8 Epic Computer Industry Failures

Anyone who's seen the movie, Talladega Nights, will recall the signature line, "If you ain't first, you're last." While this philosophy may serve a racecar driver well, it doesn't necessarily translate to success in IT innovation. Front-runners run the risk of "canary in a coal mine" syndrome, serving as a test-market study for other organizations to follow, avoiding unforeseen trapdoors that the pioneers exposed through their failures. In the book, The Limits of Strategy: Lessons in Leadership from the Computer Industry (iUniverse/Available now), author Ernest von Simson presents the history of the computer age in nearly epic literary style, weaving it together with lessons learned in other eras from historic industry legends, such as Henry Ford. Ultimately, von Simson's examination of the failures of a number of technology companies is meant to foster a greater understanding of success. Von Simson is an IT-industry research veteran who has worked alongside Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Scott McNealy, von Simson co-founded the Research Board and is now senior partner at Osrtiker von Simson. Here are lessons learned from his book that pinpoint eight common organizational behaviors/philosophies/patterns that often lead to failure, along with von Simson's take on the companies that stumbled and soared as the result of these business dynamics:

This article was originally published on 02-11-2011
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