Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim

Blue ocean metaphor elegantly summarizes their vision of the kind of expanding, markets that are free of competition where innovative companies can boldly navigate. Unlike “red oceans,” which are over explored and crowded with competitors (and filled with blood spewed by battles with competition), “blue oceans” represent “untapped market space” and the “opportunity for highly profitable growth.” The only reason more big companies don’t set sail for them, they suggest, is that “the dominant focus of strategy work over the past twenty-five years has been on competition-based red ocean strategies”-that is finding new ways to cut costs and grow revenue by taking away market share from the competition.

With this groundbreaking book, Kim and Mauborgne-both professors at France’s INSEAD, the second largest business school in the world-aim to repair that bias. Using dozens of examples-from Southwest Airlines and the Cirque du Soleil to Curves and Starbucks-they present the tools and frameworks they’ve developed specifically for the task of analyzing blue oceans. They urge companies to “value innovation” that focuses on “utility, price, and cost positions,” to “create and capture new demand” and to “focus on the big picture, not the numbers.” And while their heavyweight analytical tools may be of real use only to serious strategy planners, their overall vision will inspire entrepreneurs of all sizes, and most of their ideas are presented in a direct, bs free manner. Theirs is not the typical business management book’s vague call to action; it is a precise, actionable plan for changing the way companies do business with one resounding piece of advice: swim for open blue waters.

The blue ocean strategy can be summarized as such:

1. Don not compete in existing market space – Create uncontested market space.
2. Do not beat the competition – Make the competition irrelevant.
3. Do not exploit existing demand – Create and capture new demand.
4. Do not make the value/cost trade-off – Break the value/cost trade-off.
5. Do not align the whole system of a company’s activities with its strategic choice of differentiation or low cost – align the whole system of a company’s activities in pursuit of both differentiation and low cost.

Easy as ABC!

Blue Ocean Strategy

James Joyce’s mighty Ulysses, Podcast by Frank Delaney

To commemorate James Joyce’s mighty novel, Ulysses, Here’s a podcast. Every week you’ll find a five-minute mini-essay from Frank Delaney designed to take you through the novel that’s on every list of the greatest books ever written. And as Ulysses runs to some 375,000 words, Delaney goes through it, in order to convey the full brilliance of this novel – and the enjoyment to be had from it – It’s such an absorbing book, it’s got diamond mines of references, it’s so compassionate, so tender, so moving, so funny – and most of us never know that, because most of us have long been daunted by it. No need to be afraid any more – that is, if you make a habit of listening to these podcasts.

James Joyce's mighty Ulysses

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman

Once in a while a book comes along of such originality that it stops you in your tracks, slaps you in you face and makes you think again about so many things that it makes you want to share it with everyone you meet. David Eagleman’s Sum is just such a book.

Ostensibly a book about what happens after we die, ironically Sum is really an examination of what it means to live. After all the divide is perhaps not as great as we think and as John Keats once wrote, “Life is but a Waking Dream.” Anyone seen Waking life?

With 40 imaginings of the afterlife, Eagleman takes you on a long and erratic emotional journey. Some of the Sums are absurd, sum surreal, sum poetic, sum funny, sum wild, sum neurologically cutting edge while others are dreamily abstract. It’s an astonishing feat of the mind and to top it all, they are all written is this clear prose that is a joy and completely effortless to read.

Are you a dreamer?

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman

The life of Python – Perry George

The Life of Python reads like a biography of a rock band. The basic material of the book is to try to track each member of the group from their comedic beginnings to the formation of the troupe and then to the work following the cancellation of the TV series, all interwoven by time. Sounds like a mess, but it works. Perry interviewed all the members, sometimes more than once, and the book is liberally sprinkled with quotes. Color photos as well as black and white, which fills the book (every page has a picture on it).

The life of Python - Perry George