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ThinkPad: A Different Shade of Blue 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0672317569
ISBN-10: 0672317567
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

ThinkPad: A Different Shade of Blue tells the exciting inside story behind the creation of one of the most successful brand names in computing. Through interviews with the ThinkPad Team and IBM executives, and access to internal documents and memoranda, the book provides a rare inside view into the workings of an IBM brand team. Here is the inside scoop on the cultural and personality differences that almost killed one of the most significant development efforts in IBM history. More importantly, it offers valuable lessons on what it takes to build a world-class, enduring brand or product.

About the Author

J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D is the President of Mobile Insights, Inc. , a professional services firm. Dr. Purdy has focused on mobile products and markets since 1986, and is a recognized authority in the mobile computing industry. He is often quoted in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, PC Week, InfoWorld and the New York Times. As a mobile computing consultant, Dr. Purdy has given insight and advice to clients such as 3Com, Apple, AT&T, Compaq, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Microsoft, NEC, Motorola, and Toshiba. Dr. Purdy is a member of the IBM Mobile Computing Industry Advisory Council, Dell Industry Advisory Council, AT&T wireless Analysts Council, and the NEC Analysis Exchange. Debi Dell has participated in many of IBM's ventures into the personal computing market during her 18 year career, and has developed and implemented Worldwide branding programs for a variety of IBM hardware and software products. As an original member of the ThinkPad Team, Debi conducted global marketing research and focus groups, to create the ThinkPad customer experience. She is currently the IBM U.S. Nation Practice Leader developing IBM Global Services for the growing mobile and wireless market.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 502 pages
  • Publisher: Sams; 1st edition (September 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672317567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672317569
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,047,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Rarely, if ever, do we see such a good example of what it takes to break the mold and create a new brand in a large company. This book provides several "object lessons" on how a high-level executive's vision and some talented managers with adequate authority and resources can make something happen that changes everything. While it was slow going in the beginning (both the book and the project), once the key players are in position, the vision takes shape and the team rises to the challenge, I found this to be an absorbing look behind the scenes. Both the technology and the politics were difficult, and there were numerous "moments of truth" which solidified elements critical to the team's ultimate success: clear focus, good people and commitment to deliver.
Thinkpad shows how a small team with a mandate can buck the bureaucracy and shine. It clearly wasn't easy getting the Thinkpad off the ground, but anyone interested in finding a niche for their project should find some insights to adopt as their own. I would assign the chapter on "Influencing the Influencers" to any new manager on an innovative team: it's an excellent case study of building support both inside and outside your group which has paid dividends for years.
Continuing to get it right after the product's initial success seems to be the most difficult challenge of all. Judging from the continuing good reviews of the most recent models, it looks like the Thinkpad team has learned just that.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a great story about an $80+ billion company that could not compete with competitors and consciously decided to do something about it. It's about how having a clear vision, putting great people in place, fostering innovation, developing a strong brand, and listening to the customer DO come together to create success! It's how big companies DO stifle creativity and how you have to stand up to overcome it. It's about cool technology. Most importantly it's about people. You'll read about a jelly donut maker and a typewriter salesman who went on the manage the biggest brand within IBM. It's a blueprint for success!
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Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book on what is required to develop a business in a large corporate enterprise. This book illustrates some of the political and business issues a team developing a new business may face that a small company may not have to deal with. I found the writting redundant at times but each chapter stood on its own and didn't depend on you having to read other sections which could make this an excellent text book on branding.
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Format: Hardcover
A fascinating technology success story. Told in detail with plenty of first-hand anecdotal material. Too much, unfortunately. Coupled with a sometimes dry almost academic style -- complete with footnotes. By chapter 20 I was asking "Are we there yet?" Sadly not. There are 31 chapters in all. Possibily the definitive biography of IBM's development and management of the ThinkPad brand. The Foreword -- The Seven Qualities of Enduring Brands -- is penned by Thomas J Kosnik. Each chapter ends with one or more paragraphs headed "The Authors' Insights". These largely seek to draw us back to the successful-brand-management aspects of the Foreword. A mechanism that fell flat for me. Too many of the insights are rather trite. And what is the entire book if not a presentation of the facts wrapped in the authors' insights? That said, individuals involved in the project are quoted liberally -- often across multiple paragraphs. The problem here is that if one is not paying attention it isn't obvious who exactly is saying "I finally realised" or something similar deep into the quoted portion.
On the plus side: I stuck it out to the end although I read it purely out of interest -- I am a gadgets person but I'm a Business Analyst. If product development or brand-building is your thing, there is plenty of detail here -- from a member of the original team.
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