February 2, 2010

News & Opinion: The More You Know

By: Sally Haldorson @ 7:11 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

"The More You Know" is a well-known public service campaign. "The more you know, the more you know" is a oft-used phrase touting the importance of learning, of having endless curiosity about the world. Todd Sattersten (our former president and continued friend of the company) wrote a new e-book, Fixed to Flexible, which offers everything you need to know about "cost, price, margin and the options available to the 21st century business."

Whether you are a slash careerist trying to start-up your own online design company while remaining committed to your work as a lawyer, or you are a small-business owner trying to go toe-to-toe with some giants in your category, you already know that you must first structure your budget by estimating your costs and determining what to charge your customer. But what was once a pretty straightforward calculation has become far more complicated in the 21st century. Todd explains this shift well in his introduction:

Fifty years ago, most of your choices were fixed. There was one grocery store in town with two brands of flour. Your television had a dial with ample room on its face for the one of three networks you’d be watching that night. Go back a little further and you can find names like Rockefeller and Carnegie who amassed fortunes by controlling oil and steel options.

Now the baking aisle stocks dozens of types of flour from all-purpose to self-rising to the oxymoronic white-wheat. Your television now needs a second or even third electronic box to manage the hundreds of networks and to record what you can’t watch in person. And the lessons of steelmakers were picked up by software developers, but the story seems to be ending differently.

Fixed has been replaced with flexible. Control of a product category, distribution channel or branding message no longer exists. While this is being heralded as a boon for customers, companies have been slower to adapt to the new terrain. Companies with multi-national presence and individuals with multitudes of projects both need to create a new set of strategies.

Understanding how both technology and human progress has drastically reduced costs, understanding the role of free in garnering paying customers, and understanding your competitors' moves in this Wild, Wild West of business is imperative to your success. Todd's e-book is at once an instructive overview of the basics and a valuable deconstruction of the complexities of doing business in the 21st century. We heartily encourage you to download it, because, after all, the more you know, the more you know. And in this business climate, being aware of all the options is the first step in making the right choices.

About Sally Haldorson

Sally Haldorson's job as 800-CEO-READ’s General Manager is to make 800-CEO-READ a great place to work for our employees, and a consistently high-performing customer service organization for our clients, authors, and our partners in the publishing industry. In addition to her General Manager duties ensuring collaboration, integration, and quality, she reads, writes, reviews, curates, and edits for the company. Helping craft The 100 Best Business Books of All Time used parts of both skill sets. Outside of work, she is most likely to be found hitting a tennis ball around or hanging out with her boys (husband, child, dog) at home.