Strategy First: How Businesses Win Big

Strategy First: How Businesses Win Big

by Brad Chase
Strategy First: How Businesses Win Big

Strategy First: How Businesses Win Big

by Brad Chase


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Business Success Requires Strategy First

In Strategy First, Brad Chase, the mind behind some of Microsoft’s largest and most successful initiatives, explains why building robust strategies is the imperative to business success. Chase leads readers through his easy-to-use strategy model, Strategy =  E x mc2, which teaches readers the art of strategy—how to build and execute winning strategies relative to the competition. To supplement the model, Chase provides 5 key tips to strategy prosperity and over 50 examples from a broad range of businesses that help the reader think about how they can use his Strategy First toolkit. The author will inspire readers to examine the effectiveness of their current strategies, using the model that has served him in his distinguished career. 

Chase began his Microsoft tenure in 1987, where his award-winning marketing campaign promoting Windows 95 broke numerous records and his efforts as’s leader prompted a turnaround of the site’s success. Chase ended his tenure at Microsoft in 2002 and since then has served as an advisor and/or board member to many companies, such as GE, Brooks, Expedia, and the Boys and Girls Clubs. Chase has also shared his Strategy First approach across the nation through speeches to executives at large and small businesses, incubators, and students at topflight MBA programs and at conferences.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626347120
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Publication date: 06/16/2020
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Brad Chase has had a broad and extensive business career. He has advised leaders of businesses of many different sizes, from startups to Fortune 500 firms, and in many different kinds of markets, from mobile and education to enterprises and consumer services. Some of the companies he has worked with include GE, Telstra, VMware, Mozy (a subsidiary of EMC), Blucora, Sonos, Vizrea, and Crisply. He has also held leadership positions on the boards of many companies and nonprofit organizations, including Expedia, Ooyala, DreamBox, Brooks, Boys and Girls Clubs of King County, and The Nature Conservancy. As a public speaker, Brad has spoken about his particular theory on business strategy, Strategy First, to executives at large and small businesses, to incubators, at conferences, and to students at topflight MBA programs.  His first book, Strategy First, will launch June 16th, 2020. 

Before consulting, board work, and speaking, Brad spent 14 years at Microsoft finishing his tenure as a Senior Vice President and Executive Officer managing a team of over 4,000. From April 1999 until mid-2002, Brad led’s transformation from an unsuccessful internet service to the worldwide traffic and search leader. Under his leadership at MSN, search traffic, revenue, and internal team morale all more than doubled.

Prior to MSN, Brad led marketing for the client and server business for Windows 2000, Windows 98, and Internet Explorer (IE) versions one through five. Brad’s marketing team introduced a new, more profitable product strategy for the server and client businesses, successfully launched Windows 98 and Windows 2000, and helped IE become the market leader. Brad also developed and led the marketing strategy, execution, and worldwide, record-breaking launch of Windows 95, which is often considered the event and product that ushered computers and software into the mainstream. Brad and his team won numerous awards for the Windows 95 marketing effort. Brad also oversaw the launches for both MS-DOS 5 and MS-DOS 6 and was the first marketing leader for Microsoft Office.

In addition to his nonprofit board work and personal giving, Brad has donated tens of thousands of dollars to charitable causes through his side company Entspire, maker of the fun and fascinating origins game, Orijinz,.

Prior to joining Microsoft in 1987, Brad worked as a sales representative for Boise Cascade's office products division. He holds an MBA from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management and a BS degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

More about Brad can be found on his website:

Table of Contents

Foreword xv

Introduction: Two of the Most Successful Business Bets in History 1

Part I Key Elements of a Successful Strategy 15

Chapter 1 The Strategy Imperative 17

Chapter 2 Scoring Your Strategy 39

Part II Activating the Key Strategy Elements 61

Chapter 3 Seek Change 63

Chapter 4 Mine the Gaps 85

Chapter 5 Adapt to the Tides 107

Chapter 6 Expand the Universe 143

Chapter 7 Climb Short Walls; Build Tall Wall 159

Part III Exponential Execution Tips 185

Chapter 8 Execution 187

Epilogue: Keeping Strategy Central to Your Success 209

Acknowledgments 221

Notes 225

About the Author 251

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

''Brad Chase is an early Strategy First mentor of mine. He taught me the fundamentals of Strategy = E x mc2, which have helped guide me as I've founded, run, and advised many technology businesses. I'll bet he can help you, too.''
—Rich Barton, CEO, Zillow Group

