Monthly Bookmarks –
145th Edition – June 27, 2022
If the rise and fall of BlackBerry teaches us anything it is that the race for innovation has no finish line, and that winners and losers can change places in an instant.Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff, Losing the Signal
1. What Happened to Blackberry?
You may recall that Research in Motion (RIM) was the company behind the Blackberry phone.
In 2008, their stock price peaked at more than $147/share. The following year, the price dipped under $42/share. By 2014, the price fell under $10/share. Earlier this year, the company stopped supporting its phones entirely. What happened?
Perhaps Blackberry Playbook, RIM’s first tablet to hit the market gives us some insights–it did not include email while all other competing products did.
The two founders were intellectually brilliant, yet they never took the iPhones seriously. Losing the Signal is the best book on this colossal failure.
2. Another Blockbuster Failure
One of the best books I’ve read in 2022 is Built to Fail by Alan Payne.
Think Netflix was the cause of Blockbuster’s demise? I did.
According to Alan, Blockbuster killed Blockbuster. “They were great at building and buying stores, but they were never an operating company,” said Alan on our podcast.
In his book, he goes on to say that virtually all of Blockbuster’s failures came from its lack of intellectual curiosity, the ultimate example of which was the inept mismanagement of its massive viewing database which it never fully developed.
3. A Follow-up Book for Never Split the Difference
When I read Never Split the Difference when it came out, I thought I’d never read another book on negotiation again. That’s no longer true as Negotiation Simplified by Jim Reiman is far more prescriptive and tactical.
For instance, the author explains one of the six core concepts in negotiating is understanding the difference between needs and wants.Needs are those things that must be had if a deal is to take place and an agreement struck. Wants are those things that are desired but not critical to the deal.
Reiman goes on to explain that, “Successful negotiators always identify and differentiate the two.”
4. My Favorite Definition of a Business Huddle
Perhaps your company calls those short and recurring meetings as either stand-ups, debriefs, morning updates, or something else. The people behind the book, The Great Game of Business, referred to these meetings as huddles.
I cannot think of a better person to describe a huddle than a high school football player who understands the purpose of huddles:
I love the huddle. There’s such a strong feeling of co-dependency when you’re all in there together. There’s nothing like it in any other sport I’ve played. You don’t have to pretend in the huddle. You don’t have to cling to any false pretenses. Even the shape of it is perfect … a tightly wound circle. Everybody has their own ambitions and their own wants, but we all share the same desire too. You can just look in everyone’s eyes and see that, and then once you realize how much everyone else wants it, that makes you want it even more.Mike Dowling describing a football huddle in Season of Life, page 158
5. Need a Reprieve from Business Books?
Every year, my objective is to read a few more fiction books than the year before. I’m probably flunking this goal, but here are three titles for consideration during the summer months:
- My wife and I finished the audio version of The Maid by Nita Prose during a long trip. If you like characters who are a bit off-centered (similar to A Man Called Ove: A Novel), you might like this who-done-it mystery involving a perfectionistic maid who loves her work but lacking in social skills. If you read or listen to it, let me know what you think of the ending.
- My ignorance of the dystopian niche is deep and long. Yet, I found Rob Hart’s, The Warehouse both a fun and thought-provoking read. Think an Amazon-like global business where the rest of retail is dead and employees are nothing more than a number. Rob will be joining our podcast lineup in July.
- I’m a super-slow reader, and I needed about two weeks to finish East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I could not put it down as I was captured by the author’s rich storytelling and believable characters. One word – more like this.
Recent CFO Bookshelf Podcast Playlist:
Becoming a CEO or Even an Army Officer
Reversing the Slide in Corporate Turnarounds
Finance Essentials in AI, Data Science and ERP
How Profitable is That New Project? A Financially Powerful Culture A Blockbuster Failure
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