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5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Model for Entrepreneurship in Japanese Companies
Revolutionaries at Sony is the authorized case history of how Sony came to enter and become a leader in the video game business in the 1990s. Many people despair about the potential for large companies to produce entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial results from within major corporations. Even more people would despair about that occurring with fast-changing technologies in...
Published on Feb. 13 2001 by Donald Mitchell

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3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Revolutionary, but a decent read nonetheless
Revolutionaries at Sony does a good job of detailing an insider's perspective of the rise of the Playstation. It gives a good account of how the platform came to be, and a thorough discussion of the hardware. Sony's business plans, particularly its marketing strategy is also detailed for the reader, and gives some insight into the marketing of the PS2.
Unfortunately,...
Published on Jan. 2 2001 by Kurt Squire


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5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Model for Entrepreneurship in Japanese Companies, Feb. 13 2001
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Ce commentaire est de: Revolutionaries at Sony: The Making of the Sony Playstation and the Visionaries Who Conquered the World of Video Games (Hardcover)
Revolutionaries at Sony is the authorized case history of how Sony came to enter and become a leader in the video game business in the 1990s. Many people despair about the potential for large companies to produce entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial results from within major corporations. Even more people would despair about that occurring with fast-changing technologies in the slow-moving, consensus-driven cultures of Japanese companies. The latest look at this general subject is found in the well-done book, The Innovator's Dilemma.
This book is an important case history on the subject, because it both confirms and challenges many common beliefs about intrapreneurship (being an entrepreneur inside a company, a term coined by Gifford Pinchot).
First, Japanese companies have a reputation for being not very innovative. The Sony entry into computer games is just the opposite, an important innovation based on a well-considered bet on advanced technology and how a market could be developed. In describing this case, the potential advantages of a large company because obvious in terms of creating access to and the ability to use more types of advanced technology.
Second, the case history is especially noteworthy because the Sony team took the unusual perspective (but one that I subscribe to in The 2,000 Percent Solution and The Irresistible Growth Enterprise) that ordinary people can approach perfection routinely. And the Sony team did just that.
Third, Ken Kutaragi, the key entrepreneur in the story, shows how being a contructive rebel can pay off. Shades of skunk works at Lockheed! He clearly must be familiar with the literature that suggests that you need to get the team away from everyone else, yet access top talent. He did this by the unusual approach of heading a joint venture between Sony corporate and Sony Music, a subsidiary. This allowed the venture to be both in and out of Sony, depending on what is needed. He was aggressive when Sony was wrong, and enthusistically supportive when Sony was right in its support.
Fourth, this case is an excellent example of technological vision: Many of the key decisions were based on the expected development of future technology, but that technology was not yet available as the product was developed. If the technology had not become available later, Sony would have lost a fortune. Yet it made one instead. This is a wonderful example of anticipation.
The summary of the key principles that created this success (over $7 billion in sales in its fourth year -- one of the greatest new business entries in history) near the end is worth putting on your wall.
Anyone who wants to create fast growth should study this book. It provides many key lessons into the required leadership practices for technology-based businesses in the 21st century. I suspect it will become a classic in Japan. It should become one everywhere else as people seriously consider how to make giant companies dance nimbly with technology.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Revolutionary, but a decent read nonetheless, Jan. 2 2001
Ce commentaire est de: Revolutionaries at Sony: The Making of the Sony Playstation and the Visionaries Who Conquered the World of Video Games (Hardcover)
Revolutionaries at Sony does a good job of detailing an insider's perspective of the rise of the Playstation. It gives a good account of how the platform came to be, and a thorough discussion of the hardware. Sony's business plans, particularly its marketing strategy is also detailed for the reader, and gives some insight into the marketing of the PS2.
Unfortunately, the story of Ken Katarugi, the "hero" of the book (p. xi), reads more like "The Life and Times of Montgomery Burns, as told by Waylon Smithers" rather than even a semi-objective attempt at accurate history. Indeed, after reading Revolutionaries at Sony, I was left wondering what is this book exactly? A history? A fan book? By its cover, it's supposed to be a business case-study book. As a case study book, I'd expect a wider range of perspectives. Who heard of a case study of a business that quotes the senior executives almost exclusively? Where are the attempts to build alternative explanations, or refute alternative hypothesis. If it is a business case study, then I'd also expect to see a more thorough description of the business environment Nintendo's business model, which Asakura seems to have missed almost completely, is scantly mentioned. Given that Sheff's excellent history of Nintendo is now several years old, this oversite is more than a little disturbing.
But, if you're looking for a good one sided (Officially sancioned) account of the rise of the PlayStation, and a few of the facts behind the Rise of the Playstation, then Revolutionaries at Sony will do.
You can read the full review at Joystick101.org
[...]
