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January 26, 2006


Mark True

I really think your post is also a call for organizations to understand and take ownership of their brand. If that happens, and every decision is based on the brand, I believe an organization is better able to stand firm during times of change and remain relevent to the core audience.

That's not a call for being obstinate, ignoring change. It's a challenge to operate from a point of strength rather than reacting to every change. Even ships in storms rely on their sea anchors to keep from being thrown about. The brand is the sea anchor for organizations weathering change.

And since most organizations that tell their story well are used to communicating, they're in a stronger position to explain the change and allow employees, customers and others prepare for and embrace the change.

If the core audience changes, the organization can seek a new audience, migrate the brand (purposely) or create a different brand altogether. At least they do it from a solid foundation.

David Maister

Perhaps I can share an additional perspective on change. As I wrote about in an article called "Strategy and the Fat Smoker," we all know as individuals and as business entities what we should be changing, why we should be changing and (mostly) precisely what to do.

Yet few us live up to our New Years' Resolutions and few companies execute their strategic plans- for the same reasons. We don't actually wnt the benfits badly enough to do the work they require. So we end up see-sawing between half-hearted attempts at change and getting frustrated that the benefits aren't showing yet.

As I conclude in my article ( is not about knowing what to do, it is almost entirely abou beating your competitors in resolve and determination.

Terry Mitchell

I guess a lot of people are like me - scared to death of change, even though it could probably benefit more than just about anything else.

David Foster

I don't think E-Ink is a huge threat to the book publishing industry in the near future, for the reasons Mary mentions. I *do* think it's a huge threat to the newspaper and magazine industries:

a)the content is more volatile
b)there is less emotional attraction to the physical manifestation of the product
c)computer assistance (like searching classified ads) is of more value

Mary Schmidt

Guess I'm showing my age (and my book addiction) - but I don't think good ol'fashioned books will ever completely disappear. There's few things better than a rainy afternoon browsing through the stacks or a used bookstore. Finding a beautiful old unusual book is just the best. It's a sensual experience that goes beyond just reading the printed word. (Even Captain Picard had "old" books!)

As for change, I love that our world is becoming so flat. And, yes, the pace of change continues to increase, but it's always been a challenge for people (and businesses) to keep up. One of my favorite examples of "hey, pay attention!" is the Pony Express - driven out of business by the telegraph within a year (one would think one of the riders would have wondered just what them thar poles and wires were for...)

Back to trying to keep up!

Scott Miller

That was a very good book, and I especially like the author's take on the real root of the troubles between the USA and the middle east. I find this to be the best explanation of the tension between our cultures I've yet come across.

As for the singularity, The Singularity Is Near, by Ray Kurzweil, is quite good. As a hardcore longevity practitioner, I'm really hoping Kurzweil's predictions are accurate.


I think you mean Booksfree--at instead of FreeBooks. It really IS the Netflix model applied to books .


Change in the book publishing world is on its way. I kind of look at it as the changes that the music industry has had to take on with the advent of music downloads. I think what has to happen is that Book publishers and other businesses facing serious change, is embrace it. Don't pay lip service to it, but be in the forefront. For instance, publishers need to work with Google. Businesses have to figure out how these new models play in to their existing business. You have to seize opportunities, not fight them to your death.

David Foster corporations (as elsewhere) there are numerous people who talk incessantly about "change"...but are interested only in those kinds of change which are currently fashionable, in business as a whole or in their particular field or industry. When the potential for change comes from an unexpected direction, and is not blessed by the appropriate authorities, those who talk most loudly about the need for change are often the worst reactionaries.


I don't know if it's your tone of voice or your similar perception of key business issues, but you have a true talent with words. I love your work/posts.

I'm reading "The World is Flat" as well. Half way through....great book.

Good luck with everything.

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