the root of the problem. Changes in technology haven't blurred the bond between writer and reader. Davis and Meyer say they are trying to offer "an ongoing, organic exchange of opinions." I'd settle for a good book.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Brian L Woods, Pepperdine Student on January 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
BLUR refers to the mind-numbing speed at which things are happening. BLUR also refers to the increasingly changing and dual roles of individuals and organizations within larger systems. Three concepts are BLURing business: speed, connectivity and intangibles. The business world is changing at such a rapid pace that it gives rise to an even greater need to be connected to more people like suppliers, customers, and other partners. This forces companies to reevaluate the intangible benefits of the company's service/product. And all this is fueling an even greater need to shorten the product cycle or quickly identify new valued intangibles.
COME ON IN AN MAKE US AN OFFER...An offering according to Davis and Meyers means the ability to provide unique value to the products and services organizations offer. In a way, their definition mirrors the definition of technology. If we understand the basic definition of technology to be knowledge or a device to solve problems, our corporate or organizational missions should intensely focus on solving our customers' problems. Technology also underscores continual innovation which gives one technology an advantage over others.
Technology, once obsolete ceases to solve problems with respect to other available technologies and becomes abandoned. So, organizations must continually examine the services and products or face the same fate. Successful companies will find ways to efficiently and inexpensively add value by bundling services with products.
CAPITAL: BUT WAIT YOU ALSO GET...The conventional view of capital identifies assets that can be inventoried. BLUR reminds us that capital can also come in less tangible forms. In fact, Davis and Meyer identify several areas in which non-material capital can be classified.
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