Saturday, October 29, 2005

Tom Peters-2005.10.28

Tom Peters-2005.10.28
Tom Peters-2005.10.28, originally uploaded by jdgemm.

I attended a seminar by the author of In Search of Excellence, Tom Peters.

While on stage Tom Peters definitely takes advantage of the extra room, moving back and forth at a quick kenetic pace.

The range in which way he delivers his message varied from a soft-spoken, inquisitive tone "why do I do this? I know I'm going to get myself into trouble" to a screaming rant "DON'T EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER MAKE A CFO A CEO".

For a guy with 4 "hard" degrees (two civil engineering degrees from Cornell and two business degrees from Stanford), he used a lot of "soft" language. But as he writes in his book hard is "soft" and soft is "hard". 1+1 =2 vs. 1+1 = 109. Now I understand what he meant.

The slides can be downloaded from his web site (

He's got quite a sharp, biting sense of humor and thankfully I wasn't the interpreter.

Things he mentioned during his speech that I've read/heard elsewhere:

  • Necessity of discontinous innovation (get different vs. get better)
  • Crucial role design will play to differentiate products.
  • Importance of Ascending the value ladder (products > solutions > experiences...).

Other things that stuck (in no particular order):

  • If I was the president the first executive decision I would make is close down all business schools (mind you he has an MBA from Stanford)
  • If Taiwan wants to focus on branding need to do something about the Taiwan airport (first impressions do count)
  • Branding is a "state of mind"
  • Can't beat Wal-Mart on price or China on cost.
  • 3 billion capitalists
  • Price or quality- middle is untenable
  • If competing with a giant do it on your terms, not on theirs
  • Make big changes to big things
  • Delivery of message is as important as substance of the message
  • Marketing remains primarily targeted at 18-44 year old males, but baby-boomers and women "have all the money"
  • Believe in soul, value comes from something else (excellent example from Harley Davidson how not selling motorcycles but selling ability for 43-year old accountant to dress in leather, ride through town, and scare people).
  • Every business is a small business (quoting Jack Welch)


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