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Escape Velocity: Free Your Company's Future from the Pull of the Past [Hardcover]

Geoffrey Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Aug. 29 2011
“Readthis book to learn how to create a company as powerful as Apple.”—Guy Kawasaki,former chief evangelist of Apple

InEscape Velocity Geoffrey A. Moore, author of the marketing masterwork Crossingthe Chasm, teaches twenty-first century enterprises how to overcome thepull of the past and reorient their organizations to meet a new era ofcompetition. The world’s leading high-tech business strategist, Moore connectsthe dots between bold strategies and effective execution, with an action planthat elucidates the link between senior executives and every other branch of acompany. For readers of Larry Bossidy’s Execution,Clay Christensen’s Innovator’s Solution, and Gary Vaynerchuck’sCrush It!, and for anyone aiming for the pinnacle of business success, EscapeVelocity is an irreplaceable roadmap to the top.


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Review

“A pragmatic framework to help mature enterprises escape the pull of their pasts and embrace the new reality of work.” (John Chen, CEO, Sybase)

From the Back Cover

From the world’s leading high-tech strategist comes the definitive road map to help established companies create next-generation growth.

Geoffrey Moore’s now-classic Crossing the Chasm became a must-read book by presenting an innovative framework to address the make-or-break obstacle facing all high-tech companies: how to gain market share from early adopters and from mainstream consumers.

Based on twenty years’ experience advising the top leaders of many of the world’s most successful enterprises, Moore’s Escape Velocity offers a pragmatic plan to engage the most critical challenge that established enterprises face in the twenty-first-century economy: how to move beyond past success and drive next-generation growth from new lines of business.

As he worked with senior management teams, Moore repeatedly found that executives were trapped by short-term performance-based compensation schemes. The result was critical decision-makers overweighting their legacy commitments, an embarrassingly low success rate in new-product launches, and a widespread failure to sustain any kind of next-generation business at scale.

In Escape Velocity, Moore presents a cogent strategy for generating future growth within an established enterprise. Organized around a hierarchy of powers—category power, company power, market power, offer power, and execution power—this insightful work shows how each level of power can be orchestrated to achieve overall success. Moore explains

  • how to use mergers and acquisitions as well as organic innovation to systematically migrate an enterprise’s portfolio out of lower-growth and into higher-growth categories;
  • how to reallocate resources across an enterprise in deliberately asymmetrical ways to create a powerful and sustainable foundation for a long-term competitive advantage;
  • how to leverage target-market initiatives as accelerants to growth and as stepping-stones to broad overall category success;
  • how to create unmatchable offerings by being swift to neutralize competitors’ innovations and laser-focused on driving in-house innovations to make a business impervious to competitors;
  • how to fundamentally change the execution cadence of an organization, pushing change from innovation to broad deployment, creating an irreversible tipping point along the way.

Drawing from thousands of hours spent face-to-face with CEOs and their teams, Moore presents case examples and best practices. While his experience is deeply rooted in the high-tech sector, his models and techniques apply well beyond this arena, including to the public sector.

At a time when the world is looking to established enterprises for growth and stability, Moore’s analysis is penetrating and his prescriptions are right on the mark. Escape Velocity gives executives and their teams a practical way forward to take advantage of the opportunities amid industry and economic disruptions.


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
The quotation in the title of this review is from Leading Change in which James O'Toole brilliantly explains why most of the resistance to change initiatives is cultural in nature. Over the years, Geoffrey Moore has written several books in which he explains how business leaders need to cross the chasm created by disruptive technologies, to survive inside a tornado of constant change, and to deal with a process of natural selection that eliminates many (most?) companies that defend the status quo (or at least their status quo) rather than escaping from its appealing but lethal limitations and insufficiencies. In his latest book, Moore suggests that there is some "hidden force" that is working against most companies' efforts: "the pull of the past, most concretely embodied in [a company's] prior year's operating plan."

One especially significant result of that organizational vulnerability is that it precludes exposure to what Moore characterizes as "secular market change." That is, a "not to be repeated" expansion of the market that occurs whenever a new category or a new class of customers is brought on board. That expansion "stands in contrast to [begin italics] cyclical growth [end italics], which refers to the ongoing returns from an established market, one in which the customers and the category remain the same and power shuttles here and there among various vendors and their latest offers. The key point here is, you can make a mistake with cyclical growth and still have plenty of chances to get yourself back in the game. That is not the case, however, with secular change. Missing out on the opportunities it offers "is a disaster.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The tools and points of view your company needs to get the right strategies for innovation and growth Sept. 13 2011
By Mark P. McDonald - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Escape Velocity by Geoffrey Moore addresses the fundamental issue of driving deep innovation and value realization in your company not by some new silver bullet but by the hard work required to free your company's future from its past. Moore's central premise in this well written, actionable and highly recommended book, is that companies have a structural bias for investing in things today that cause it to starve out the new products and services that will generate growth in the next 2 -3 years.