''Effective, real-world storytelling enables Strategy First to drive home the importance of establishing strategic priorities before taking action—a highly practical reference for any serious business leader.''
—Jim Attwood, Managing Director, The Carlyle Group

''A successful strategist isn't afraid to make big bets—because behind every move is forethought, evaluation, and planning. I've known Brad for decades, and seen firsthand how his inventive model has driven success for some of Microsoft's most important initiatives. Strategy First is full of incredible advice on understanding opportunities and competition from a pioneer in his field.''
—Melissa Waggener Zorkin, Global CEO and Founder, WE Communications

''Strategy First captures thousands of hours of experience in a couple hundred pages, offering instantly useful frameworks for focusing on what matters most: strategy.''
—Elena Donio, CEO, Axiom

“Brad is a long-time colleague. This book helps you think about your business in the most important way—strategically. It's full of compelling real-life examples that you'll enjoy reading and learn from.''
—Brad Silverberg, Co-founder Fuel Capital, Co-founder Ignition Partners, and former Senior Vice President Microsoft

''Using a clever twist of Einstein's E = mc2 formula, Brad Chase delivers essential elements for business leaders seeking the most relevant, yet elusive success factor of all . . . strategy. Filled with the captivating stories of some of the most successful strategic moves in business history, you'll find practical reminders and inspiration on each page for squaring up on your customer focus to win. No matter the size of your business, this read serves as a healthy reminder that winning big does not happen by chance; it requires calculated actions to begin with.''
—Kurt Fraese, President, Fraese and Associates, and former CEO, GeoEngineers, Inc.

Strategy First is a fun, important read that serves as a guidebook for any business leader.''
—John Oppenheimer, Founder and CEO, Columbia Hospitality, Inc.

''It's probably universally accepted that failing to plan is really planning to fail, yet planning to win is still a neglected exercise. Brad Chase's Strategy First offers the first truly practical approach to strategy development—a method that is simple, effective, and sustainable.''
—Bill Hathaway, Founder and CEO, MoreSteam

''Brad Chase's Strategy First is an ingenious take on a complex topic. His strategy formula is easy to remember and to apply, and the many examples he cites will make a long-lasting imprint on the reader. If you are, or want to be, in business, treat yourself to this book. You'll carry its message with you long after you've read it.''
—Jim Horgdal, President, Brink’s Global Service USA

''Brad's Strategy Firstapproach is 'ready to use,' practical strategy advice from a guy who has led, guided, and observed successful strategies across a wide spectrum of companies and products. You can put it to work right away.''
—Pete Higgins, Partner, Second Avenue Partners, and former Group Vice President, Microsoft

''Whether your business is just a concept or a start-up or an emerging enterprise or even an incumbent—read this book! Because inside you will find insight, reflection, and wisdom to get you focused on what really matters—your strategy.''
—Brendon Riley, Chief Executive, Telstra InfraCo

''With Strategy First, Brad Chase provides a practical formula, principles and perspectives to enable informed decision making. Coupled with stories and examples, Brad shares a portfolio of tools that will be valuable for leaders across multiple industries.'' —Clyde Walker, Board Chair, First Choice Health

''As a member of the Brooks Board, Brad brought this powerful framework for building competitive brand strategy to us at an important time in our journey. The clarity of thinking he brings to solving the customer puzzle is refreshing.''
—Jim Weber, CEO, Brooks Running Company

''Brad's new book is a great read, but particularly so for anyone who wants gain a creative perspective on strategic thinking. With his riff on Einstein's theory of relatively, Brad smartly reminds us what matters most in any strategy: the value your customer finds in your product. After outlining the rest of the model, he brings the concepts to life with many relevant and familiar examples across a wide range of industries. Along the way, the reader will get a chance to gain an insider's view of some of the biggest strategic bets Microsoft ever made.''
—Charlie Ball, Executive Vice President, Holland America Group

''Brad Chase's sharp-witted storytelling underscores effective strategizing for a new era.''
—Deanna Oppenheimer, Founder, CameoWorks and BoardReady

''Having worked with Brad at Microsoft, it's great to see that he has decided to share his Strategy First model with everyone. It proved to be a game-changer for Microsoft. It will be for you, too. Don't miss out!''
—Tony Audino, Founder and CEO, Conenza, and Founder, Microsoft Alumni Network

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