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Leadership & Business Wisdom

HITTING THEM WHERE THEY AREN’T

“HITTING THEM WHERE THEY AREN’T” OUTFLANKS THE BY CREATIVE IMITATION.

Here, the innovator doesn’t create a major new product or service. Instead, it takes something just created by somebody else and improves upon it. This is imitation. But it is creative imitation because the innovator reworks the new product or service to better satisfy customers’ wants and needs. Once the innovator succeeds in creating what customers want, it can achieve leadership and take control of the market.

The prefect example is how IBM became the leading producer of PCs in the 1970s. Apple invented the PC. When the Apple appeared, it was an instant sensation. IBM set to work to outflank the Apple. It asked, “What are Apple’s shortcomings?” Within eighteen months IBM had on the market a PC that did everything the PC customers needed and wanted but had what the Apple lacked: software. And within another year IBM’s PC had become the market leader worldwide; it held that position for more than ten years. And Apple had become marginal. It almost went under and only turned itself around into a respectable niche player twenty-odd years later, in the late 1990s.

ACTION POINT: Look for a successful innovation of a competitor’s and improve upon it, thus outflanking your competitor.

ENTREPRENEURIAL JUDO

ENTREPRENEURIAL JUDO TURNS WHAT THE MARKET LEADERS CONSIDER THEIR STRENGTHS INTO THE VERY WEAKNESSES THAT DEFEAT THEM.

The Japanese Judo master looks for the strength that is his opponent’s pride and joy. He assumes, and does so with high probability, that the opponent bases his strategy in every fight. And then the judo master figures out where this continuing reliance on a particular strength leaves the opponent vulnerable and undefended. Then he turns his opponent’s strength into the opponent’s fatal weakness that defeats the opponent.

Businesses, like judo fighters, tend to become set in their behaviors. And then Entrepreneurial Judo turns what the market leaders consider their strengths into the very weaknesses that defeat them. For example, the Japanese became the leaders in one American market after the other: first in copiers, then in machine tools, then in consumer electronics, then in automobiles, and then in fax machines. The strategy was always the same. They turned what the Americans considered their strength into a weakness that defeated the American companies. The American saw high profitability as their greatest strength. And thus they focused on the high end of the market and left the mass market undersupplied and underserviced. The Japanese moved in with low-cost products with minimum features. The Americans didn’t even try to fight them. But when the Japanese had taken over the mass market they had the cash flow to move in on the high-end market, too. And they soon came to dominate both the mass market and the high-end market.

ACTION POINT: Be agile, recognize the strengths of your competitors, and look for opportunities in parts of the market that they have ignored.

“Oil they would buy from anyone. From Satan.”

CHRISTOPHER BUCKLEY

“A great leader must serve the best interests of the people first, not those of multinational corporations. Human life should never be sacrificed for monetary profit. There are no exceptions. In addition, a leader should always be open to criticism, not silencing dissent. Any leader who does not tolerate criticism from the public is afraid of their dirty hands being revealed under heavy light. And such a leader is dangerous, because they only feel secure in the darkness. Only a leader who is free from corruption welcomes scrutiny; for scrutiny allows a good leader to be an even greater leader.”

SUZY KASSEM

“Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies.”

SUZY KASSEM

“The angry men know that this golden age (of fossil fuels) has gone; but they cannot find the words for the constraints they hate. Clutching their copies of Atlas Shrugged, they flail around, accusing those who would impede them of communism, fascism, religiosity, misanthropy, but knowing at heart that these restrictions are driven by something far more repulsive to the unrestrained man: the decencies we owe to other human beings.”

GEORGE MONBIOT

“A leader should always be open to criticism, not silencing dissent. Any leader who does not tolerate criticism from the public is afraid of their dirty hands to be revealed under heavy light. And such a leader is dangerous, because they only feel secure in the darkness. Only a leader who is free from corruption welcomes scrutiny; for scrutiny allows a good leader to be an even greater leader.”

SUZY KASSEM

“If it’s not one god it’s another. Allah or oil. Jesus or Jewels. Lenin or lust.”

VICTOR ROBERT LEE

“Oil creates the illusion of a completely changed life, life without work, life for free. Oil is a resource that anaesthetises thought, blurs vision, corrupts.”

RYSZARD KAPUŚCIŃSKI

“Pick a leader who will make their citizens proud. One who will stir the hearts of the people, so that the sons and daughters of a given nation strive to emulate their leader’s greatness. Only then will a nation be truly great, when a leader inspires and produces citizens worthy of becoming future leaders, honorable decision makers and peacemakers. And in these times, a great leader must be extremely brave. Their leadership must be steered only by their conscience, not a bribe.”

SUZY KASSEM

“Unless government appropriately regulates oil developments and holds oil executives accountable, the public will not trust them to drill, baby, drill. And we must!”

SARAH PALIN

“So this is what commodity corn can do to a cow: industrialize the miracle of nature that is a ruminant, taking this sunlight- and prairie grass-powered organism and turning it into the last thing we need: another fossil fuel machine. This one, however, is able to suffer. “

MICHAEL POLLAN

“The Niger delta as a matter of urgency needs to re-think its development strategy by developing her non-oil sectors. There is no easy way out of this, and we will all see that at the end it is the only way out.”

EMI IYALLA

“Everybody looks at oil and almost entirely forget that the percentage of jobs the oil sector creates is relatively small compared to the population; the introduction of more sophisticated exploration methods makes it even worse. Oil companies now look for smarter, leaner and cheaper operations. Where will these leave the economy? Good disposable income to the government with no real value to the people of the Niger Delta.”

EMI IYALLA

“if you look at humanity’s per-capita energy use today, it’s as thought each human being has twenty-three servants for him or her, every hour of every day”

LEIF WENAR

“Control over the production and distribution of oil is the decisive factor in defining who rules whom in the Middle East.”

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS

“Oil and coal? Of course, it’s a fungible commodity and they don’t flag, you know, the molecules, where it’s going and where it’s not […]. So, I believe that what Congress is going to do, also, is not to allow the export bans to such a degree that it’s Americans that get stuck to holding the bag without the energy source that is produced here, pumped here.”

SARAH PALIN

“It is in our best interest to. . . embark on a revolutionary change that will lead us away from oil dependency rather than drag our feet and suffer the costs of becoming growingly dependent on a diminishing resource.’ Truer words were never written.”

ALBERT MARRIN

“By the fall of 1918, it was clear that a nation’s prosperity, even its very survival, depended on securing a safe, abundant supply of cheap oil.”

ALBERT MARRIN

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