Moore is a well-established innovator, thinker and marketing expert in the Silicon Valley. His prior books like Crossing the Chasm, Dealing with Darwin, etc. are foundational in the tech industry. This book leverages these prior works, but it does not require you to have read them. Suggestion if you are looking to read a companion work I would suggest Crossing the Chasm as it is related to the topics discussed in Escape Velocity. This book is not a rehash of his market adoption model. Rather it is a new set of tools concerning how you think about, develop and execute new strategies that break you out of last year plus 10% thinking.

What makes this book highly recommended is that Moore offers a broad set of tools that work outside of tech to give executives and leaders real tools that they need right now. This book is a model for a business book that is actionable, practical and deep enough to help you apply the ideas while still being engaging and interesting.

The book organizes itself around a hierarchy of powers that together shape a market, companies competing in that market and the products and services they offer in that market. The powers are:

Category Power - the demand for a class of products, for example smart phones, fuel-efficient cars, or energy bars.

Company Power - the relative status and prospect for your company compared with peers. For example: Nokia vs. Samsung, Honda vs. Ford, Cliff vs. Kashi

Market Power - the company's power relative to a market segment, for example Subway in Quick Service Restaurants.

Offer Power - the demand for a product or service relative to reference competitors. The classic here is Whopper vs. Big Mac.

Execution Power - the ability to outperform competitors under equal conditions

The remaining chapters in the book concentrate on each of these powers, what they are, how they work, tools for applying them and at least two specific case studies that illustrate their importance. Put all of this together and you get a powerful and actionable playbook for creating new market strategies.

Moore does surprisingly little pontification on market strategies, something common in other marketing related books. Instead he shows you via 13 tools that you can use found in each of the powers. To give you an example of the completeness of this book, here is a list of the tools it contains:

Category Power
- Category maturity lifecycle
- Growth/Maturity Matrix
- Horizon model

Company Power
- Competitive separation
- Two-business architecture model
- Crown Jewels model

Marketing Power
- Nine point market strategy framework

Offer power
- Retain or innovate model
- Six levers model
- Price/Benefit model
- Core/context model

Execution Power
- The arc of execution

Listing all of these models may give the impression that the book is more of an encyclopedia or compendium than a book that makes an actionable argument. Nothing could be further from reality. Moore uses his experience, the central thesis of the book and case studies to describe why certain things have happened, why leaders made different decisions and the results of those decisions.

Moore finishes the book with a discussion of how you use these tools to transform you execution, vision or strategy. This brings the toolset together and demonstrates that these tools work in practice rather than in theory.

Escape Velocity is a culmination of Moore's other works. Rather than simply restating them in today's context, Moore is sharing the fundamental tools leaders can use to develop and execute their company's strategies. This is one of those rare books that should be purchased, studied, annotated and tried in your company. Not every tool will fit, but the book gives you enough support such that you can make that judgment for yourself.

This sounds like a gushing review, this book has been one of the best I have read in 2011, but it does have some flaws. The examples and cases concentrate on high-tech, which may turn off some. The requirement for a leader that is willing to make asymmetric investments in new products and services is true, but under developed in the book. The book covers Moore's personal experience, which will make some see it as a digital infomercial. I believe these weak points exist, but this book is more than worth your time and attention.

A suggestion, buy the hardcopy as you will be making notes throughout the book, dog earing pages, etc. I read it on an eReader, which is great, but now using it as a reference is not the same as a hard copy. You will use this book as a future reference.

Highly Recommended for any business executive who feels that their current strategy has lost its potency, punch and ability to drive sales
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Advice for B2B Sr. Executives July 30 2012
By Gene Morphis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Geoffrey Moore is a very successful author and has also started multiple consulting and speaking businesses. He is also a partner in a venture capital firm. Mr. Moore writes extensively about strategy and marketing, particularly in technology markets.

In Escape Velocity Mr. Moore sets up circumstances in which businesses struggle with a transition from existing products and services to the products and services that will replace them.

I have two quick observations: first, this book is clearly about business-to-business marketing. If you are in the B2B space, there are some lessons here, but this book clearly is not aimed at you. Second, since Mr. Moore is involved with tech companies, his examples are almost exclusively tech examples. Not so narrow as not to be interesting, but perhaps limited for readers who are in, say, insurance or construction.

