The Second Curve

The Second Curve

by Ian Morrison, G. Scmid


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—George Harvey, Chairman, President, and CEO Pitney Bowes, Inc.

In The Second Curve, Ian Morrison creates a revolutionary new business model that can be used no matter what the market upheaval. His theory is deceptively simple: you must ride the first curve—a company's traditional business carried out in a familiar corporate climate—to the all-important second curve. The second curve is the future—the new technologies, new consumers, and new markets that companies must command to survive and thrive.

In the many companies Morrison profiles, leaders have learned to master both the first and second curves, to anticipate the rate and pace of change, to know when and how to jump from the first curve to the second, and whether and when to play both. This book sets forth all the crucial strategies and explains how businesses can apply them to rapidly changing situations.

"In a highly readable manner, Ian Morrison has pinpointed the key strategic problems facing our company and many others. His broad-ranging examples and insightful analyses are relevant throughout our organization."
—Peter Bury, President and CEO
Cable and Wireless Innovations, Inc.

"This is a book for anyone trying to figure out how to make money on the Internet, what country to invest in, or how to earn profits beyond the next fiscal year."
—World Business

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345407887
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/13/1997
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.53(w) x 8.26(h) x 0.81(d)

About the Author

Perhaps no one has more experience--and success--in long-term forecasting and planning than author Ian Morrison. Serving literally hundreds of corporate clients over the years, he has won recognition for his analysis of social and economic trends. The author of numerous books and articles, a sought-after lecturer and consultant, and president of the Institute for the Future, Ian carries an impressive resume.

The Institute for the Future (commonly called the IFTF) is, in Ian's words, "a unique organization." He describes it as "a think tank structured as a non-profit organization and dedicated to helping organizations, both public and private, think systematically about the long run." Indeed, its list of clients is formidable. In 1985, Ian came to IFTF to serve as a research director; after five years, he was selected to be its president, a position he holds today. Over the years, he has advised such companies as Chase Manhattan, IBM, Volvo, Bristol-Meyer Squibb, and Cable and Wireless.

In keeping with the far-reaching work Ian conducts today, he boasts a rich educational background: a Ph.D. in urban studies from the University of British Columbia, a degree in urban planning from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England, and an M.A. in geography from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Ian has coauthored several books and contributed to many others, including Future Tense: The Business Realities of the Next Ten Years (William Morrow, 1994) and Reforming the System: Containing Health Care Costs in an Era of Universal Coverage (Faulkner & Gray, 1992). He also has coauthored numerous journal articles for publications such as Encyclopedia Britannica, Across the Board, The British Medical Journal, New England Journal of Medicine, and Journal of the American Medical Association.

Ian Morrison is a member of the Corporate Advisory Boards of Bristol-Myers Squibb and Interim HealthCare. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Interim Services, a leading temporary-services company.

Read an Excerpt

The individual meets the future: An excerpt from THE SECOND CURVE

Current Career versus Future Career

The second curve is a little scary. If you see it coming at you, it can mean big changes, and no matter how many opportunities you see in that emerging second curve, it's still alien and new, and it can be frightening. For managers and employees alike, the second curve is tough to deal with. As Random House CEO Alberto Vitale says, "Now everyone has two jobs." You have to be working your second curve career even though you're committed on the first.

For the manager, there are those gnawing feelings in the gut. Is this a real second curve? Do we really have what it takes to pull it off? Am I the right leader for the second curve? What happens if we fail--to the company, and to me? In short, the second curve tests leadership abilities, and it demands vision, persuasive powers, and courage. You have to be very cool and a little bit nuts....

But these pressures--on managers and workers--shouldn't lead to despair. All of the growth--personally, professionally, financially--will be on the second curve. With a little luck and a lot of common sense, you'll be a winner. And in that spirit, here are some tips for managing second-curve careers:

Build on what you have. It's nice to reinvent yourself, but build your new career on existing interests and competencies. Connect with the second curve through one or more of your current strengths.

Bring the two-curve model home. If you have a spouse, a partner, a significant other, you have an opportunity to work the second curve as a team. The home-based business. The second-curve start-up. Theflaky new assignment.

Listen to Nike. Sometimes Just Do It is the best advice. Nobody knows exactly how the second curve will play out in your business. Look for the signs and signals described in this book, and then just do it.

Faith and loyalty vs. hope and courage. The key attributes of first-curve success are faith and loyalty. Faith that the company can deliver what it says in terms of products and services and loyalty to that organization. The second curve is about hope and is certainly about courage. The second curve is a pretty scary place because, as we have laid out, uncertainty abounds and the technology, the infrastructure, and the volatility of the market stretch the capacity of individuals to believe in themselves and the future.

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