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The Gorilla Game: An Investor's Guide to Picking Winners in High Technology Hardcover – March 11, 1998

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Editorial Reviews Review

Finding the next Microsoft has been the Holy Grail for many investors. However, anyone who has dabbled in technology stocks can't help but be dismayed at their extreme volatility--it's not unusual for tech stocks to gain or lose 10 to 20 percent in a single day. So how can you win in this market and find the next Cisco, Intel, or Oracle? The key to winning, says bestselling author Geoffrey Moore, is to play the "gorilla game."

Moore's previous two books, Crossing the Chasm and Inside the Tornado, are the bibles for many marketing professionals and product managers. In these books, Moore describes the life cycle common to the successful adoption of technology products and pinpoints moments in the cycle, for example "the chasm," the "bowling alley," and the "tornado," where products can either flourish or fade away. In The Gorilla Game, Moore takes these concepts, with the help of coauthors Paul Johnson and Tom Kippola, applies them to finding gorilla stocks--stocks that dominate their market niche. The book looks at how the market values technology stocks and provides case studies of markets where gorillas have been born. Moore and his coauthors put their ideas to the test in the final chapter and pick a portfolio of stocks that they believe have the potential to become winners in the gorilla game. The result is a highly perceptive investment guide that anyone who's a fan of Moore's earlier work will find exciting and profitable. Highly recommended.

From Booklist

Each year at least one author comes out with a book touting investment opportunities in high-technology stocks. A recent example was Michael Murphy's Every Investor's Guide to High-Tech Stocks and Mutual Funds (1997). Moore's is the early entry this year. He is chairman of a Silicon Valley consulting firm that specializes in marketing strategy, and he has written two books about marketing high-tech products, Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers (1991) and Inside the Tornado: Marketing Strategies from Silicon Valley's Cutting Edge (1995). Here he turns his attention to the elements that turn companies into "gorillas," those firms that overwhelmingly dominate their markets, such as Microsoft and Cisco. With his marketing insights, Moore examines what it is small companies do to grow into gorillas; and he advises how to spot these companies before their stock prices soar. He uses Oracle and Cisco as case studies, and he suggests that two areas in which to search out future gorillas are the Internet and customer service software. David Rouse

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; 1 ed edition (March 11, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887308872
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887308871
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #710,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 27, 1998
Format: Hardcover
At first glance a high tech stock investment guide that relies critically on you being able to tell the difference between gorillas, monkeys and chimps appears unlikely to be a serious money maker. Yet if you had followed the investment philosophy outlined in Geoffrey Moore's Gorilla Game at the beginning of this decade, you could have turned $10,000 into a couple of million dollars.
The stock market has attracted no end of charlatans and snake oil salesmen with a plethora of advice on how to invest and grow rich, ranging from complex mathematical techniques such as chaos theory to fairly simple advice such as buy stocks in companies you know and like. In its simplest form, most of the advice boils down to "buy low, sell high." though it is usually couched in more cultured language such as "buy at the peak of a stock's dividend yield ratio, and sell at its trough."
Geoffrey Moore and his co-authors, Johnson and Kippola, have no use for such language. In a straight-forward and entertaining book, they outline how some high tech companies grow exponentially to dominate the segments in which they participate, how they become gorillas. Generally, the authors provided a lay-man's explanation of what has recently come to be known in economics as the Theory of Increasing Returns. Some of the high tech companies that best epitomize this theory are Microsoft, Intel, Cisco Systems and IBM in its heyday. These companies were able to get their proprietary architectures accepted as the standard (sometimes completely by luck), and they were smart enough to exploit this initial standardization and the high switching costs it entailed to gain market share rapidly and dominate their industries. These companies are the ones Moore calls Gorillas.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The book does a pretty good job demystifying high-tech industries, particularly from a competitive strategy point of view. This is a must read for at least three kinds of people: amature investors, high-tech investors who concentrate solely on financial statements (but know nothing about Michael Porter), and value investors who pick low pe stocks. This is an eye-opener particularly for traditional value investors: gorillas usually have the highest pe (or p/sales) of the industry, and yet they are the winners. The book is a little too long. The idea can be explained clearly and thoroughly in the equivalant of a journal article. Many of the materials are sugar-coated for unsophisticated investors. I think the book is overrated, but deserves a careful read.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Dave on February 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book has totally transformed my stock selection technique and resulted in a portfolio that is absolutely crushing the general market. I can not say enough about how highly I regard the information outlined in this book.
Which high-tech stocks win on Wall St and why? The book sets forth a framework in which investors can understand how to value one stock in comparison to another. After reading it the world of investing finally started to make sense. This book is useful for any person that is out to find the next Microsoft. Buy this book.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By J. Nalbach on March 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an active investor in tech stocks (information technology), I highly recommend this book to other investors who are already in tech stocks or are considering it. The book explains in laymans terms the dynamics of the technology marketplace . The information it provides will assist you in how to differenciate each tech company from another in regards to it's particular role in its market, and the investment strategy you should pursue (short/intermediate/long term). I liked the book so much, I'm ordering the cassette as well to wring every ounce of investment advice I can get out of it.
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Format: Hardcover
A popular pastime for the past 50 years (and possibly before that) has been to look at the stocks that would have made you the most money in the last 10 or 20 years and devise an investment approach to find the next ones going forward that will do as well or better. I have lost count of how many books I have read that have taken this approach.
I found the Gorilla Game to be refreshingly above the pack in this area. The authors do an excellent job of describing some of the ways that technologies get adopted, when the stocks do well (and when they don't), and when to buy and sell stocks in technology companies. They also devise a fairly detailed, somewhat risk-controlled investment process, and detail how it would have done in a number of case histories. From the backward-looking perspective, the book is solid.
The weakness of such backward looking methods shows up in their new material in the revised edition (1999) on the Internet. Although some aspects of their model apply to the Internet, many do not. They are left needing to vaguely explain how so much money was made so quickly in Internet stocks. Their explanation is actually pretty solid, but they never quite come out and say that their methodology will not get you all of the fast-growing stocks in technology.
They needed not be defensive. No methodology is perfect. The main weakness of this one is that is designed around semiconductors, software, and computers. The technology patterns can look a lot different in future technologies. For example, what will happen with companies like Gemstar that lead in new television technologies that could disrupt the Internet for direct marketing?
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