Blown to Bits: How the New Economics of Information Transforms Strategy

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Harvard Business School Press, 2000 - Business & Economics - 261 pages
9 Reviews
Richness or reach? The trade-off used to be simple but absolute: Your business strategy either could focus on "rich" information - customized products and services tailored to a niche audience - or could reach out to a larger market, but with watered-down information that sacrificed richness in favor of a broad, general appeal.
Much of business strategy as we know it today rests on this fundamental trade-off.

Now, say Evans and Wurster, the new economics of information is eliminating the trade-off between richness and reach, blowing apart the foundations of traditional business strategy. Blown to Bits reveals how the spread of connectivity and common standards is redefining the information channels that link businesses with their customers, suppliers, and employees. Increasingly, your customers will have rich access to a universe of alternatives, your suppliers will exploit direct access to your customers, and your competitors will pick off the most profitable parts of your value chain. Your competitive advantage is up for grabs.

To prepare corporate executives and entrepreneurs alike for a fundamental change in business competition, Evans and Wurster expand and illuminate groundbreaking concepts first explored in the award-winning Harvard Business Review article "Strategy and the New Economics of Information," and present a practical guide for applying them. Examples span the spectrum of industries--from financial services to health care, from consumer to industrial goods, and from media to retailing. Blown to Bits shows how to build new strategies that reflect a world in which richness and reach go hand in hand and how to make the most of the new forces shaping competitive advantage.

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I hold a PhD in MIS (Management Information Systems). My doctoral dissertation was based on the Richness vs. Reach business model as applied to distance/online education. BLOWN TO BITS was an integral part of my research, as the principles outlined within this mighty little tome require that the reader set aside preconceived notions of how business is done. When read in conjunction with Thomas L. Friedman's THE WORLD IS FLAT and his LEXUS AND THE OLIVE TREE, you will begin to grasp the boundless opportunities of a world blown to bits. An excellent read that will make you think, Think, THINK! 

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Although once you cut through the authors esoteric and obtuse writing style this book manages to make some good points.
The weakness in this mini-tome is in its feeble attempt to create new terms
and labels for the "e" generation. Terms like "disintermediation" (this word doesn't exist anywhere but in the minds of the authors) and the appellation "navigators" belongs more to a Star Trek scenario.
The authors also seem to be unaware that we do not live in a linear world. In most of the world today, you need a "navigator" just to find food and avoid the violence and mayhem.
Messers' Evans and Worster need to spend a little more time in the real world, not in the cloistered halls of Harvard.

References to this book

Electronic Business
Bernd W. Wirtz
Limited preview - 2001
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About the author (2000)

Philip Evans is a Senior Vice President of the Boston Consulting Group in Boston.

Thomas S. Wurster is a Vice President of The Boston Consulting Group in Los Angeles. The authors are coleaders of The Boston Consulting Group's Media and Convergence Practice.

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