It was 2003 when doing my MBA a number of case studies where forced upon me especially around Dell Computer and their great success. Yes one quickly grew tired of the praises of Michael Dell and his “just in time” model with Internet only sales. Yet on the other side was the lowly Cupertino Apple which had to be bailed out by the then Redmond Goliath goodwill money to also keep the FTC happy too.
However if we look today, at the once venerable Dell we see it’s now third fiddle in a quickly sinking market. As if we also look to the Silicon Valley grand dad HP who spent billions to become the leader of nothing (being the PC Business) and looking to off load the line. Hello, how many years ago has it been since Big Blue (IBM) sold off their PC line as it was clear even then it was nothing more than a pure commodity play with little staying power, yet HP much as a drunken auction go-er caught up in the rush of the auctioneers madness poured tons of money into the PC line to grasp the brass ring.
Now look at the change a bouts in fortunes and the importance to have an ear to the ground as business is a fast paced place and one miss-step can end up costing the farm. Also after realizing this, took a peek back (yes I’m one of those pack rats who kept their ridiculously over priced text books, just because it was over priced) and found that basically all except Ikia the Swedish discount furniture manufacturer and retailer were on hard times if not gone altogether.
About B-School (that’s what all the “kids” call it today) one should realize that competitive case studies are flawed as it says that one, of two, is an absolute which is flawed logic. As having argued with a professor about a Chrysler case study where berated me for supporting Kirk Kerkorian failed takeover bid as it was bad for the employees. My retort was capitalism supports survival of the fittest and not the happiest or wealthiest employees. Now we look back at Chrysler and we see Benz raided them for their cash and tossed the remainders aside.
However the point of this is American business are to focused on the “now” rather than the “what will be”. As delivering on commitments is important, however any CEO who strives to be number one today, should summarily be shown the door, as today is the past and tomorrow is now…