August 14, 2006

Book Short: It Sounds Like it Should be About Monkeys, Doesn’t It?

Book Short:  It Sounds Like it Should be About Monkeys, Doesn’t It? The Long Tail, by Chris Anderson, is a must-read for anyone in the Internet publishing or marketing business.  There’s been so much written about it in the blogosphere already that I feel a little lame and “me too” for adding my $0.02, but I finally had a chance to get to it last week, and it was fantastic. The premise is that the collapsing production, distribution, and marketing costs of the Internet for certain types of products — mostly media at this point — have extended the traditional curve of available products and purchased products almost indefinitely so that it has, in statistical terms, a really long tail. So, for example, where Wal-Mart might only be able to carry (I’m making these numbers up, don’t have the book in front of me) 1,000 different CDs at any given moment in time on the shelf, iTunes or Rhapsody can carry 1,000,000 different CDs online.  And even though the numbers of units purchased are still greatest for the most popular items (the hits, the ones Wal-Mart stocks on shelf), the number of units purchased way down “in the tail of […]

August 11, 2004

Toys Wur Us?

(With full credit to my colleague Mike Mayor for the title) Today’s announcement that Toys R Us was probably going to sell its retail toys business to focus on the better performing and higher margin and less Wal-Mart-threatened Babies R Us business made me a little sad. It’s really no different than the way Sandy Weill turned American Can into Primerica asset management. Or how Jack Welch sold off GE’s small appliance business and built the company into a financial services powerhouse. Companies transform themselves all the time in search of better earnings and higher multiples. But although it’s “just […]