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March 22, 2004



I am way behind the times in finding this very interesting and useful blog. I am trying to understand what premium actually means and this certainly goes towards helping me get there. Thank you. This reply may never be seen, but I thought I would leave it anyway.


hi jennifer, found your article particularly relevant to the field that i work in - airtime sales on a tv channel.

the price we can command for 30 seconds in the market is influenced to a large extent by what competition is charging for similar products (programmes), and at the end of the day, we can only up the price depending on the 'image' we enjoy in the market, and how much we can innovate - the perspectives we provide, the customisations we provide for clients, and how we present the same content in a unique manner.

Mike Smock

Hi Bob,

Sun Tzu is our patron saint. Not because its gung ho, or macho but because the Art of War advocates winning without fighting. Sun Tzu introduced me to the concept of maneuver theory.

I was introduced to Sun Tzu by chinese partners in the late 80's. At that time I was Chairman and CEO of an engineering and fabrication business with 600 employees. I was looking for ways to reduce friction with my unions and increase my operating tempo - which led me to Boyd.

Have you read Boyd's Organic Command and Control? Great lessons for enterprises today attempting to improve organizational cohesiveness. It think this is the paper that Boyd introduced the notion of essential humility.

Last, the Marine Corp in their command and control manual describe the difference between detailed and mission command and control. Ironically some of the most forward thinking I've read on organziation developement is the Corp's take on mission C&C which emphasizes decentralized decision making, trust and unit cohesiveness.

I was a big fan of yours back in your Chrysler days. I'm an Ann Arbor boy. You still have a place back there?


Bob Lutz: LAW 1 The Customer Isn't Always Right

Jennifer, if you agreed when I scrawled "marketing is leading" and "great brands lead and mobilize affinity' then "A Customer's Search" is the need that brands must acknowledge before Customer Service can happen. They are looking for answers, and effective brands often rescue them from dead ends--making repeated unsatisfying and therefore wrong choices. In this way, customers often don't know what they're looking for until they stumble on it. But once found, they've got a "mate" for life so to speak. Go here for a graphic we use in explaining this concept called "The old conversation"

Mike: Read some of your stuff. Very interesting. I'm a cycle, sequence, rhythm and pattern guy too, but I do agree with Tom's sentiment.

The gung-ho element in business causes far more long term frictions and drags on profitability than the short term gains justify. I get to clean up the messes of guys who claim Braveheart and the Great Santini as their favorite movies and influences. The militaristic approach too often allows impatient business people to insist on simplicity, confusing it with clarity. I too am familiar with OODA, first as the son of a USAF F-100/4/16 driver-instructor and then as a business tool. OODA can be a trap as well as tool in its seeming Black Magic ability to the undisciplined--and the last thing business people need is more false feelings of omnipotence. We worked Boyd's cross-disciplinary approach for our selves to great result and now share it with others. We know a lot of shit and people think we can see around corners. Wrong. We just intuit, interpret and connect as Boyd teaches. To mis-quote Gibson's William Wallace, nobody is "nine feet tall with lightning bolts shooting out of his ass"

I haven't read through your site deeply but I suspect I agree with much of what you're saying but am curious where Boyd's "essential humility" factors in. Look forward to digging in.

Mike Smock

Hi Jennifer

Read your response... I'd enjoy a debate. I'm 3/4 of the way through Quicksilver. Looking forward to the next installment.


Hey Tommy,

I would call it proudly old-school. The rules come from a couple of guys who have been there.

Read a couple of pages of the rules and you'll see how we monetize.


Tom Asacker

Best blog yet, Jennifer! Thanks.

1. "The relationship between customer and vendor by definition is built on tension." This is old school thinking again. It's the "Marketing as War" mindset that pervades business. Even the word "vendor" conjurs up a guy hawking hotdogs on the streets of Manhattan. Hardly a metaphor for a mutually beneficial business relationships built on knowledge, insights, risk-taking and trust.

2. "Any customer strategy first and foremost must begin with the objective of maximizing short-term profit." I'd love to know how the authors maximized their short-term profit by distributing their manifesto for "free." ;-)

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