Winners Take All – 9 Fundamental Rules of High Tech Strategy

“The practical advice in this book is invaluable and timely. This is a book every high tech entrepreneur must own.”
Bhanu Sharma, Entrepreneur In Residence, Adobe Systems

“Winners Take All – The 9 Fundamental Rules of High Tech Strategy” is about building a product and a company into a winner. Whether you’re a small, medium or large company. Whether you have a product or service. Whether you sell to consumers, enterprise, or governments. If you work in high tech, you owe it to yourself to read this book.

Watch Tony Seba’s presentation at Google, Inc, “9 Rules for Building a Tech Winner”

Here’s a summary from the Table of Contents.

Rule 1: Feel The Pain. Then Develop Your Product
Business Case: How Craigslist Built a Winner
Business Case: How Alphasmart Built a Winner

Are you listening to the customer or your own echo?
Developing a radical product

Rule 2: Focus, Win, Grow, Repeat
Business Case: How Symantec Built a Winner
How to Focus to Win and Grow
Business Case: Google vs. Yahoo!
How Texas Instruments won again

Rule 3: Add Value Not Features
Swatch: Success through simplicity
Craigslist: Value is simple
Business Case: How Starmine Built a Winner
The Way to beat Microsoft

Rule 4: Have a Story. Communicate Clearly
Entrepreneurial Communication Challenges
Telling Stories
Business Case: Netflix vs. Blockbuster
Positioning, Branding, Word of Mouse

Rule 5: It’s a Risky World. Sell Confidence!
Innovation adoption is Risky
Business Case: How Clickability Wins Customer Confidence

Rule 6: Convert Champions Not Deals
Adoption of Innovations as a Social Process
Technology as Magic
Critical Mass and Network Effects
Business Case: How LinkedIn Built a Winner
Finding Your Champions

Rule 7: Choose The Right Partners. Manage Them with Clarity
Business Case: How F5 Network Partnered to Win
What is a Partnership?
Partnering for the Right Reasons
Successfully Managing Partnerships

Rule 8: Design Products and Services That Are Easy to Adopt
Business Case: Skype vs. Vonage – How Skype designed a winner
Apple’s iPod and The Birth of Cool
Business Case: How the Apple iPod was Designed to Win
How to Accelerate The Adoption of Your Product

Rule 9: You’re Doing Well. Congratulations. Now Change or Die.
Business Case: Apple from Macintosh to iPod
From Great to Naught – High Flyers Dropping Like Flies
Business Case: IBM Changes to Win Again
Why Smart Media Executives Sue Little Girls
Why New Zealand Telecom Should Fear eBay

“What I have learned in your classes and in ‘Winners Take All’ has been helping me in project after project after project. I recently built a product that already generates $80 Million in annual sales by following most of the
rules that you outlined and by sticking with the decision process you recommend.”

Stoyan Kenderov, Director of Product Strategy, Amdocs

Learn the rules that these fast-growth high tech winners have used to achieve market leadership.

After moving sideways seemingly forever, Symantec suddenly exploded. In the five years to 2004, Symantec revenues more than tripled, from $592 million in fiscal year 1998 to $1.9 billion in 2004. The SYMC stock sextupled from the spring of 2000, going from about $10 to just under $60 (after two stock splits) in late 2004. By then it employed 6,000 people in 38 countries while the company’s market capitalization was higher than $12.5 billion.

What did Symantec do? They applied Rule 2.

Apple came into a crowded market (MP3 portable music player) and had a hard time making inroads. Despite Apple’s marketing savvy, promotional cool, and creativity the company had never had a category winner in its long history. In fact, two years after entering the market, the iPodwas still moving sideways, unable to break out of the pack. Then it exploded and never looked back. Apple did something different.

What did Apple do? They applied Rule 8.

LinkedIn was started when there were dozens of competing companies in the online network space. They quickly broke out of this crowd and became the leader in its category and profitable to boot.

What did LinkedIn do? They applied Rule 6.

StarMine went from idea to great technology and ‘neat’ (but wrong) product to great product to wild growth, market leadership and profitability in one of the toughest information technology purchasing climates in a generation.

What did Starmine do? They applied Rule 3.

While Yahoo! expanded in all directions without a clear center they went from the undisputed search
engine leader to a distant follower to Google who left its former partner in the dust while capturing one of
the greatest market opportunities in recent history.

What did Google do? They applied Rule 2.

Both Skype and Vonage built products based on the same Voice-Over-IP (VOIP) open standard. Skype
has been wildly successful the world over while Vonage has bled hundreds of millions of dollars. Skype
achieved a valuation three to four times that of Vonage
. Is there an easy framework that you can use to
help you develop an easy-to-adopt product like Skype’s?

Yes. Read Chapter 8.

This is a highly readable and practical book. It lays out 9 simple rules as well as dozens of cases and implementation tools and frameworks inspired by Google, Netflix, Symantec, Apple, Skype, Starmine, LinkedIn, and other category winners. This is a book for anyone whose livelihood depends on fast-growth and high-change markets.