17 – June 2, 2019
“We prefer outcomes over ownership. We prefer customization, not standardization. And we want constant improvement, not planned obsolescence.” Page 20 of Subscribed by Tien Tzuo
1. The Book to Give Your CEO
Subscribing to a refrigerator? Right. A roof? Get out of here.
Don’t be fooled; the subscription economy we live in is coming to manufacturers. Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Cadillac are carmakers offering monthly subscription packages, allowing you to swap out cars periodically.
The big takeaway of Tien Tzuo’s Subscribed is that the shift has started from a product-centric to a customer-centric economy. What’s next?
While I give the book 4 out of 5 stars on content, it’s strong brainstorming material for any company’s leadership team. If you get it, first read Chapter 13, where the author gives his take on a subscription economy P&L.
2. The Book I Love More than Good to Great
One of my favorite books in 2017 was Intelligent Fanatics Project: How Great Leaders Build Sustainable Businesses. The authors provide the histories and results of 8 CEOs who led their companies to financial prominence.
After listening to the book during my weekly mowing routine under a hot and humid Missouri afternoon, I was still taken back by the stories of John H. Patterson, who put cash registers on the map, and Les Schwab, who was a mastermind at creating employee incentives for his chain of tire stores.
Here’s a business truism–if you’ve learned about a few ‘great’ management fads during the past ten years, those ideas were probably in practice 50, 75, and 100 years earlier. There’s nothing new under the sun regarding excellent management and leadership practices.
3. What Made These Fanatical Companies Great?
Leadership quality, entrepreneurial spirit, prudent risk-taking, innovation, flexibility, and open communication throughout the organization defined the companies led by these strong leaders. Does this describe your company?
The lower-performing companies, according to the authors, were slower to adapt to change, bureaucratic, and possessed short-term time horizons.
Incidentally, one of the authors is a long-time investor of small-cap stocks, which is how he makes his living.
4. The 10,000-Hour Rule Debunked?
Several years ago, Malcolm Gladwell taught us about the 10,000-hour rule through his research, which goes something like this–practice a task 20 hours a week for ten years, and you’ll be an expert.
If you read the book Range by David Epstein, don’t skip the Introduction. It’s gold. And there, you’ll find out if the 10,000-hour rule is a myth or not.
Let me drop a hint. Roger Federer did not hone his tennis craft, practicing 20 or more hours a week as a youngster. Yet, he has 20 Grand Slam singles under his belt.
If you love Gladwell’s books, then poke around this book. Also, Gladwell’s thinking aligns with the author’s opinions.
5. Homework Assignment
After reading Subscribed, I felt prompted to look at the first purchase I ever made on Amazon. I still remember questioning whether to click the buy button on September 10, 1998. My next purchase happened on December 1, 1998. My fear at the time was security. Remember, that was the 1990s.
I was a late bloomer when it came to digital books. I got sick and tired of lugging 5-6 books under my arms in airports while working on a consulting project in Yakima Valley’s wine country in the great state of Washington. Digital books then became a godsend, making my load much lighter. I purchased my first digital book on January 30, 2011.
It’s your turn. Be the first to tell me your first physical and digital book purchases through a message on LinkedIn, and I’ll send you a $25 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble.
Thank You Very Much
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Take care, and have a great week. Always be learning.