Blue is Better

book coverEven if I didn’t work for big blue, I’d want to read Lou Gerstner’s new book, Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? Inside IBM’s Historic Turnaround. I’m sure it will be fascinating to read Gerserner’s thoughts as he directed and resurrected IBM. A New York Times article emphasizes how swiftly and decisively Gerstner impacted IBM:

Within the first 100 days, he made the important decisions to keep the company together, reduce costs sharply and change the way I.B.M. did business, overhauling sales, marketing, procurement and internal systems.

He writes that the choice to keep the company together, reversing the course set by his predecessor and endorsed by the board, was “the most important decision I ever made – not just at I.B.M., but in my entire career.” He based it on strategic analysis and instinct – and listening to customers….

By the mid-1990’s, I.B.M.’s technical leadership had noticed the Internet, and took the view that the coming “networked world” would lead the way to the post-PC era, undermining Microsoft’s grip on the industry. “Desktop leadership might have been nice to have,” Mr. Gerstner writes, “but it was no longer strategically vital.”