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am 14. Mai 2000
In this book, Al Ries defines corporate focus as an organization's "necessary" and relentless pursuit to specialize within its industry. For example, one of Ries' examples, PepsiCo, should've focused on its core competency (the Pepsi cola brand), and spun off all other divisions such as its food chains division (KFC, Pizza Hut, Del Taco) and its snack foods division (Frito Lay). PepsiCo, he claims, will lose the war with Coca-Cola unless it focuses on just one enemy (Coke) rather than several. Interestingly enough, Ries's prophecy towards future focus within organizations happens to have become the biggest hit on Wall Street in 1997, and in the case of PepsiCo, came true.
Overall, Ries's call for corporate focus makes a lot of sense. He provides some wonderful examples throughout the book where companies have lost steam through a lack of focus, and then regained it through refocusing. In fact, probably the greatest contribution of this book comes from Ries's expansive milieu of business examples to support his focus-centered thesis. However, this book's downfall becomes apparent in its mid-section where Ries exposes his ignorance about other business philosophies that he imagines are different than his own. For example, his discussion of quality-based management (TQM) is hopelessly misinformed and biased, which will become obvious to even the neophyte in TQM philosophy. It is through his discussion of quality-based management where Ries's bias towards only his way of doing things is exposed. Also exposed is the fact that Ries's area of expertise is marketing, and he consequently pays less respect to others areas of business (namely, operations and support areas).
Although I enjoyed the many excellent business examples that Ries provides for the reader, and would recommend the book for that reason alone, I would not recommend the book as a whole. I believe that Ries's focus-centered thesis has trapped him to focus only on his way of focusing. To put it another way, Ries's focus will help a company perhaps attain its desired financial and market results, but can not contribute to the overall growth and development of the organization. As experienced here at JOICO, the word focus (without proper understanding) can be used in a multitude of different ways. Furthermore, we may focus on a certain type of product or market niche so much that we may miss the changing trends in the world that will someday make our focus and market dominance irrelevant. For example, Ries encourages Kodak to concentrate on its core competency, chemically processed film, and leave the digital stuff to another company. That may be good for Kodak's focus, but will probably kill Kodak in the long-term when chemically processed film becomes a thing of the past.
This book is very interesting, but I would not recommend it to the easily swayed business reader. Ries' is a sweet-talking salesman when it comes to his point of view, and it takes a well-educated outside view to see through some of his arguments.
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am 26. Juli 1997
Focus is a useful book for people who own or are in charge of a business and need some ideas about where to go next. It has a simple message which gets repeated many times - the value of focussing on what you are best at - or want to be best at and differentiating yourself from the rest of the market as a powerful way to build a place in the market. The book is (at times annoyingly) full of anecdotes and commentary on large American companies and where they have successfully achieved through focus, or lost their way through lack of focus. Most of the cases seem to focus (there goes that word again) on companies who sell products rather than services. The book is somewhat long winded, and gets a little repetitive. On the other hand it is a useful demonstration of giving the same message in different dimensions and with a different slant. While the case studies had little of relevance to a small New Zealand consultancy, the overall message of the book is powerful and useful to anyone in business
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am 4. März 1998
The basic points are driven home repeatedly, but they make for good advice. I am glad I ran across this book as it has had a positive impact on my 7 year old export business. Also, I have spoken with a number of people in their late 50s who were career corporate types. Many of them were forced out or retired early and are very cynical about corporate America. This book could serve as a handbook for understanding these people's grief as legions of managers who were hired in the 60s were let go by companies who obviously did not head this book's message.
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am 4. Februar 1999
I picked up Focus a few months ago because I believe Positioning to be one of the best books ever, right up there with Seven Laws of Money. As I read through Focus I kept thinking that when I did well in life I was always focused. It also gave me a wonderful way to evaluate stocks and people. I'm reading it again.
If you're thinking about picking up another business magazine to read, spend a little more and read this instead - much more profitable for your business, your career and your life.
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am 14. Juni 1999
A brilliant explanation of the value of focusing in our businesses. It gives fascinating accounts of how billions have been wasted, and made, by following, or not, the principles outlined.
Interestingly, we realise that what Al speaks of is just as true in any area of our lives; whether running a group, organisation or doing something at home. A great read even if you don't have a business. All the books by Ries and his earlier partner, Jack Trout are the best in their fields.
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am 5. Mai 1999
I read the book first. I thought it dragged a bit. Then a friend lent me the cassette tape version. I found the spoken emphasis that Al Ries put into the recorded cassette tape version of the book made a HUGE difference. Of course, the whole Al Ries / Jack Trout school of thought is not one shared by everyone. But if you are in marketing, you need to get this. If you ar ean employee and you just want to define your career objectives more clearly, then this book is for you.
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am 9. April 2000
It is so easy to try to have your business go in five directions at one time, especially when you are starting out and need the revenue. Read this book before you try the shotgun method of business development. If you are starting out in business you know that the truth is there is more opportunity than you can handle. Without focus you won't do justice to any of the opportunities you have before you. This book is simple and convincing.
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am 20. April 1999
It is easy to see how others have gone astray for lack of focus, it is much harder to apply the message to your own stew. By the end of the book, I had become a believer. His many examples, sometimes outdated, eventually forced me to confront my "yes, but..." rationalizations and look critically at my business.
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am 23. September 1998
A real brainwash after all the do-and-don'ts on mergers and acquisitions, Al Ries explains in his own down-to-earth language why you should go on with the things you do best already. Not a bit scientific, but not overwhelming popular either. Just a great book. Not only buy it: read it as well.
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am 13. Juli 2000
by Ries, you can learn the marketing in two weeks without any certificate of any university, you learn how to market your product, how to under stand the market and the customer. in simple way you will love marketing even you do not working in marketing. so have fun.
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