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Gain powerful insights for crafting strategy in technology-rich industries, from IT to finance, and healthcare to energy
Understand the massive social impacts of technology, and how today's societal divisions shape your opportunities to innovate
For everyone who must manage new technologies and respond to technological disruption
From biotech to nanotech to big data, the pace of technological disruption continues to accelerate. Now, leading business strategy expert Alfred Marcus offers powerful tools for anticipating technological change, and managing the threats and opportunities it poses.

Through insightful case studies, Marcus offers strategic advice for overcoming the pitfalls associated with deploying emerging technologies, or responding to others who use them to compete with you.

Marcus illuminates the ongoing interplay between technological change and wider societal trends, helping you recognize new opportunities created by these interactions, and maximize the upside-both for your company and the broader society.

Whether you're an executive or strategist, technical professional or MBA student, this guide will sharpen your focus on the future so you can navigate radical technological-driven change-wherever it leads.

Emerging technologies offer immense promise for generating growth, profitability, and prosperity. But they face major obstacles to commercialization, and have environmental and social costs that must be carefully managed to maximize the benefit and mitigate the harm.

This book is about the foresight and strategic actions required for these new technologies to play a positive rather than negative role. Alfred Marcus illuminates their potential, reviews the risky decisions needed to transform potential into reality, and discusses how technologies might be used to ameliorate social problems rather than exacerbate them.

Marcus begins with insights about the strategy of technological innovation, using case studies to show why these innovations can fail, and offering methods for dealing with uncertain outcomes. Next, using examples such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, he illustrates how to better manage the dangers associated with technologies. He then turns to technology's impact on three key societal conflicts: that between young and old, rich and poor, and the potential for scarcity and abundance in energy production. Finally, he focuses on how several pairs of companies, including Intel and AMD, Dell and Acer, and Amazon and Barnes & Noble, have managed technological disruption in their industries, and the difficult challenges they now face in overcoming these challenges.

Whether you're an executive, manager, or student, you'll gain powerful insights into innovation, strategy, execution, technology management, and the fastchanging business environment in which technological change takes place.


Exploring the horizon in information technology, medicine, genetics, energy, and materials


Managing the uncertainties and dangers of technological investment and deployment


How the social environment shapes technological impacts and opportunities


How enterprises have responded to technological change, and what they might do next

