Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011
Adam Hartung makes a forceful case at his Forbes blog that Google made a big mistake by buying Motorola. He argues that Google only did it to save Android and that it should have, instead, cut its losses and dropped Android. I posted a short dissenting comment at Adam’s blog, and thought I’d expand my position here.
To me, Adam’s distaste for the acquisition has merit because of its complexity and the difficulty of pulling it off. More than two-thirds of large takeovers reduce the value of the acquiring company, and most of them are less intricate than this one. But Adam’s central thesis is that Android isn’t worth saving, and that’s the part that I question.
Posted on Monday, October 19, 2009
We found John Cassidy’s essay in the Oct. 5 New Yorker, “The Real Reason that Capitalism is so Crash-Prone,” to be illuminating about the challenges of managing in an irrational context, like the recent credit craze or the more distant dot-com and telecom bubbles. Cassidy argues that, even if managers know that they are in the middle of a bubble, they have little choice but to go along. Boards and investors tell them: “Do it, or move aside so that someone else can.” Few can resist such pressure.
Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2009
IBM surpassed $100 billion in annual revenue in 2008, which is laudable–but 18 years late. Therein lies a tale about the dangers of what author Jim Collins labeled Big Hairy Audacious Goals.
In the early 1980s, IBM’s then-CEO John Opel declared that IBM would hit $100 billion in revenue by 1990. Although it may be hard to remember back that far, IBM was the world’s most profitable company in the 1980s. Its market capitalization accounted for roughly three-quarters of the value of the entire computer industry. Opel wanted to keep IBM from getting too complacent, so he challenged the company to increase in size from $40 billion of annual revenue in 1983 to the magic $100 billion mark by the end of the decade.
Posted on Tuesday, August 12, 2008
A recent post at Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational Blog about Microsoft’s Mojave Experiment reminds us of a cynical moment during our research for Billion-Dollar Lessons when we concluded that, too often, marketing is when companies lie to their customers, and market research is when companies lie to themselves.