follow up on NextMadison Ave: Book recommendation

At NextMadisonAve Michael Hurt from Microsoft suggested that people take a look at Porter's Strategy, which is largely viewed as a definitive work on corporate strategy.  For a really interesting look at why some strategies succeed and others fail, especially when it comes to new technologies, I would suggest folks check out Michael Raynor's The Strategy Paradox, which includes in particular a discussion of why Microsoft has been so successful over the years.

Mr. Hurt admitted that Microsoft has to struggle with the idea of whether it is a software company or an internet company.  He also used the term "audience company" but I think one still needs to account for the idea of where one thinks the audience is, and many strategy scholars would see successful strategies as being built on a bet about where the audience is: the desktop or the internet, for example. Raynor points out that the beauty of Microsoft has been that senior management (C-level and above) has created opportunities for developing businesses on both online, desktop, (and mobile, and video game consoles) so that they are not betting one one future shift.  A classic hedge.

See Raynor's book for more detail on how creating strategic options at the highest levels of an organization allows individual business units to focus on committing to a strategy and executing their bold ideas.

Raynor's work deserves more coverage; look for more summaries of his insights in future posts.