July 31, 2009
As you can imagine, the first thing that attracted me to this book was its title — “How to Castrate a Bull.”
In this book, the “bull” represents risk. Author David Hitz, founder of data storage company NetApp, describes how to mitigate risk and make strategic changes during turbulent economies — both up and down. This book is a compelling read because NetApp executives made the right decisions during the “hypergrowth” period of the dot-com boom. But, more importantly, NetApp survived the dot-com bust due to those smart decisions and because its leaders were not afraid to dramatically adjust the company’s focus when the market dictated and technology convergence was inevitable.
Hitz specifically might be writing about data storage and the colliding markets of UNIX and Windows, but you’ll be able to apply his knowledge to telecommunications convergence. For example, are you considering adding to your product set by selling voice when you’ve previously sold only data? Or are you considering a hosted VoIP product to round out your voice offering? Hitz’s book, with its lively stories and real-life examples, will provoke you to think through those kinds of decisions.
In addition to being an easy read, this book gives several entertaining accounts of how to work through difficult yet necessary changes. In discussing whether to adopt a new product, for instance, NetApp Chairman Don Valentine said, “In this economy, if someone wants to give you their money, I recommend that you take it.” In other words, making strategic changes might be difficult, but if your customer is asking for it, then maybe you should be selling it. And Hitz’s tips might be just what you need to “castrate” the risk involved with that strategic change.
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