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It's Not the Big That Eat the Small... It's the Fast That Eat the Slow: How to Use Speed as a Competitive Tool in Business

It's Not the Big That Eat the Small... It's the Fast That Eat the Slow: How to Use Speed as a Competitive Tool in Business

by Jason Jennings, Laurence Haughton

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Conventional wisdom once told us big companies are unbeatable... and eat smaller competitors for breakfast.

Not anymore. These days It's Not the Big that Eat the Small... It's the FAST that Eat the Slow!

Jason Jennings and Laurence Haughton discovered what separates today's icons of speed from


Conventional wisdom once told us big companies are unbeatable... and eat smaller competitors for breakfast.

Not anymore. These days It's Not the Big that Eat the Small... It's the FAST that Eat the Slow!

Jason Jennings and Laurence Haughton discovered what separates today's icons of speed from everybody else.

They asked questions like:

  • What is the difference between speed and haste?
  • Where does business go to spot trends before the competition?
  • How can leaders help people stop dreading high velocity and rediscover the thrill of deciding, acting and staying fast?

And studied the world's fastest companies like:

  • H&M Europe's fast fashion phenomenon now poised to threaten apparel stores in America.
  • AOL who gulped down Netscape and Time Warner in record time.
  • Charles Schwab the new dominant name in discount and on-line financial services.

The results are in this sensational book... a national bestseller, translated all over the globe and universally praised.

Would you like to make speed a competitive tool in your business? Here's your roadmap!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
What do successful companies master that other ventures cannot? They are ready to face the 21st-century economy with an ability to adjust to change and a constant concern with providing first-rate customer service. To find these companies, the authors traveled around the world to learn these secrets from such winning firms as H&M clothing stores, Charles Schwab, Hotmail and Telepizza. Among the smart strategies are spotting trends, testing products and getting to market quickly. The authors offer lots of tips, interspersed with anecdotes about both successful and failing companies. While the information is excellent and the presentation clear, the content doesn't lend itself easily to audio. The authors are fond of lists, such as "10 steps" obviously, people listening while driving or commuting will have to replay these sections if they want to take notes. In spite of this drawback, entrepreneurs willing to put in the effort will get some practical help from this book. (June) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.65(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Fast Thinking

Speed, merely for the sake of moving fast, without a destination in mind, is haste. Eventually, out of control, speed will land you in big trouble. But imagine how many more races you'd win if you had a big head start.

Think about the advantage you'd have if you knew what the future was going to look like and were able to spot trends before the competition. Consider the power of being able to think about things quickly and accurately, tackling in minutes the same big issues and questions the competition would be processing for weeks.

Imagine for a moment the exhilaration of working in an environment where politics and palace intrigue were a thing of the past and the best idea truly wins. Such an organization would be much faster than its rivals. In this part, you'll learn how the fastest companies in the world think fast because of their ability to:

  • Anticipate.
  • Spot Trends.
  • Put Every Idea Through The "Grinder."
  • Let THe Best Idea Win.


Anticipation: expecting; being aware of something in advance; to regard as possible.

The ability to anticipate is one of the key ingredients of efficient speed. Chances are that if you just take off without a clear view, not knowing where you're headed, you'll end up panting, out of breath, and no better off than when you began. Maybe you'll be worse off for the exhaustion.

How can you select the right destination? How can you do a better job of anticipating what might happen, seeing the outcomes, consequences, and results in advance?

Anexperiment from The Economist, titled, "Garbage In-Garbage Out: Economic Forecasting, The Accuracy of the Dustmen's Predictions," puts the need for anticipation in perspective:

In 1984, a questionnaire was sent to four ex-Finance Ministers, four Chairmen of multinational firms, four students at Oxford and four London Dustmen (referred to in the U.S. as Garbage men).

Ten years later the predictions were compared to the actual results and the British Garbage men outperformed the ex-Finance Ministers and the Oxford students while equaling the foresight of the multinational business executives on a number of key economic predictions. (The Economist, June 3, 1995)

The garbagemen did a better job of anticipating what would happen than the government officials and Oxford students. Knowing what things are going to look like in advance can help you make the right decisions. Anticipation is natural. Everyone does it every day.

