In search of stupidity: over 20 years of high-tech marketing disasters

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Apress, Jul 9, 2003 - Business & Economics - 252 pages
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This book is an eye-opener to the differences between how software gets built and how it gets sold.

— Michael Ernest, JavaRanch Sheriff

Big corporations...have the money and the brain cells, but despite this, still manage to shoot themselves in the feet every now and then.

— Valentin Crettaz, Val's Blog: Stuff for software engineers and Java addicts

The history of marketing and technology is riddled with cautionary stories that stick up like dung covered punji sticks. Read this, and avoid stepping on one.

— Jeff "Hemos" Bates, Director, OSDN Online & Executive Editor,

Rick Chapman knows where the bodies are buriedwhen most people have forgotten there was even a murder. This history of tech marketing disasters is well-written, enjoyable, and gets its facts straight.

— Jonathan Angel, Senior Editor, West Coast, Adweek's Technology Marketing Magazine

Gives us an amusing (and sometimes embarrassing) array of anecdotes of how far we've come (and not come) in high technology...a fun read, with many invaluable lessons.

— Brenda Bennett South, Vice President, Weber Shandwick

An invaluable history lesson in how to avoid monumental marketing mistakes that are unfortunately common in the software industry.

— Alyssa Dver, BusinessWeek Special Sections Contributor

Having followed many of these companies and products over the years, I'd often wondered why such smart people made such weird choices. Rick Chapman has many of the answers.

— James Fallows, former editor-in-chief, US News and World Report, and regular writer for The Atlantic

In Search of Stupidity is National Lampoon meets Peter Drucker. It's a funny and well-written business book that takes a look at some of the most influential marketing and business philosophies of the last 20 years and, through the dark glass of hindsight, provides an educational and vastly entertaining examination of why they didn't work for many of the country's largest and best-known high-tech companies. Make no mistake: most of them did not work.

Marketing wizard Richard Chapman takes readers on a hilarious ride in this book, which is richly illustrated with cartoons and reproductions of many of the actual campaigns used at the time. Filled with personal anecdotes spanning Chapman's remarkable career (he was present at many now-famous meetings and events), In Search of Stupidity is a no-holds-barred look at the best of the worst hopeless marketing ideas and business decisions in the last 20 years of the technology industry.

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About the author (2003)

Merrill R. (Rick) Chapman is the author of the first edition of this book. He has worked in the software industry since 1978 as a programmer, salesman, support representative, senior marketing manager, and consultant for many different companies, including WordStar (really MicroPro, but no one remembers the name of the company), Ashton-Tate, IBM, Inso, Novell, Bentley Systems, Berlitz, Hewlett-Packard, and Ziff-Davis. His first computer was a Trash One (you antiques out there know what that is), and he began his career writing software inventory management systems for beer and soda distributors in New York City. He is the author of The Product Marketing Handbook for Software, coauthor of the Software Industry and Information Association's US Software Channel Marketing and Distribution Guide, and periodically writes articles about software and high-tech marketing for a variety of publications.