At last, a world for those of you with ADD.
Stan Davis and Christopher Meyer look at how three factors in the wired world--speed, connectivity, and intangibles--are driving the increasing rate of change in the business marketplace. Citing examples that include Mercedes-Benz automobiles, Otis elevators, and even Amazon.com, Davis and Meyer interpret how development in these three areas is causing the boundaries of other formerly distinct categories to blur. Once business tended to be either products or services. But what about a box that tracks your car if stolen? You are buying a product--a piece of electronics--but are actually receiving a service--the ability to track a stolen automobile. The distinction between buyers and sellers is also blurring; for example, in grocery stores vendors buy shelf space from the retailer but also sell their products to the store. Even the distinction between work time and home time is blurring with the development of Internet-powered home offices, where time can be used more flexibly. According to Davis and Meyer, blur should be embraced because it will only increase. The authors wrap up with 50 ways to add productive blur to your business and 10 ways to adapt to blur in your personal life. --Elizabeth Lewis
I found this 1998 book on 'free' book truck and read it on the long bus trip roundrip between East LA and Sawtelle in June 2014. While the examples are dated, I found it mostly easy to comprehend and still worth reading today. While giving the big picture of the second half of the Computer Age (the first half being the quickening pace of data processing), the authors aim to open readers' eyes to their own possibilities of value in buying while selling, putting emotion into transactions, not planning your company's future but adapting whatever the firm's production or service may be. They also offer ten points individuals should be thinking of in their careers such as becoming a free agent while still on the payroll and letting the market, not the firm, determine your true worth.
By BLUR the authors mean not only the pace of change but how functions are no longer confined to the straight and narrow. The firm manufacturing widgets and widgets only will not survive nor will 'the mamn in the gray flannel suit' because the second half of the Computer Age produced the connected economy. BLUR=speed+conectivity+intangibles and this is changing the way the economy behaves. Intangibles are emotions (such as trust in the band), information, services, and 'the service component of products (such as the ever increasing load of diagnostic computer chips installed in vehicles).
I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, so the authors' promise that 'with this book, we offer a lens through which you can see BLUR for a moment of static clarity (7)' did not entirely ring true for me. For example investments in equities are briefly discussed, the 21st C. being so different from the 20th C. in the speed at which demand for a product may appear and then ebb and the difficulty of evaluating connectivity rather than bricks and mortar assets, balance sheets, etc. I have noticed the low value placed on cash since 2008, making it tough for savers, especially old geezers, to obtain an useful return on their money. The authors note that the cash component of establishing an enterprise looms smaller today--there is a lack of good investment opportunities (205) but 'every bit of capital you do own should be kept in constant motion but at an accelerating pace (188).'
Thus investments in capital equipment must generate a quick return because the 'durable goods' often will soon be obsolescent (195).
The need to be open to input from everyone is emphasized and thus the story continues with the sharing of insights and experiences at www.blursight.com (but I couldn't get it to work)
The authors are well qualified, being from the Ernst & Young Center for Business Innovation. There are a few endnotes that allow readers to find sources such as Stuart Kauffman's 1995 finding that the value of a group of six under first level supervision to an adaptive organization. Indexed.