Sunday, March 7, 2010

Trade-Off by Kevin Maney

Review by Bill Doughty

Avatar 3D, iTunes, the NFL and Hulu; Ozzy, Roomba and Yuengling beer Kevin Maney dissects these and dozens of other cultural icons and oddities to explain a strategy for leadership and management success in the 21st Century.

“Fidelity,” as in “hi-fi” high fidelity (think Apple), is balanced with convenience (think McDonald’s).

Maney argues that companies and individuals succeed best when they specialize and become the best in their field or become indispensably convenient. Those who try to be both simultaneously may be doomed. And, innovation always trumps complacency.

Crocs, Motorola, Edsel and Segway scooters – all get put on the scale in Trade Off to examine “the ever-present tension between quality and convenience.”

Maney tells us:

“In any market segment, there’s usually at least one high-fidelity player that every other player admires and strives to imitate. That entity does things better than anyone else. People love the product or service. They want to own it, to make it part of their identity. They will tolerate terrible inconveniences – high prices, difficulty in obtaining it – to acquire it. Like some strange law of quantum physics, at the pinnacle of fidelity, convenience can almost disappear. Instead, pure desire takes over. Even lust.”

He gives some examples of the high-fidelity world: Apple, Bose and Cirque du Soleil.

“On a grander scale,” he says, “the U.S. and forces are the highest-fidelity of militaries.”

As the Navy continues as a “Global Force for Good,” it personifies innovation and quality – fidelity. As individuals commit to education and invest in their future, they help tip the scale for success in their favor.

What’s the future of books in a world of Amazon, Kindle and the Web? In Trade-Off Maney gives hopeful insights as to why there will always be a place for reading – and books.