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Blur: The Speed of Change in the Connected Economy

Stan Davis & Christopher Meyer

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Format: Paperback 265 pages
ISBN: 9780446675338
Publisher: Warner Books, Incorporated
Pub. Date: February 1999

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Description and Reviews
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Welcome to the new economy - a world where the rate of change is so fast it's only a blur, where the clear lines distinguishing buyer from seller, product from service, employee from entrepreneur are disappearing. To profit from these revolutionary patterns of business, you need a dynamic guide to the new economy. You need Blur. In this book, Stan Davis and Chris Meyer deliver more than a guided tour to these momentous shifts. They offer readers a working model to illustrate and benefit from the new rules of the connected economy, where advantage is temporary and nothing is fixed in time or space. Showcasing the practices of dozens of enterprises exploring the new frontiers of business - from Amazon.com to DreamWorks SKG to MBNA America - Davis and Meyer build a new framework for delivering and capturing value, evaluating success, developing strategy, and managing organizations in an economic world no longer determined by static measures of supply and demand. BLUR provides a lens for bringing the emerging economic landscape into focus - a world in which change is constant; knowledge and imagination are more valuable than physical capital; products and services are blended as "offers"; transactions give way to "exchanges"; and physical markets take on the characteristics of financial markets. This world rewards those who buck convention, like MCI, which has reorganized every six months to release creativity, or David Bowie, who has sold options on his future earnings as an artist. Adaptability is paramount, as more companies build permeable networks of business relationships with suppliers, distributors, employees, and even competitors, and individuals become "free agents," contracting their services to the highest bidders. Blur challenges you to question every assumption you hold about how business is conducted, and encourages you to experiment at the edges of business. Blur outlines nothing less than a revolution in business and consumer culture.


A feel-good guide to doing business in the post-industrial age. A new economy is emerging, say the authors, every bit as world changing as that created by the Industrial Revolution, and they call this new economy Blur. It's characterized by Speed, Intangibles, and Connectivity. Speed is the shrinkage of time through near-instantaneous communication and computation. Connectivity is the shrinkage of space with the advent of the Web, e-mail, beepers, and other media of communication. Intangibles are values without mass most importantly knowledge and its mobility, made possible through Speed and Connectivity. Throw away your business economic texts, say Davis and Meyer, the world of Blur makes them obsolete. Companies prosper by not owning vast amounts of productive capacity. Nike, for instance, is a sort of Seinfeld of the business world, making nothing, but prospers by selling image and design. In the world of Blur, work and home become one; consumers sell and sellers buy; workers become entrepreneurs selling their skills temporarily to the highest bidder and then moving on; competitors cooperate. The only certainty is uncertainty, but if economies, companies, and individuals embrace this uncertainty, and think creatively about and within it, they will prosper. The authors are on to something here; they've seemingly caught the Zeitgeist. Yet in their enthusiasm they may overstate just how BLURred (as they say) the economy actually is. Yes, Nike sells image, but somebody is making those expensive sneakers, and they are not to be heard from here. Consumers sell information back to producers, which they in turn use to improve what they sell, but does that fundamentally change patterns of concentrated economic control? And while we can buy groceries over the Internet, how many people do? (The book is devoid of statistical or quantitative analysis.) As a guide to surviving in the new business world, this is most intriguing and entertaining. As a careful analysis of what's really going on, it falls short. (illustrations, not seen) —Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

An insightful and early probe into the new economy.
—Kevin Kelly - Author of Out of Control and Executive Editor, Wired

A fascinating book that will cause you to rethink the next round of changes that will drive management into the 21st century
—Glen Urban Dean, Sloan School of Management, MIT


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Table of Contents
ISeeing the Blur
Chapter 1Putting Blur in Focus5
IIThe Blur of Desires
Chapter 2The Offer19
Chapter 3The Exchange51
IIIThe Blur of Fulfillment
Chapter 4The Economic Web81
Chapter 5The Organization Web111
IVThe Blur of Resources
Chapter 6People145
Chapter 7Capital175
VLiving the Blur
Chapter 850 Ways to Blur Your Business and 10 Ways to Blur Yourself213

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