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Smart or Lucky: How Technology Leaders Turn Chance into Success Hardcover – May 24, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (May 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470891424
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470891421
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,332,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Smart or Lucky? takes you on a fun ride through the information technology industry. Judith Hurwitz brings together a wealth of personal experience..." --Steve Mills, Senior Vice President and Group Executive, Software & Systems, IBM

"Hurwitz deftly dissects dozens of winners and losers in the constantly churning tech industry, and offers concrete advice for entrepreneurs wanting to achieve and sustain success." --Don Tapscott, author, Wikinomics and Macrowikinomics

"Judith Hurwitz is known for her talent at anticipating technology trends--and communicating their importance to business leaders. She's done it again." --Marc Benioff, Chairman & CEO, salesforce.com and author, Behind the Cloud

"Want to create a revolution, empire, industry standard? Read this book. It provides the formula for smarts + luck." --Christine Comaford, CEO Coach and author of Rules for Renegades

Judith provides valuable lessons on building sustainable technology companies and reminds us that initial spectacular market opportunities and brilliant execution are just table stakes --Ann Winblad, Managing Director, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners

From the Back Cover

To be successful in any highly competitive market, you have to be smart, but you also have to be lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time. And you have to be smart enough to realize which you are.

Using her insider experiences with hundreds of successful and failed technology companies over three decades, two bubbles, and one burst, Judith Hurwitz shows how the most successful entrepreneurs understand the value of the combination of luck and smarts—and make it work for them. Those who fail are the ones who may be lucky but get complacent, believe they're the smartest players in the market, or fail to make the changes needed to sustain leadership.

Smart or Lucky? is for business leaders who are interested in learning what it takes to be successful in emerging markets and how to sustain success over the long term. It shows entrepreneurs how to recognize a lucky break and have the foresight to take advantage of it. Brimming with real-world lessons based on well-tested principles, this groundbreaking book explores why lightning doesn’t strike twice; how to supplant market leaders; how to walk away from legacy products; how to avoid lemming-like conformity; why promising technologies fail; how to gain, win, and retain customers; and how floundering companies can come back from  near-death experiences.

Informative and highly detailed, Smart or Lucky? is a key resource for all business leaders and emerging entrepreneurs who want to understand how to stay nimble and succeed in complicated, competitive markets.


More About the Author

Judith S. Hurwitz is President and CEO of Hurwitz & Associates, Inc., a strategy consulting and research firm focused on the business value of emerging computing technologies. She is a published author and a renowned industry pundit providing strategic direction and industry insight to many of the major technology players. Hurwitz is known as a no-holds barred consultant who tells it like it is - whether that means telling an executive of a Fortune 500 software company that their strategy is lame or predicting the success or failure of a company coming out of left field. Because of her candor, she has been highly sought after for her insights and ability to provide strategic guidance. In 1996 BusinessWeek Magazine named her as one of the top 100 women in the computer industry; in 1997 she was named one of the top 100 intriguing women by Boston Magazine. Hurwitz was named a distinguished alumnus Boston University's College of Arts & Sciences in 2005 and is also a recipient of the 2005 Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council award. Hurwitz holds a BS and MS degrees from Boston University and serves on several advisory boards of emerging companies and has started three consulting firms over the past 18 years. Along with her team at Hurwitz & Associates, she has authored several books in the Dummies series including: Cloud Computing for Dummies, Service Oriented Architecture for Dummies, and Service Management for Dummies. She also writes a popular technology blog - Judith Hurwitz's Cloud-Centric Weblog, and has published hundreds of articles and reports covering the computer industry.


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Judith's book is a delight to read.
Rachel Blankstein
Judith Hurwitz brings clear writing and intelligence to the task of defining participation in technology markets.
susan eustis
This book is chock full of insights, practical information, and AhHa!
K. Allison

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kim Patrick Kobza on May 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Judith Hurwitz provides unique practical insights into success (and failure) in the last 40 years of the technology industry. She has experienced the industry from many vantage points - first as a journalist, and second as one of the industry's most respected, and objective analysts. I believe that Hurwitz has also served on several boards and has been intimately familiar with how technology companies make their BIG decisions.