Introduction 1

The Next Set of Breakthroughs 2

The Information Revolution 2

Medical Technologies 2

Genetics 2

Alternative Energy 3

Artificial Intelligence 3

Material Sciences and Nanotechnology 3

What This Book Is About 3

Part I: Technology and Strategy 4

Part II: Managing Danger 5

Part III: The Environment of Technology 5

Part IV: Coping with Technological Disruptions 6

Endnotes 8


Chapter 1: Technological Disruptions 11

The Powers of the Mind 11

Information Technology (IT) 12

Medical Technologies 13

Genetics 15

Alternative Energy 16

Artificial Intelligence, Material Sciences, and Nanotechnology 16

The Challenge of Commercialization 18

Endnotes 18

Chapter 2: Commercialization's Obstacles 19

Fumbling the Future at Xerox: IT 19

Medical Technology: Cochlear Implants 20

Basic Research in Diverse Labs 21

Breakthroughs in Other Disciplines 21

A Highly Committed Champion 22

Multiple Developmental Paths 22

Private Firms' Failure to Cooperate 22

Professional Endorsement 22

FDA Approval 23

Lack of Enthusiasm from the User Community 23

High Costs 23

Safety and Efficacy Concerns 23

Auxiliary Services 24

Withdrawal 24

New Entrants 24

Genetics: Agricultural Productivity 24

Sustainability as a Corporate Goal 25

Opposition 25

Rapid U.S. Market Penetration 25

More Promised Progress 26

Government Restrictions 26

Environmentalists' Criticism 26

Competition from DuPont 27

Alternative Energy: The Electric Car 27

Less Pollution and Foreign Oil 28

Range and Fossil Fuels 28

1990s' Failure 29

Hybrid Successes 29

Weak Plug-In Sales 29

Battery Subsidies from the U.S. Government 29

A Solution from Tesla and Panasonic 30

Not Yet Affordable 30

A New Business Model 31

The Slow and Arduous Path to Commercialization 31

Why Xerox Missed Its Opportunity: Game Theory 32

Setbacks at Many Points 33

Uncertain Government Support 34

Project Management Insufficient to Overcome These Problems 35

The Inclination to Undertake Safe Projects 36

Technologies Push and Markets Pull 36

Determination, Will, and Persistence 37

Endnotes 37

Chapter 3: Hedging the Uncertainty 39

Trends 40

Expert Opinion 40

Historical Analogies 41

Industry Analysis 42

Scenarios 42

Surprises 43

Taking Notice of the Periphery 43

Romances, Tragedies, and Comedies 44

The Narrative Details 44

Applying Scenario Logic to Technology Commercialization 45

Strategic Adjustments 46

Hedging 47

Gamble on the Most Probable Outcome 47

Take the Robust Route 48

Delay Until Further Clarity Emerges 49

Commit with Fallbacks 49

Shape the Future 50

Conclusion 50

Endnotes 50


Chapter 4: Dealing with Danger 55

Bhopal: What Went Wrong 55

Highly Toxic Chemicals 55

Weak Infrastructure 56

An Uncontrolled Explosion 56

Nonfunctioning Backups 57

Trapped Victims 57

Organizational Shortcomings 57

Warnings Ignored 58

The Price of the Accident 58

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: What Went Wrong 59

Beyond Petroleum 59

Tar Sands Processing 59

Explosion in Texas City and Oil Leaks in Alaska 59

The Spill 60

The Many Mistakes 60

Inherently Dangerous Technologies 61

Dilemmas in Managing Dangerous Technologies 63

Individual Cognitive Limits 64

Experts' Cognitive Limits 64

Organizations' Cognitive Limits 64

How Much a Life Is Worth 65

Inferences from Animal Studies to Humans 65

Conclusion 66

Endnotes 66

Chapter 5: Laws of Liability 69

Vioxx: What Went Wrong? 69

Merck's Positive Reputation 70

The Search for a Blockbuster Drug Without Gastrointestinal Complications 70

Early Warnings 70

Failure to Communicate 71

The FDA's Required Warning 71

More Criticism 72

Voluntary Recall 72

Thousands of Suits 72

Criminal Charges 73

Johnson & Johnson's Hip Replacement: What Went Wrong? 73

A Paragon of Social Responsibility 74

The Acquisition of DePuy 74

All-Metal Replacements 74

Design Problems 75

FDA Investigations 75

A Voluntary Recall 75

Suits Against the Company 76

The Reimbursement Plan 76

The Laws of Liability 77

Evolution of the Law 77

Classic Tort Law 78

Assumption of Risk 78

Punitive Action 78

Strict Liability 79

The Justification for Strict Liability 79

Further Movement from a Fault-Based System 80

Refinements of the Laws of Liability 81

Conclusion 81

Endnotes 82


Chapter 6: Old, Young, and Global Security 87

The Rise of the Elderly 87

Declining Fertility 88

Economic Impacts 90

Technology to Assist the Elderly 91

