Profit Patterns opens with a series of chaotic paintings by Pablo Picasso. Each piece is increasingly difficult to recognize; the final portrait is little more than a jumble of shapes and colors. But what does Picasso have to do with profitability? By recognizing industry patterns–by seeing the order beneath the surface chaos–managers, investors, and entrepreneurs can prepare for change before it even occurs. And while the Picasso-as-business-strategy metaphor may be a stretch, Slywotzky’s theories are fundamentally sound, designed to spot and capitalize upon market trends in an ever-turbulent business world.
Adrian Slywotzky–whose bestselling The Profit Zone explained how profits happen–this time focuses on making sure profits happen. He begins by defining the types of changes common to modern businesses, explaining why polarization is spreading among industries, and emphasizing the importance of mindshare. He then lists the 30 most common patterns that businesses fall into, such as microsegmentation, where “growing customer heterogeneity and increasing customer sophistication change the fundamental nature of the market.”
But even if a business is adept at seeing patterns, it’s helpless if it can’t mobilize its troops in time to capitalize upon pending change. Case studies of successful companies such as Cisco Systems, Nokia, and Dell Computer show how a company can detect industry trends, organize its workforce, and build giant leads over its competition. No wonder Picasso was a good businessman. –Rob McDonald
Authors: Adrian J. Slywotzky, James A. Quella, Kevin Mundt, Ted Moser