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A new use for Botox

One of our colleagues, Jim Thompson, passed along a tidbit that expands even further on the Botox story we wrote about in MarketBusters. It seems that Botox, which is actually a highly dangerous substance in certain forms, does more than help people reduce the appearance of wrinkles, which it does by paralyzing certain muscle groups. Now it turns out that Botox may be a boon to another group of customers,... read more »

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Korean parents send their kids to China

On our trip to Korea, we learned quite an interesting little snippet about where Korean parents are placing their bets for the future. It seems that it is now quite typical for Korean families to send their middle- and high-school children to China for some years. There, they get to learn the language, understand the customs and build networks beginning at quite an early age. Isn’t this a fascinating long-term... read more »

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Backward looking consulting frameworks

Our Korean colleague, Hyokon Zhiang, is the Managing Director of a newly formed consulting practice, the Innomove group (http://www.innomove.com). He was a rising star at Bain, but decided to pursue building his own innovation-oriented consulting group after extensive experience with the tools of consulting left him discouraged. Many of the most time-honored and productive tools (such as the product-portfolio matrix, or portfolio allocation tools) are based on trends from the... read more »

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Cash-rich, imagination poor?

It stunned me to read that the 80 technology players comprising the Standard and Poor’s index have $229 billion in cash and equivalents on their balance sheets (reportedly more than 2 times what they had at the end of bubble-year 1999). Depressingly, what are they doing with all that cash? Stock buybacks, acquisitions and dividends — things shareholders like, but that don’t necessarily create opportunities for the future. Indeed, one... read more »

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An Update on Service Corp. International

Euphemistically named Service Corp. International (SCI) is actually a mega-presence in the world of funerals. We wrote about their strategy of ‘industry roll-up’ in MarketBusters (chapter 5) noting that the company had skillfully managed to take inefficiencies out of the business through a series of acquisitions of small, fragmented players. This in turn led Service Corp. to be able to gain scale when many competitors can’t. The strategy at the... read more »

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Japan surges forward

I just read a short piece in Business Week (July 18, 2005 issue, p. 30) in which evidence of Japan’s recovery – even resurgence – are detailed. Among the numbers I thought were very interesting were that growth in non-manufacturing (services) has been seen to be ‘improving’ since March of 2003, with 20% of companies in a recent survey reporting confidence in improvement in this sector. As I’ve said before,... read more »

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New bankruptcy laws and entrepreneurship

On October 17, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act will make the use of bankruptcy as a way to erase debts and create a fresh start much more difficult. Although clearly some people end up bankrupt from poor money management, poor discipline or even bad luck, I do have some concerns about the long-term effect of the new bankruptcy law on entrepreneurship. If you compare the United States... read more »

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Where Japan’s new growth could come from

I’ve just two days ago returned from a visit to Japan, where I met with people from an incredible diversity of companies while giving talks and directing the Columbia Business School Program “Creating Strategy”. Although it’s standard commentary now to bemoan lack of creativity in Japanese companies, I had a different take on the issue. It struck me forcibly that the very habits that make it hard for Japanese companies... read more »

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Websense tames the Wild West of the Internet for Profit

Websense (WBSN), a software company, has hit a sweet spot for growth by making products that allow employers to optimize their people’s use of the Web. Some interesting data from the company’s web site (http://www.websense.com): Internet misuse at work costs American organizations more than $85 billion annually in lost productivity. Although 99% of companies use antivirus software, 78% of them were hit by viruses, worms, or other malicious applications. 37%... read more »

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Radical Surgery gives Renault a MarketBuster

In late 2004, Renault launched a new car, the ‘no frills’ Logan, which exemplifies how eliminating complexity can provide a powerful engine for growth. The stripped down cars offer roomy, basic transportation, and that’s it – few electronics, few components, a flat windshield, and no built-in radio or power steering. Eliminating complexity allows the cars to sell for a great price – $9,300, half the price of a Ford Focus... read more »

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Market Busters Lead Article in Harvard Business School “Working Knowledge”

The lead article in the April 4, 2005 edition of Working Knowledge, a publication of Harvard Business School, entitled Mapping Out Your Market Busters features an excerpt from Market Busters. For the entire article, click here. read more »

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Praise for Discovery-Driven Planning

In a talk to attendees of the Medical Devices Executive Summit in San Francisco a few weeks ago, Barry Allen, Entrepreneur in Residence for VC firm, Ventures West Management, was quoted by BioWorld magazine as “Hailing discovery-driven planning, a process promulgated by Rita Gunther of Columbia University (New York) and Ian MacMillan of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)…Allen cited it as “a useful tool”... read more »

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Harvard Business Online | MarketBusting: Strategies for Exceptional Business Growth

Article reprint available through Harvard Business Online. Order the article today and get your copy in PDF format, hard copy or order your reprint permission. Description: If company leaders were granted a single wish, it would surely be for a reliable way to create new growth businesses. Business practitioners’ overwhelming interest in this subject prompted the authors to conduct a three-year study of organizational growth–specifically, to find out which growth... read more »

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