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Alan G. Ampolsk RSS Feed (North Bethesda, MD USA)
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The Invisible Edge: Taking Your Strategy to the Next Level Using Intellectual Property
The Invisible Edge: Taking Your Strategy to the Next Level Using Intellectual Property
by Mark Blaxill
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $23.98
51 used & new from $7.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unusually substantive business book, July 24, 2009
The average business book is really a business article, padded out to book length via stings of anecdotes and repetition of the obvious. Not in this case. Blaxill and Eckardt have a substantive case to make - namely, that in the search for sustainable competitive advantage, most managers are looking in the wrong place. According to the authors, conventional management efforts - focused as they are on operational efficiencies and "best practices" - are bound to fail, because in an era of hypercompetition, traditional advantages can't be defended for any length of time.

Instead, they argue, intellectual property is the only key to lasting advantage - and IP strategy should be the chief focus of senior management's attention. To delegate IP to specialists from the legal and engineering camps is to fail.

Blaxill and Exckardt support the argument with extensive, detailed examples of companies that got their IP right and those that didn't, as well as policy decisions that strengthened or weakened IP positions. In particular the story of Xerox - effectively stripped of its IP in the '70s in a misguided government effort to ensure competitiveness. Overseas competitors thrived on the IP they were able to access, and Xerox never recovered. It's a cautionary tale for 21st-Century patent policy.

Blaxill and Eckardt are IP traditionalists - they favor strong protection. They're definitely not members of the Wickinomics/"information wants to be free" camps. There's a place for IP collaboration in their world, but it needs to be balanced against the recognition that too much sharing at the wrong time risks diluting a company's sole source of value. Not a fashionable viewpoint by any means, but one that needs and deserves to be heard.

For senior executives struggling to set strategic direction in challenging times... for policymakers who need to lay the foundations for a healthier, more competitive economy... and for investors who need a firmer basis than quarter-by-quarter financial performance to value their holdings... The Invisible Edge provides a worthwhile new lens. Recommended.


Henri Cartier-Bresson: City and Landscapes
Henri Cartier-Bresson: City and Landscapes
by Henri Cartier-Bresson
Edition: Hardcover
48 used & new from $41.18

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The "thick black surround", October 23, 2001
... the "thick black surround" ... is something Cartier-Bresson insisted on. It's present in nearly all of his original prints. It's the result of filing back the negative carrier to show a small amount of the film border surrounding the image, and signifies that the image hasn't been cropped. His "decisive moment" theory required that the image not be altered in any way -- that the whole photograph be created in the moment in which it was taken. There are a few instances in which his prints don't have the border, and that always indicates that he cropped, usually for some remedial reason. The famous "Behind the Gare St. Lazare" photo of the man jumping across the puddle is a case in point. The original negative (shown in John Loengard's "Celebrating the Negative") is blurred on the left side because C-B shot through an opening in a wooden fence, and some of it intruded. It's an exeception.
The border is easy to miss in framed C-B photographs because it's very thin (he wanted it to be unobtrusive, in contrast to the more modern fashion for a rough-edged, thick black border) and often runs right at the edge of the frame or the window mat. Some exhibitors mat over it. But it's almost always there.
As to the new book -- I agree that the print quality isn't up to the ultimate best, but it's not at all bad, and the collection pulls together some of C-B's work that isn't seen often. Pretty nicely done.


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