Moore's theme is that there is a hierarchy of strategy, which he labels powers. (It is my interpretation that these are strategy equivalents). Specifically and in order: Category Power, Company Power, Market Power, Offer Power and Execution Power. He sets up his argument with examples of enterprises where strong legacy products exist and the enterprise gets the majority of its cash flow from those. Some more forward-thinking members of the firm envision the next generation product and begin scratching for resources to advance those. In his view as presented in this book, far too many firms are too reluctant or at least too slow to free up the best people and adequate capital to support the new. The old-world firm that I would point to as the exemplar of the opposite is Gillette, which has steadily and relentlessly pushed its lead in razors and razor blades, cannibalizing the old product.

The chapters after the set-up describe each of the five "powers" with prescriptions on how to fight organization inertia and obtain adequate funding to identify the most promising new products and harvest the old.

Overall, I would describe this as a useful management book. More relevant for tech space readers, and most relevant for B2B tech space readers.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to free your organization from "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom" Nov. 1 2011
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The quotation in the title of this review is from Leading Change in which James O'Toole brilliantly explains why most of the resistance to change initiatives is cultural in nature. Over the years, Geoffrey Moore has written several books in which he explains how business leaders need to cross the chasm created by disruptive technologies, to survive inside a tornado of constant change, and to deal with a process of natural selection that eliminates many (most?) companies that defend the status quo (or at least [begin italics] their [end italics] status quo) rather than escaping from its appealing but lethal limitations and insufficiencies. In his latest book, Moore suggests that there is some "hidden force" that is working against most companies' efforts: "the pull of the past, most concretely embodied in [a company's] prior year's operating plan."

One especially significant result of that organizational vulnerability is that it precludes exposure to what Moore characterizes as "secular market change." That is, a "not to be repeated" expansion of the market that occurs whenever a new category or a new class of customers is brought on board. That expansion "stands in contrast to [begin italics] cyclical growth [end italics], which refers to the ongoing returns from an established market, one in which the customers and the category remain the same and power shuttles here and there among various vendors and their latest offers. The key point here is, you can make a mistake with cyclical growth and still have plenty of chances to get yourself back in the game. That is not the case, however, with secular change." Missing out on the opportunities it offers "is a disaster."

Those who have read one or more of Moore's previous books already know that he is a visionary pragmatist with exceptional analytical and writing skills. I think that Escape Velocity will prove to be his most important book thus far, given the timing of its appearance during an extended period of economic turbulence and organizational disruption. I agree with him that leaders must ask the right questions (please see Pages 10-11) and then obtain the correct answers to them. In order to free themselves and their organization from - and then remain free of -- the "pull of the past," they must formulate and then execute an escape-velocity strategy. How? Focus on three separate but interdependent initiatives:

1. Innovate sufficiently to achieve competitive separation in the domain of invention.
2. Institutionalize what achieves the separation so it can be scaled and sustain in the domain of deployment.
3. Drive the transition from invention to deployment to a tipping point "such that the world will go forward as newly aligned and not fall back into its old ways."

Throughout his lively and eloquent narrative, Moore explains how to create, apply, and sustain four types of power and devotes a separate chapter to each: Category (i.e. reengineering portfolio management), Company (i.e. making asymmetrical bets), Market (i.e. capitalizing on markets in transition), Offer (i.e. breaking the ties that bind), and Execution (i.e. engineering the escape). It should be noted that, in the Introduction, Moore duly notes that under certain conditions, an established player's standard operating procedure (e.g. operational gains from mature markets), "does not result, in and of itself, in bad economic results." However, a key point, the "players" (be they new or established) do not sink "into a fixed legacy position." Each adopted one or more of the 13 different models or frameworks that, Moore points out, are "nestled inside one or another level in the Hierarchy of Powers" he thoroughly examines in Chapters 2-6 and then reviews in the final chapter.

In my opinion, this is one of the most important business books published in recent years and its relevance will increase exponentially for years to come. Bravo!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Escape from murky theme May 26 2012
By Erik J. Newton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Moore uses a text book writing style which I found refreshing at first and then started to find heavy. I was interested in the concept of escaping from product or company lifecycle destiny, but came away unconvinced that the book showed me how in practical-enough terms. The book is not so useful if you do not have a number of products and categories to manage. I liked Dealing with Darwin much better.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No Video! March 4 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition with Audio/Video|Verified Purchase
It's extremely annoying to buy a book and pay for some nice video clips, only to have them unavailable on my Kindle. This would be fine if only Amazon had supplied a method for me to download and view these videos on my laptop, but no, only if I have an iDevice am I able to view the videos. Talk about feeling like a second class citizen! Come on, Amazon, you can do better than this. Make these videos available to me. NOW.

By the way, it's a very good book, but still, I feel cheated.
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