The Art of ‘Ware

Via Marc Orchant comes notice of a nice compilation by Bruce Webster on adaptive strategy (making) based on the principles laid out in Sun Tzu’s Art of War. While leveraging vocabulary and examples from the software industry, I think that the thoughts are valid in a variety of contexts. Find the +100-page pdf at Websters blog.

This promises to be an interesting read for anyone interested in strategic innovation and business model innovation, take this quote from the introduction:

It is a cliché to say that we live in times of turmoil and upheaval, but that makes it no less true. Over the past 15-20 years, our national and global economies have been undergoing a sea change into something that we do not, I think, fully understand even now. The process of this transformation is neither easily managed nor soon ended. At the forefront are the technology-driven markets: electronics (including computer technology), software, telecommunications, biotechnology, information and entertainment — the so-called convergence industries. Technology churn causes these industries and companies to reinvent themselves every two to five years. The pace has quickened since the commercial and household emergence of the first new information utility in half a century: the Internet, with its public face, the World Wide Web. And through all this, the distance from the leading edge of technology back to its trailing edge continues to shrink.

Too many good ideas, good products, good technologies die or waste away because the companies involved — especially the small startups — don’t know how to carve out and defend a chunk of the market in which to survive and from which to expand. This book, The Art of ‘Ware, is intended as a survival guide for such firms. While ostensibly written for entrepreneurs, CEOs and company presidents, I would hope that it has value for company employees at all levels, as well as for investors, consultants and analysts. By understanding the principles given here, you increase your value to the firm(s) with which you are associated. By applying these principles, you increase the likelihood of survival for both your company and your job. Failure to do so can mean failure indeed.

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