The Change Function

The following is the introduction from Pip’s new book The Change Function.  You can also download the introduction, plus the entire first chapter in the PDF file – Intro.Ch1.pdf(426 Kb)

The Change Function, is also available for purchase on Amazon.com or at Barnes & Noble

INTRODUCTION

Early in my career an old boss of mine,Ed Petner insisted that I squeeze the entire investment case for every stock I ever wanted to buy onto a single sheet of paper.It was one of the most challenging tasks I ’ve ever tackled,but it was well worth it.Hopefully Ed will appreciate that the entire presumption of this book is whittled to just two pages —and I am even eating into it by relaying his direction.  My aim is to address two key issues that exist in the technology industry today.

ISSUE 1: HIGH-TECH FAILURE RATES STINK

The commercial failure rate of nominally great new technologies is troublingly high.
That failure rate is consistent with the hatred and distrust most normal human beings —which I like to call Earthlings — tend to have of high technology. That hatred and distrust is a bummer since our little planet can use all the help technology might provide.

ISSUE 2: SUPPLIERS THINK THEY ARE IN CHARGE BUT IN REALITY USERS ARE IN CHARGE

The technology industry operates according to an implicit supplier-oriented assumption.
That assumption is that if one builds great new disruptive technologies and lets cost reduction kick in,
markets will naturally appear.This is known as “build it and they will come.”

This mentality is a major problem.Adopting a new technology requires changing the habits of users.The industry acts as if change is easy when it ’s actually quite difficult.Users will change their habits when the pain of their current situation is greater than their perceived pain of adopting a possible solution —this is the crux of The Change Function .

I believe that users are always in charge and that supply is a necessary but not suf ficient condition for commercial success.Companies and products geared toward this holistic user orientation will succeed at far greater rates than those stuck in a supplier-oriented mind-set.

The goal of this book is to look at what has failed in the past,to understand how the industry came to be in the position it is in today. And, through the prism of The Change Function,to spotlight examples of what might and might not work in the future and to examine a few corporate cultures that seem to get it. But this is not eight easy steps to success.  Change is not easy.

“It is not necessary to change.Survival is not mandatory.”
—W.Edwards Deming

That ’s it.So long.