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4.8 out of 5 stars
A Unique One-Time Opportunity
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I wrote this book.
More to the point, I wove this book together using dozens of individual threads, the voices of more than 50 EDSers who created something far greater than "a solution set" or "a value proposition." They created a culture that endures to this day, bonds that are grappled with hoops of steel. Decades ago, these men and women pioneered the concept of outsourcing, a dirty word in the current political matrix but an inspired idea in its original format. Yet, as Stephen McClellan, one of Wall Street's best known analysts, points out, when EDS pioneered this concept in 1969, "outsourcing didn't exist."
By pairing IBM's best hardware to software they wrote themselves and simultaneously developing best-in-class business process flow, EDSers were able to rein in two of the most ungainly programs ever unleashed by Uncle Sam: Medicare and Medicaid. The end result was that EDS, a tiny speck of a company, quickly became the dominant player in a field that still perplexes our nation: health care data processing.
The political junkie in me encourages you to read this book. So does the student of modern American history. Unlike many other books that come to market, this one is not about a man's singular vision. And, despite the fact that EDS's systems revolutionized health care data processing, it is not solely focused on a game changer, be it a good or a service.
It's about a culture that was created by a group of individuals who overcame astounding obstacles with limited resources. Or, as one EDSer put it, it's about "playing way over your head."
And the five stars I give this book? They go to each and every one of you who shared your time, your insights, and your enthusiasm. Thank you.
/s/ Eric O'Keefe
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
Eric O'Keefe in a well-written and meticulously researched book has
captured the time and spirit of EDS, a company that created an industry and dominated that industry
with a culture and esprit de corps that remained unmatched.

A joy to read. Many smiles. Leadership lessons on every page.

Enjoy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
In 1969 a small group of EDS women and men got a huge opportunity to design, program, install and operate an enormous computer and clerical system for Blue Cross Blue Shield of TX. This successful project and those that followed created a breakout company named EDS. This story is about a view of what happend as well as how it was so successful against all odds. I was one of many who worked in EDS during these exciting days. It was the dawn of IT services and we created new IP and techniques of management every day. Hold on once you start reading it.
Eric O'Keefe did a masterful job of translating the over 50 interviews into a story that flows smoothly through some complicated and stressful territory.
Morton Meyerson
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
A wonderful story showing how a group of very ordinary people were able to accomplish extra ordinary results. It is amazine what you can accomplish if you don't worry about who gets the credit. The author has effectly captured how this group of people were not only colleagues at work, but became close friends for life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Being of the industry that Ross Perot, Mort Meyerson and a very select group of others defined and then dominated for years, I may be biased, but I loved the story. I never worked for or with EDS, but did compete against them in the marketplace while at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture,) and SHL Systemhouse. The author is very successful with capturing and relating each individual's perspective on the experience, while making you feel their common bond around values, mission and purpose - stewardship of the business in the interest of their customers and people. It is very clear to me that all those who entered this market later, including Andersen and IBM, modeled their core strategies around recruiting, culture and training after EDS. Even the use of SI & Outsourcing project related metaphors like "death march," likely originated there. The stories around creating contracts on the fly are amazing given the world we operate in today. I recall hearing the phrase "We are captains of industry!" floated around some joint industry meetings at one time. When I put that comment in context with this story, it is clear to me that Ross, Mort and the EDS Leadership Team "Defined and Captained" the industry for years, and the rest of the firms merely had an opportunity to "draft along" in their wake:-)

I also found the personal anecdote pages to be particularly insightful at times, and at others simply entertaining. The ones from spouses highlight the shared sacrifice that occurs in these situations.

It's a good thing an initiative was mobilized to memorialize this unique moment in time. This is a story that should not be lost. Congratulations to the author for successfully herding a lot of cats!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
If you want to know what it takes to stake out territory at the intersection of business and technology and create an industry that hadn't existed, read A Unique One-time Opportunity, based on interviews with more than 50 people who formed the creative and management team at EDS. Started by former star IBM salesman Ross Perot in 1962, EDS captured what was then the burgeoning field of health care data processing and, among other things, created the first outsourcing contract. By 1970, EDS had grown to 2,000 employees and revenues greater than IBM's. Eric O'Keefe had the enviable task of mining the memories of the team, led by Perot, Mort Meyerson, Mitch Hart, and Tom Walter, that created and oversaw this tremendous growth. Skillfully weaving reminisces and extensive interviews, through the deft use of quotes, O'Keefe conveys not only the hard, gritty work and the personal and professional challenges they faced and conquered, but also the fact that they look back on those tough EDS years as perhaps the most thrilling of their professional lives. Today's dotcom-ers have nothing on this bunch! Very well conceived, well written, readable, and informative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
A great story about a group of fine, fine people, perhaps the best in business, accomplishing huge tasks and objectives for a fledgling company, EDS. The best and warmest parts were the stories of those folks and in particular their quotes. I belonged to two great units in my lifetime, The Marine Corps and EDS. Both had the best people; both were well led; and both became families. I made friends for life in both. My only regret about this book is that it was not the entire history of EDS, which has now disappeared from the business landscape. There are so many other people, not mentioned in the book, that spent time away from home and family on one "death march" after another, building a helleva company. Mort, you should have taken it to the hoop..gone the distance. WFL
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book gives the true story of how a small group of people thought of , developed and refined outsourcing before the term became popular. It tells the tale in very personal terms by interviewing the participants and weaving their personal stories into the fabric of the corporate story. A great read for those who would like to know how EDS became a success in spite of it's small size and lack of experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Many, many thanks to Mort Meyerson for organizing the effort to capture the story of the early history of the one-time-unique-opportunity that EDS was at the time. Enormous creativity was used time and again to create an entirely new concept of business in the Information Technology field in a very compact time.

The growth of the individuals I had the pleasure of working with during these years was equally incredible. The relationships we created with our customers in those years was so strong that I still receive fond notes every year during the holidays from several.

Everyone who worked at EDS or any of its customers during the late 1960's and even afterword would enjoy reading it.

Thank you very much also, Eric O'Keefe, for your capture not only the business story (which you analyzed very well), but also the personal stories that meant just as much. Your meshing of these two aspects of the story, together with your liberal use of quotes from you interviews, made the book very readable and memorable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
My husband and I worked for EDS for many years. It was a first hand account of many of the stories that we had heard of the earliest EDS days and the people that made it all happen. It is a great story for those wondering how "outsourcing" came to be, but it does not cover the entire history of the company so you should not expect that.
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