Open by Rod Canion is a riveting story for anyone interested in starting a tech company, anyone interested in the history of personal computing, and anyone interested in corporate strategy. It provides a case study about how a startup company can successfully compete against a much more well-established, and well-funded industry leader (in this case, IBM).
The book takes you through the journey of how 3 entrepreneurs took a leap of faith in leaving their corporation positions at Texas Instruments to start their own company, even though they didn't know exactly what their new products would be. The journey to success was far from guaranteed, and the book tells the story of the key defining moments and decisions in the early life of Compaq, that were make-or-break for the company.
The lessons learned of identifying unmet customers needs and then developing a marketing and product strategy based on excellence in innovation and speed of execution are applicable to nearly any company and industry today.
The book concludes with a chapter about the parallels between the Apple of today versus IBM of the past. IBM was as dominant and respected in the early 1980's as Apple is today. Yet, Apple's strategy of focusing on a closed, proprietary technology platform, is already being challenged by Google's open Android operating system. Time will only tell, but history may repeat itself, and the open industry standards may win out again in the current smartphone and tablet wars. The book's lessons from the past are insightful toward the future of computing.
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