I started reading Smart and Lucky with no expectations, but found it to be tremendously helpful in creating context as to why some companies succeed while others have failed. With the massive disruption taking place in business models within and without the technology industry, Smart and Lucky is timely. It will help many technology executives to navigate change. From putting "cloud" "mobile" and "social" into perspective, to creating contrast between old and new, "Smart and Lucky" nails it. We are having our entire management team read it to create a framework for strategic reference.

You could repeat the mistakes made by some of the companies in the case studies. Or you can read the book. My suggestion - read the book. There aren't many that I put on the required reading list, but Smart and Lucky is on mine.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marcia Kaufman on June 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Smart or Lucky? is a real gem of business book! Each of the ten chapters tells a compelling story about the rise (and occasional rapid demise) of some of the most innovative technology companies of the past 30 years. Judith Hurwitz was a consultant to many of the technology companies in this book and witnessed their adventurous ride to success first hand. Her insight into the various styles of management decision at these companies makes this book compelling and fun to read. The book is chock full of well-crafted stories about how smart technology leaders have capitalized on great technology and taken advantage of the luck of being in the right place at the right time to build profitable and powerful businesses. Judith does an amazing job of identifying the patterns of success and failure in these company experiences and highlighting the most valuable lessons learned. One of the most important reasons to read this book is to learn what happens when business leaders believe too much in their own marketing messages, when they stop listening to their customer needs, and when they forget the role that a little bit of luck played in catapulting their company on its rapid rise in the market.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By susan eustis on June 6, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Judith Hurwitz brings clear writing and intelligence to the task of defining participation in technology markets. The core theme of the book: do not over engineer your products, make them simple and compelling is central to understanding markets and market innovation. Customers want simple to use technology, technology that is available and responsive to current needs. Listen to customers is the theme of the book, but this is not simple to achieve and Judith lays out a valuable road-map - required, enjoyable reading for all. The book provides compelling insight for those wanting to build a viable modern business.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Koala on March 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I was ready to give this book a three or four, that was until Chapter 7. Then, one less star for each subsequent chapter. The first six chapters have enough feel good, high level business half-truths to make it an easy and entertaining read. I was even inspired.

Chapter 7 gave the game away.

It was clear the author doesn’t have deep knowledge in many of the topics. They were not different point of views, misinterpretations or minor inaccuracies. In many cases, the material demonstrated a clear lack of knowledge of the subject matter. Some may excuse it by pointing this isn’t a book for technical audience. Unfortunately, no such luck. Many of the discussions are part of the tech industry collective knowledge and lexicon, far from the hard core technical stuff. Any casual home PC magazine readers, weekend tech support warriors, or half decent graduates would have known.

Some examples from Chapter 7-10.

1. Not knowing the difference between Open System and Open Source.

Open Systems is about interoperability, allowing diverse and competing vendors (big and small) to create products that work/talk to one another. Vendors could and often did, create “closed” systems for their own products. As long as they all agree to use a common language (eg. drive on the right side), then all should be fine. TCP/IP is the best example of the benefits of Open Systems. The author thinks open system = open source, free and flexible...blah, blah, but no market, ....etc.

Open Source is a whole different ball game.

Clearly very limited understanding of what Open Systems is.

2. Eleven pages on why Client/Server is a failed technology. Somehow the author got the idea that Client/Server was a “graphical development approach”.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Blankstein on June 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a brilliant book written by Judith Hurwitz. She has such a wealth of knowledge of the evolution of the technology industry. Her premise "Smart or Lucky" can be extended of course to any industry. This is an interesting read for anyone thinking about business strategy or anyone that is fascinated by the successes and failures of some of the technology companies we have all heard about. Also, anyone interested in learning more about the hi-tech sector would benefit from reading this book. Judith's book is a delight to read.
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