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EVP Sales of MindTouch. Mark has advised many start ups including a social networking site that was sold to Barry Diller's IAC.  Before joining MindTouch, Mark led global sales efforts as an Executive Vice President for a publicly traded company, headed sales efforts for a technology division of AT Kearney and EDS, and served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for a Singapore based corporation. Mark blogs at Seek Omega

4 responses to “Competing with Pirates”

  1. mikediliberto

    Mark,

    Great observations. As someone who has consulted with both Circuit City and Best Buy, I can tell you from firsthand experience, the differences between these firms were startling.

    In “How the Mighty Fall” Jim Collins identified the “hubris born of success” as a prime culprit in the downfall of firms; the premise being that a firm, having had success in the past, is often unwilling to change course, and too often the current course leads to failure.

    Best Buy, once the underdog, recognized that what once worked in the past (for Circuit City et al) would no longer work in the future. They adopted an attitude of “innovation through iteration”, and allowed their employees to experiment with new methods (e.g. – Social Media) provided that they committed to measure success and “fail fast” where appropriate. It is this strategy, I feel, that allows them to find healthy avenues for growth while at the same time prevents them from going too far down paths that will not deliver value.

    You mention in your post that Best Buy “left old business models behind, adapted to the new environment and won.” This is true. What is more valuable, however, is that in their minds, they know that this “win” is only temporary and to maintain their lead they will need to change again in the future.

    Businesses are flocking to cloud computing and SaaS apps for the same reason; the up-front capital expense is low, so when it is time to change, it is that much easier to justify (remember the “sunk costs” exercises from B-School? Those are easy to overcome when you have sunk little cost)

  2. Mark Fidelman

    Thanks Mike, I appreciate your comments. I agree Best Buy will need to continue to be the leader. I plan to interview them in February to discuss their E2.0 plans in 2010.

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