A Cure for Alzheimer's 91

Reversing Aging 93

Among the Young: Hope and Disillusion 96

Meaningful Work 97

What Next 100

Diminishing Youth Bulges 102

Technology to Combat Terror 106

Conclusion 108

Endnotes 108

Chapter 7: Rich, Poor, and Global Inequality 111

Trends 111

Within Country Gaps 112

Between-Country Gaps 112

The U.S. Wealth Gap 113

The Rise of Neoliberalism 115

Technology at the Top of the Pyramid 117

Sophisticated Models 117

What Hedge Funds Do 118

Only for the Already Wealthy 119

Renaissance Technologies 120

Technology at the Bottom of the Pyramid 121

Telecommunications 122

Potable Water 123

Health Services 124

Nutrition and Crop Protection 124

Energy 125

Critiques 125

Conclusion 126

Endnotes 127

Chapter 8: Abundance, Scarcity, and Global Sustainability 129

Fossil Fuels 130

Oil Price Declines 130

Hydraulic Fracking 132

Tar Sands 133

Offshore Recovery 134

Cleaner Energy 135

Building Energy 136

Industrial and Commercial 138

Solar 138

Wind 140

Energy Storage 142

Biofuels 143

Conclusion 145

Endnotes 145


Chapter 9: Missing the Boat on Mobile Technology: Intel and AMD 149

The Mobile Revolution 149

The Battles Between Intel and AMD 152

Memory 152

Microprocessors 153

The Sub-Zero Segment 153

Speed and Continued Price Wars 154

Branching Out 155

The Hammer 156

Global Antitrust 157

Graphics and Other Products 157

Divesting Manufacturing 158

Searching for New Markets 158

ARM Architecture 159

Mobile 159

Gaming 159

Mounting Mobile Losses 160

New Leadership at AMD 160

Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) 162

The Internet of Things (IOT) 162

Smart Glasses and Augmented Reality 163

Risks Ahead 164

Conclusion 164

Glossary of Computer Terminology 165

Endnotes 165

Chapter 10: From Mass Customizing to Mass Commodity: Dell and Acer 167

Financial Woes 168

An Industry in Decline 170

The Fat Years: Dell's Ascent 170

A Competency in Mass Customization 171

Gateway Abandons the Direct Model 173

The Lean Years: Michael Dell's Resignation 174

Acer's Acquisition of Gateway 176

Dell's Plans for a Recovery 177

The Enterprise Market 181

Becoming a Private Company 182

Acer's Efforts at Revitalization 183

Notebooks 183

Smartphones 183

Free Cloud 185

IOT 185

Conclusion 185

Endnotes 186

Chapter 11: Finding Growth and Profitability in Bookselling: Barnes & Noble and Amazon 189

Barnes & Noble and the Superstore 189

Amazon and Internet Commerce 191

Amazon's Reinvention 192

Barnes & Noble's Focus on Books 194

Sinking Profits 195

Amazon's Fluid Identity 195

Profiting from the Cloud 197

Barnes & Noble's Decision to Split Up 198

Spinning Off the Nook 198

Spinning Off the College Division 199

How Attractive Was Bookselling? 200

Sales Trends 200

Reading Habits 201

Leisure Time Choices 201

Digital Devices 202

The Publishers 202

Wholesale 203

The Big Five 203

The Spat with Amazon 204

Conclusion 205

Endnotes 205

Chapter 12: Escaping the Middle: Best Buy and Charles Schwab 209

The Evolution of Best Buy 210

Concept One: 1983-1989 211

Concept Two: 1990-2001 211

Concept Three: 2002-2007 212

The Aftermath of the Financial Meltdown 214

The Evolution of Charles Schwab 214

Discounting 214

High Net Worth Clients 215

A Category of One 215

The Affluent of the Future 216

Following Customers 216

New Challenges 217

Competition in Consumer Electronics 217

Online 217

Showrooming 218

Competition Among Discount Brokers 218

Innovation Dilemmas 219

Major Industry Players 219

Best Buy's Comeback Plans 220

Transforming E-Commerce 220

Cost Savings and Product Innovation 221

Enhancing the Internet Platform: Charles Schwab 222

Ranking the Platforms 223

The Robo-Advisor 223

Conclusion 224

Endnotes 225

Chapter 13: Content for a New Age: Disney and Time Warner 229

Vertical Integration: Disney 230

Vertical Integration: Time Warner 231

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Divestitures 232

The Disney-Capital Cities Merger 235

ABC 236

The Iger Era 237

The AOL-Time Warner Merger 237

Trying to Revive AOL 238

Slimming Down 239

HBO's Edginess and Success 240

Disney's Dominance 241

Cable Channels 241

The Studios 242

Internet Initiatives and Cable's Abandonment 243

Losing Young People 244

Conclusion 245

Endnotes 246

Final Thoughts 249

The Future of Technology Management and the Business Environment:

Lessons on Innovation, Disruption, and Strategy Execution 249

Index 251