Winners and Losers: Creators and Casualties in the Age of the Internet

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The story of why and how some businesses thrive—while others die—in today’s ferociously competitive online era

Winners & Losers tells the stories of some of the most innovative businesses of recent times, explaining how a few succeeded in creating and dominating entirely new markets while so many others failed. It shows how Amazon and Google rose from nothing to enormous heights while IBM, Kodak, and AOL plummeted from them; how Nokia bounced from near bankruptcy to global ...

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Overview

The story of why and how some businesses thrive—while others die—in today’s ferociously competitive online era

Winners & Losers tells the stories of some of the most innovative businesses of recent times, explaining how a few succeeded in creating and dominating entirely new markets while so many others failed. It shows how Amazon and Google rose from nothing to enormous heights while IBM, Kodak, and AOL plummeted from them; how Nokia bounced from near bankruptcy to global leadership; and it charts the incredible rise, fall, and rise again of Apple.

Kieran Levis explains why the digital revolution has meant so much to creative destruction; how unfamiliar competitors, disruptive technologies, and bizarre business models have brought down apparently unassailable market leaders; how some winners got such a grip on customers that they took almost all of them; and how meteoric success leads to hubris and often nemesis.

Told with clarity and wit, these dramatic stories reveal what it was about a few winners that enabled them to hold onto their prizes, while the absence of these qualities crippled the losers.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Full of drama and insider perspective, this business title will wake executives from their tech-age stupor with a revealing look at those masterminding the information economy; from Kodak (facing obsolescence) and Xerox (sterling research but lackluster results) to IBM and Apple, the spectrum of tech companies is dazzling and the personalities behind them is at times unbelievable. Levis, a writer and new media/tech consultant, knows how to cut to the heart of every matter. Examining two companies at a time (Amazon and Webvan, Netscape and AOL, BSkyB and Nokia), he delves into the nuances of useful developments like "disruptive technology" while zipping through biographies of central players, including their dreams for and actual handling of growing companies. Many of these stories come down to a conflict between emerging tech genius and practical management: "iconic entrepreneur" Jim Clark, who formed Silicon Graphics in 1981, "simply wanted to be a one-man force for creative destruction... Who then was actually going to build these businesses, if not the despised professional managers?" Illuminating the ways a healthy balance was struck at contemporary successes like Google, Levis has produced an important and exciting guide to navigating the online business-scape.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal
British management consultant Levis believes that studying company histories will generate key questions about business performance and will provide illuminating answers, thereby identifying major patterns. His is not a straightforward comparative approach to business history. Instead, Levis discusses economic issues and philosophical approaches, relying heavily upon Joseph A. Schumpeter's theory of creative destruction. This theory, put forward in Schumpeter's Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (1943), describes the cycle of entrepreneurial innovation and growth that eventually ends in failure after the emergence of new competitive threats. VERDICT Although Levis provides several intriguing stories, such as the development of Encyclopaedia Britannica, he deals primarily with corporations with large market capitalizations, such as Amazon, eBay, IBM, and Google, whose successes and failures have been covered in many other studies. Nevertheless, the book may be useful to some general readers with a strong interest in business and economics. An optional purchase.—Caroline Geck, MLS, Somerset, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590202753
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 11/1/2009
  • Pages: 417
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 1.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Kieran Levis heads Cortona Consulting, which develops marketing and business strategies in new media and technology markets. He writes for the Financial Times and other publications. This is his second book.
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