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Blur: The Speed of Change in the Connected Economy Paperback – April 1, 1999
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How do you see the world clearly when it's changing too fast for most of us to comprehend? Actor Jay Gregory's smooth, calming narration of Blur makes the blurring lines between production and service seem as simple and logical as a tape measure. This is an age in which you don't just sell a product to a customer, you have to be prepared to sell him an upgrade in six months. In other words, no product is ever the end product. Gregory makes this sound reassuring rather than frightening. If you're in business, you've got a blueprint for success. If you're an investor, this is the roadmap to the companies best equipped to profit off the rapid-fire economic shifts. (Running time: three hours, two cassettes) --Lou Schuler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
A feel-good guide to doing business in the post-industrial age. A new economy is emerging, say the authors, every bit as world-changing as that created by the Industrial Revolution, and they call this new economy BLUR. Its characterized by Speed, Intangibles, and Connectivity. Speed is the shrinkage of time through near-instantaneous communication and computation. Connectivity is the shrinkage of space with the advent of the Web, E-mail, beepers, and other media of communication. Intangibles are values without mass, most importantly knowledge and its mobility, made possible through Speed and Connectivity. Throw away your business economic texts, say Davis and Meyerthe world of BLUR makes them obsolete. Companies prosper by not owning vast amounts of productive capacity. Nike, for instance, is a sort of Seinfeld of the business world, making nothing, but prospers by selling image and design. In the world of BLUR, work and home become one; consumers sell and sellers buy; workers become entrepreneurs selling their skills temporarily to the highest bidder and then moving on; competitors cooperate. The only certainty is uncertainty, but if economies, companies, and individuals embrace this uncertainty, and think creatively about and within it, they will prosper. The authors are on to something here; they've seemingly caught the Zeitgeist. Yet in their enthusiasm they may overstate just how BLURred (as they say) the economy actually is. Yes, Nike sells image, but somebody is making those expensive sneakers, and they are not to be heard from here. Consumers sell information back to producers, which they in turn use to improve what they sell, but does that fundamentally change patterns of concentrated economic control? And while we can buy groceries over the Internet, how many people do? (The book is devoid of statistical or quantitative analysis.) As a guide to surviving in the new business world, this is most intriguing and entertaining. As a careful analysis of what's really going on, it falls short. (illustrations, not seen) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book does illustrate how fast technology changes and how rapidly we have evolved in such a short time. In that respect its concept of 'Blur' rings true yet I wouldn't recommend it highly to people looking to gain and insight into where technology is heading.
In summary this book is now probably more about history than the future. The world has changed and many of the concepts delivered by the book are now mainstream and perhaps in some respects antiquated. For this reason I can't recommend it to people looking to gain insight into the continuing digital revolution yet it does hold some interest when seeking to examine what was predicted and what eventuated.
Unfortunately, evolution not revolution is not the order of the day. In April 1999, it might seem obvious that the New economy was here to stay, and you either got with the program, or were left in the dust. Here in January 2001, alas, the old world is back and the new economy is left battered, with 2000 being one of the worst years for the market as suddenly the discovery was made that even if you were making a new world, it had to be paid for.
Which isn't to say that Blur is an invalid book. The world did really change in the last few years. It just didn't change as fast as the authors of the book would like. The current market has the old economy picking what it likes from the wreckage of the new, and implementing the fundamental changes of the new into itself. Of course, a few titans have risen and shrugged off the drop - well enough to survive anyway - and will soon take their place as stalwarts of the market.
I'd recommend reading this book, subtracting some of the enthusiasism and applying the lessons as you see fit.
It seems certain to me that counting on a company to take care of you for a career is a bad idea, and people will be balancing work at home and home at work for the forseeable future.
I think the concept of everyone doing an IPO for the futurized earnings potential is a bit too visionary. David Bowie has established himself. Most other people haven't. The concept, though, of why one might invest in the aggregate of the careers of a group of people (buying stock in a company, that is), while not investing individuals in an interesting one to think about. At a guess, it's a balance of risk and knowledge.
There are many other things that are worth thinking about in this novel. Just remember that the economic environment that spawned it took a hard downturn, which doesn't invalidate the vision, but reality can do that.