Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On, and Others Don't
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The 800-CEO-READ Business Book of the Year Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System—And Themselves by Andrew Ross Sorkin, Viking Books, 624 pages, $32. 95 Even though Too Big to Fail was written during the same year the financial collapse occurred, Andrew Ross Sorkin has written what we predict will be the definitive book on the subject. Sorkin not only tells a gripping “perfect storm” story—reporting the gory details as our 401k’s disappeared and our financial system became nationalized—but he humanizes the players as well, resulting in an imminently readable, albeit lengthy, book. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
Why did the RAZR ultimately ruin Motorola? Why does Wal-Mart dominate rural and suburban areas but falter in large cities? Why did Starbucks stumble just when it seemed unstoppable?
The answer lies in the ever-present tension between fidelity (the quality of a consumer's experience) and convenience (the ease of getting and paying for a product). In "Trade-Off, " Kevin Maney shows how these conflicting forces determine the success, or failure, of new products and services in the marketplace. He shows that almost every decision we make as consumers involves a trade-off between fidelity and convenience-between the products we love and the products we need. Rock stars sell out concerts because the experience is high in fidelity--it can't be replicated in any other way, and because of that, we are willing to suffer inconvenience for the experience. In contrast, a downloaded MP3 of a song is low in fidelity, but consumers buy music online because it's superconvenient. Products that are at one extreme or the other-those that are high in fidelity or high in convenience--tend to be successful. The things that fall into the middle--products or services that have moderate fidelity and convenience--fail to win an enthusiastic audience. Using examples from Amazon and Disney to People Express and the invention of the ATM, Maney demonstrates that the most successful companies skew their offerings to either one extreme or the other--fidelity or convenience--in shaping products and building brands.