We anticipate what the weather will be when we decide which clothing to wear. Moms and dads anticipate the family's transportation needs when deciding which vehicle to purchase. We even anticipate what kind of day we'll have at the office based on the gruffness or friendliness of the boss's morning greeting (or lack thereof).

Some people anticipate better than others to the extent of impacting our lifestyle. In 1953, C. A. Swanson and Sons, a poultry producer, was stuck with 260 tons of frozen turkey and insufficient storage room. They kept moving it around the country in freezer boxcars. Jerry Thomas, a salesman for the company, was on a business trip, noticed the three-compartment aluminum trays used to serve airline meals, and an idea clicked. Observing that the television was fast replacing the fireplace as the centerpiece of most American homes, he anticipated a society where the family would begin eating in the living room in front of the television. He wondered: What if you took that frozen turkey, put it into those aluminum trays alongside some stuffing and potatoes, and called them TV dinners? A half century and 6 billion dinners later, Swanson still sells more than 150 million TV dinners each year. Jerry Thomas had anticipated correctly.

In 1990, Leopoldo Fernando Pujals, a sales manager for Johnson & Johnson in Spain, began taking notice of the droves of women entering the Spanish workforce and reasoned they'd be too tired to cook at the end of the day. He anticipated the end of siestas, late-night dinners, and heavy Spanish cuisine and saw a need for home-delivered food. He founded Telepizza and ten years later was presiding over an empire with 1,000 restaurants worth $2 billion.

In 1992, Steve Case became CEO of AOL, a fledgling online service provider that counted as its customers geeks who spent their free time in the basement playing computer games. While the company's total number of customers could be counted in the thousands, Case envisioned a new world. He anticipated a planet where personal computers were as common as telephones and televisions, and, less than ten years later, the company he'd built from scratch gobbled up media giant Time Warner in a transaction valued at $166 billion (Dow Jones Business Wire, January 10, 2000).

Sabeer Bhatia was an Indian immigrant in the United States who spent his days watching other young computer engineers grow wealthy through their involvement in Web-based start-ups. He and his future business partner Jack Clark wanted to be rich as well. In 1996, determined to launch a company, Bhatia and Clark began spending all their free time writing the code for Java-Soft, their intended product. The duo quickly became frustrated by their inability to transfer data files between them and wondered how they could get around the fire walls designed to keep outsiders away from their respective employers' computer systems. Wouldn't it be great, they reasoned, if there were a way for everyone to have a private e-mail box? They anticipated a world in which everyone would have an e-mail address. Twenty-two months later, they sold their company -- Hotmail -- which by then had more than 20 million Microsoft clients and more than $400 million in Microsoft shares.

Unfortunately, most people limit exercising their anticipatory skills to daily matters such as food, clothing, and personal finances. What might happen if you could anticipate as well as Jerry Thomas...

It's Not the Big That Eat the Small...It's the Fast that Eat the Slow. Copyright © by Jason Jennings. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Jason Jennings became the world's youngest owner of a radio station when, at age twenty-one, he purchased KEOS In Flagstaff, Arizona. With speed and success that became legendary in the industry, he used his Innovative approach to business to propel his radio station group to the top of the Industry. Today, his company, Jennings Partners, is an International consultation practice that serves retail, manufacturing, distribution, and communications clients. He and his partner live in Tiburon, California.

Laurence Haughton left Newstalk radio in San Francisco in 1976 and joined Jason Jennings. His mission: to build a media sales consulting practice from the ground up using the unique insights Jason had discovered in his first radio station. The new company's client list and revenues grew quickly as Haughton's talent for marketing strategies and sales tactics connected with decision-makers. By the end of the second year, Haughton had propelled the Jennings organization past all other media consultants in America.

For twenty years Haughton has tested and modified every strategy and tactic to make sure the Jennings consulting practice had the depth of real world experiences that so many consultants lack. Along the way he has equally immersed himself in the academic study of business disciplines believing that "even a dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant will see further than the giant by himself."

Today Jennings and Haughton consult internationally and have been applauded by clients representing every industry classification, from all over North America, Australia-Asia, and Europe.

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