Geoffrey Moore's first two books, Crossing the Chasm
and Inside the Tornado
, were gospel to a generation of high-tech managers. The challenge those books addressed was how to market and sell according to what he called the "Technology Adoption Life Cycle." In Living on the Fault Line
, Moore takes his message to a very different group of execs, those who have never had to worry about marketing technology but who now face the biggest and most disruptive technology life cycle of all--the Internet.
Moore contends the Internet has changed everything, and he means it. As many companies are now discovering, market share is worth more than earnings; virtual integration trumps vertical integration; and the IT department, once relegated to a stuffy back office, is no longer "about the business--it is the business." The best proxy of a company's success? Try its stock price. Moore writes, "Stock price is in effect an information system about competitive advantage, it can help you sort through which markets to attack, which strategies to pursue, which partners to endorse, and which tactics to execute.... Capital, in other words, flows to competitive advantage and abandons competitive disadvantage."
For some, Moore's prescriptions may seem over the top. But those grappling for a handhold on the Internet economy will find much to ponder here. For example, managers faced with a scarcity of time and resources will find his analysis of core and context a powerful prism to manage by. He defines "core" as activities that differentiate a company in the marketplace and thereby drive its stock price. "Context" is simply everything else the company already does. His suggestion: assign your best people to the core and outsource as much of the context as possible.
If you've enjoyed Moore's previous work, you'll find Living on the Fault Line a must. If you've never read Moore before, get this on your bookshelf before your competition does. Engaging and highly readable, this one's a keeper. --Harry C. Edwards
From Publishers Weekly
Readers looking for "how to" advice, specific examples or more than introductory thinking about how to use a company's stock price as a management lever are bound to come away from this uninspired book disappointed. A consultant and venture capitalist, Moore (Crossing the Chasm; Inside the Tornado) begins by explaining why companies must focus on what they do best-but the concept of "core competencies" has been around for almost a decade. He then goes on to say shareholders reward firms that have a clear competitive advantage in the marketplace. But that idea's probably been around as long as stock markets themselves. The key to gaining that advantage today, Moore argues, is embracing the right technology. Only how can you tell which is the right one? Clearly, Sony thought it was on the right track when it created Beta, only to lose out to the VHS technology that governs most VCRs today, and the thousands of failed software companies dotting Silicon Valley must have thought they were on the right path when they opened their doors. What do all the failures have in common? Moore provides little in the way of answers. He concludes, again as others have before, by suggesting that companies must change their management styles as their core technology matures. But the point would be more telling if he had provided detailed examples of firms that have done that well and those that haven't. Only readers looking for an initial grounding in this area need apply. 6-city author tour; 15-city NPR radio campaign. (June)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.