Peter Drucker: “Innovation and Entrepreneurship”

Book Club — September 26, 2010

This week’s book is a favorite of mine that was super inspiring when I started my first company:

Peter Drucker wrote “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” in 1985. He wrote it as his “manifesto” for the New Business Development Group. And, at the time, it was probably the first systematic attempt to explain innovation and entrepreneurship as a discipline.

I especially love his description of incongruities:

An incongruity is a discrepancy, a dissonance, between what is and what “ought” to be, or between what is and what everybody assumes it to be. It bespeaks an underlying “fault.” Such a fault is an invitation to innovate. It creates an instability in which quite minor efforts can move large masses and bring about a restructuring of the economic or social configuration.

The changes that underlie incongruity are changes ”within” an industry, a market, a process. The incongruity is thus clearly visible to the people within or close to the industry, market, or process; it is directly in front of their eyes. Yet it is often overlooked by the insiders, who tend to take it for granted.

Drucker’s focus on the difference between reality and perception is especially important. Many times I have failed to close this gap myself.

He continues with an classic example to illustrate his point:

The television in Japan was both an example of the unexpected success but also an example of the incongruity between perceived customer values and customer expectations. Matsushita (better know by its brand names Panasonic and National) owes its rise to a willingness to run with the unexpected success – the television set – in Japan.

Long before a famous Japanese industrialist told his American audience that the poor in his country would not buy a TV set because they could not afford it, the poor in the United States and Europe had already shown that TV satisfies expectations which have little to do with traditional economies. But this highly intelligent Japanese simply could not conceive that for customers – and especially poor customers – the TV set is not just a “thing.” It represents access to a new world; access, perhaps, to a whole new life.

Matsushita, however, was intelligent enough to accept that the Japanese farmers apparently did not know that they were too poor for television. What they knew was what the television offered them, for the first time, access to a big world. They could not afford television sets, but they were prepared to buy them anyhow and pay for them. Toshiba and Hitachi made better sets at the time, only they showed them on the Ginza in Tokyo and in the big-city department stores, making it pretty clear that farmers were not particularly welcome in such elegant surroundings.

Matshita when to the farmers and sold its televisions door-to-door, something no one in Japan had ever done before for anything more expensive than cotton pants or aprons.

If you would like to read this book, tell three people about my company’s latest project, WikiReader, and then send me an email. Before next week, I’ll chose a name from random, and send the winner my book.

Shipping, anywhere in the world, is on me.

Hemingway: The Old Man and the Sea

Book Club — September 19, 2010

My next book to giveaway is Ernest Hemingway‘s “The Old Man and the Sea“:

One of those rare novels where not a single word could have been removed. Hemingway received the Nobel Prize for Literature (largely) for this work of art. It’s truly a wonderful tale, that transcends time, about Santiago – an aging cuban fisherman – his struggle with a giant marlin, and his love affair with the ocean.

The best way for me to share this book is to quote some passages:

“Most people were heartless about turtles because a turtle’s heart will beat for hours after it has been cut up and butchered. But the old man thought, I have such a heart too.”

And:

“Then he began to pity the great fish that he had hooked. He is wonderful and strange and who knows how old he is, he thought. Never have I had such a strong fish nor one who acted so strangely. Perhaps he is too wise to jump. He could ruin me by jumping or by a wild rush. But perhaps he has been hooked many times before and he knows that this is how he should make his fight. He cannot know it is only one man against him, nor that it is an old man. But what a great fish he is and what will he bring in the market if the flesh is good. He took the bait like a male and he pulls like a male and his fight has no panic in it. I wonder if he has plans or if he is just as desperate as I am?”

And my favorite:

“Fish,’ he said softly, aloud, ‘I’ll stay with you until I am dead.”

If you are an avid reader, or if you have never truly enjoyed a great novel – this is the book for you. Short and sweet. A contemporary classic that will forever be know as one of the most simple, powerful examples of the English Language.

If you would like to read this book, tell three people about my company’s latest project, WikiReader, and then send me an email. Before next week, I’ll chose a name from random, and send the winner my book.

Shipping, anywhere in the world, is on me.


Congrats to Ben. Your name was drawn at random. The book’s in the mail!

© 2017 moskovich