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good history, lots of Sony PR, Sept. 19 2000
By 
Mark Deloura (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Revolutionaries at Sony: The Making of the Sony Playstation and the Visionaries Who Conquered the World of Video Games (Hardcover)
This book is interesting, but it really feels like Sony-worship. It is great PR for Sony, but if you're looking for an objective view of the great videogame wars you won't find it here. What you will find is some good historical information about why Sony entered the videogame industry. The book largely centers on the Japanese side of Sony; it uses many examples which have been translated to English but discusses Japanese commercials, prices, etc, leaving me a bit confused until I realized the book had been translated from Japanese. Most of the information concerning Sony v Nintendo is accurate but presented in a "Sony can do no wrong" light which I found aggravating. The author takes every opportunity to represent Sony as revolutionizing the videogame industry, and declares Kutaragi the savior. If you read this book, just keep in mind that the author is extraordinarily biased toward Sony, and take all information presented in that light. Then you'll be able to separate the wheat from the chaff.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Contribution to the History of Intrapraneuring, June 17 2000
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Ce commentaire est de: Revolutionaries at Sony: The Making of the Sony Playstation and the Visionaries Who Conquered the World of Video Games (Hardcover)
This book is the authorized case history of how Sony came to enter and become a leader in the video game business in the 1990s. Many people despair about the potential for companies to produce entrepreneurs and entreneurial results from within major corporations. The latest look at this subject in general is The Innovator's Dilemma.
This book is an important case history on the subject, because it both confirms and challenges many common beliefs about intrapreneurship (being an entrepreneur inside a company, a term coined by Gifford Pinchot).
First, Japanese companies have a reputation for being not very innovative. The Sony entry into computer games is just the opposite, an important innovation based on a well-considered bet on advanced technology and how a market could be developed.
Second, the case history is especially noteworthy because the Sony team took the unusual perspective (but one that I subscribe to in The 2,000 Percent Solution and The Irresistible Growth Enterprise) that ordinary people can approach perfection routinely. And the Sony team did just that.
Third, Ken Kutaragi, the key entrepreneur in the story, shows how being a contructive rebel can pay off. Shades of skunk works at Lockheed! He clearly must be familiar with the literature that suggests that you need to get the team away from everyone else, yet access top talent. He did this by the unusual approach of heading a joint venture between Sony corporate and Sony Music, a subsidiary. This allowed the venture to be both in and out of Sony, depending on what is needed. He was aggressive when Sony was wrong, and enthusistically supportive when Sony was right in its support.
Fourth, this case is an excellent example of technological vision: Many of the key decisions were based on the expected development of future technology, but that technology was not yet available as the product was developed. If the technology had not become available later, Sony would have lost a fortune. Yet it made one instead. This is a wonderful example of anticipation.
The summary of the key principles that created this success (over $7 billion in sales in its fourth year -- one of the greatest new business entries in history) near the end is worth putting on your wall.
Anyone who wants to create fast growth should study this book. It provides many key lessons into the required leadership practices for technology-based businesses in the 21st century. I suspect it will become a classic in Japan. It should become one everywhere.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An almost sycophantic biography., Aug. 10 2000
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Revolutionaries at Sony: The Making of the Sony Playstation and the Visionaries Who Conquered the World of Video Games (Hardcover)
Asakura'a book is an uncritical story in which Sony and Kutaragi can do no wrong. It details the history of the PlayStation development - the hassles with Nintendo which kicked the project off; relations with developers; what makes the main people tick; problems, surprises etc. While it is an interesting story the writer seems to have taken everything he was told by Sony employees as gospel and did not do any extra research. There are none or very few quotes or interviews from competitors, ex-employees, game journalists or even PlayStation developers (except development company executives) in this book. After a while the very uncritical nature start to get boring.
If you love your PlayStation and read business biographies, this is worthwhile but wait for the paperback.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The One Man Makes a Successful Product Myth, Oct. 17 2000
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Revolutionaries at Sony: The Making of the Sony Playstation and the Visionaries Who Conquered the World of Video Games (Hardcover)
This book presents Ken Kutaragi as the genius who single-handedly created the successful Playstation. It is just not a realistic picture of how a business runs or how a product becomes a success. It needs to include more information about other people who contributed to the product and the cultural environment in which it originated.
The translation from the Japanese also creates a style of grammar that is just not quite right to the English reader.
Half-way through the book I decided that my time was more valuable than this book and I needed to move on to something more rewarding (and more entertaining).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Do you develop or market products? Read this book!, Oct. 31 2000
Ce commentaire est de: Revolutionaries at Sony: The Making of the Sony Playstation and the Visionaries Who Conquered the World of Video Games (Hardcover)
Your virtually guranteed to walk away with 1 or 2 good ideas about how to develop and market products. This is like reading the play book for the New York Yankees. You won't find anything shocking, it's just a great story about how to break into a very competitve computer games market. You'll read how superior technology, relentless attention to detail and design, love for the customer, cost superiority and a vision to be the best in the world lead to great success. This is the closest thing the business world has to a royal straight flush! It's a quick read, so stop reading this and start reading this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Complex but very interesting, June 10 2000
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Revolutionaries at Sony: The Making of the Sony Playstation and the Visionaries Who Conquered the World of Video Games (Hardcover)
I thought this book was a very interesting a unique way of looking at the video game industry. Me being 12 years old can only play the games and enjoy them but have never thought about who made the game or who was the story written by. With this book it made me think about my games and what an interesting company sony is.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Just in time for the PS2, Dec 1 2000
Ce commentaire est de: Revolutionaries at Sony: The Making of the Sony Playstation and the Visionaries Who Conquered the World of Video Games (Hardcover)
A good look at the PlayStation's technology and business development process. Not really great as a venture or entrepreneur analysis (more of an intra-preneur story that worked). Gives something to compare the PS2 saga with.
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