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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2000
When I read this book, it was as if I had discovered fire. It simply changed my relationship with the world of marketing because it gave method and purpose to many of the tactics that I had been watching develop since the integration of personal computers and networks in corporate operations. Looking back in 2000, over three years since the publication of "Real Time", it's easy to treat this volume of insightful marketing counsel as "nothing new." I can remember reading it intently in 1997, however, scribbling in the margins, highlighting the text, and coming away with dozens of ways to solidify the structural bonds between my company and customers. These bonds are the ones that are the most stable and produce the highest loyalty in a customer base. The fact that Regis outlines a technical infrastructure that has become commonplace only serves to reinforce his reputation as one of the modern oracles of marketing. Between this book and "Relationship Marketing," McKenna has done more to codify the essential mechanics of modern marketing that any other author, in my view.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Real Time is a tremendous help in understanding that technology, speed, and customer satisfaction have brought a world where action and reaction are concurrent, and sequential actions outdated. Sequential actions are of the modern, 20th century age. Concurrent actions are of the postmodern, 21st century age.
It is a welcome addition to the collection of books that help us think about how our systems have to change in response to technology and speed. As a relatively short book it is a good one to give to people who need a basic understanding of the concepts, but do not need to know all the details.
It also adds to the collection of books that help us rethink our approach to customer service in terms of the use of technology and the speed of response. It helps raise the bar on how we provide solutions to our customers, and not just fixes.
It presses all organizations to anticipate future leaps in technology and relationships so that they are prepared to respond to new needs expressed by many of their customers. At the same time it forces organizations to think about whether they will run on two tracks or one track. The two tracks would be to run with people who demand real time and with people who do not see or participate in the real time transformation. Many organizations need to be prepared to run on one track and leave behind--for mediocre organizations--those customers who do not get it, understand real time, or go digital.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 1999
I am a Doctoral student in Management. I read this book with lot of expectation. But, Mr. McKenna has let me down. All that has been said has happened - the book fails to give any new insight nor does it give any model for future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 1997
Regis McKenna is one of my favorite authors. This book however seems to be just a subset of "Enterprise One-To-One" with almost nothing new. And while "Real Time" is full of websites to related material, I could find no mention of "One-To-One" -- the most related work to this one.

I expect no mention of "One-To-One" was intentional. I read all the books I can on this topic and this work in not worthy of Mr. McKenna or the Harvard Business School Press.

This book makes me think of a review I read while in Grad school about a new philosophy book. The reviewer said: "This book has much that is original and much that is good. However, what is new is not good and what is original in not new."

Read the "One-To-One" Books first
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Edit of 22 Dec 07 to add links.

Below is my review as planned before reading all the negative reviews....everyone brings their own baggage to any book. Following this short review, which was originally written for national intelligence professionals, I have added an addendum with a specific experience in France that illustrates why this book is valuable to anyone willing to take the time to reflect on its fundamentals.

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This may be one of the top three books I've read in the last couple of years. It is simply packed with insights that are applicable to both the classified intelligence community as well as the larger national information community. The following is a tiny taste from this very deep pool: "Instead of fruitlessly trying to predict the future course of a competitive or market trend, customer behavior or demand, managers should be trying to find and deploy all the tools that will enable them, in some sense, to be ever-present, ever-vigilant, and ever-ready in the brave new marketplace in gestation, where information and knowledge are ceaselessly exchanged."

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ADDENDUM: In coming to post the above review I noted a number of negative reviews along the lines of "so 1970's", "no new ideas", etc. Naturally any book is going to strike people with different levels of intelligence and experience differently. Our advice to intelligence professionals and managers at any level is to dismiss those other opinions, spend $20 and 1-2 hours with this book, and judge for yourself. Among many reasons why we found this book meaningful, given our focus on global coverage, weak signals, and being effective in 29+ languages, is the following experience:

In 1994, attending the French national conference on information, we heard one of the leaders of the French steel industry discussing a multi-million dollar business intelligence endeavor (in France this includes business espionage and government espionage in support of business) against steel industries around the world. The punch line, however, was stunning. At the end of it all, he said, they failed because they focused only on the steel industry. In the end, the plastics industry ate their lunch because it was able to develop very good plastic substitutes for automobile parts, including automobile under-carriage parts, and this hurt the French steel industry badly. It was from this occasion that we crafted Rule 003 (Book 2, Chapter 15) on the importance of Global Coverage, whose sub-title could be "cast a wide net." McKenna has the basics right.

Fast forward to:
The Age of Speed: Learning to Thrive in a More-Faster-Now World
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This may be one of the top three books I've read in the last couple of years. It is simply packed with insights that are applicable to both the classified intelligence community as well as the larger national information community. The following is a tiny taste from this very deep pool: "Instead of fruitlessly trying to predict the future course of a competitive or market trend, customer behavior or demand, managers should be trying to find and deploy all the tools that will enable them, in some sense, to be ever-present, ever-vigilant, and ever-ready in the brave new marketplace in gestation, where information and knowledge are ceaselessly exchanged."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 1998
With praise from the likes of the CEO of Netscape and Jerry "Yahoo!" Yang, I expected something profound. However, I found this book to be worse than Tapscott's "Digital Economy." Tell us something we don't know! This book is a little too late but those who are a little too late may find this book a revelation. It is easier to digest compared to "The digital economy"

I also found the URLs after each company mentioned unnecessary. (Perhaps to reinforce the fact that everyone has a Web site?) The URLs are general addresses and do not point to a specific page to support the writer's claims.

Pass this one up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The author does an excellent job of pointing out the opportunities that today's technology offers companies, retail and business to business, alike. He also makes a strong case for "either you go with the technology or fall by the wayside." Today's buyers will not wait. They have become used to the Amazon.com way of doing business and expect it no matter from whom they are buying. Before saying "yeah, I already know that." read the book and find out what you don't know. He has several eye openers in there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 1997
Unfortunately, Regis McKenna has graduated from the Nicholas Negroponte School of Authors With Only The Obvious To Say.

Real Time is the first book he has written since graduating at the top of Nick's class. It's a colossal disappointment for anyone seeking more than a cursory feel for what is happening in this subject.

Rather than buy this book, venture on the net and waste three hours surfing without a purpose. You'll learn and experience more than getting between the covers with Mr. McKenna
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 1999
I read the entire book and came away with no new insight, as contrasted with what I have found in other HBS Press books. The material is surprisingly pedestrian! The bottom line is that if you are not investing for real-time operations, you should be because of the changing technology landscape. If you did not know that already, or you do not know that speedy response to customers is important, then perhaps the book will be of some value to you. For me, there was not one thing in there that has not already been covered extensively elsewhere, sometimes a long time ago. I agree with the writer from India.
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