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Break from the Pack

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Break from the Pack

How to Compete in a Copycat Economy

FT Prentice Hall,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Replace one-size-fits-all plans with strategies to create profitable, meaningful growth in this me-too era of business.

Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Applicable
  • Concrete Examples


The modern workplace is a complex jigsaw puzzle with international pieces, quick-change technology and oddly shaped commodities. It's hard to comprehend or complete the global economic enigma, but Oren Harari offers crucial elements of the workplace puzzle. With precision and real-life examples, Harari explains how employees and executives can succeed in a "copycat economy" dominated by imitators, pretenders and pirates. He offers vision and practical tips, though some corporate examples, such as his praise of JetBlue – which is now well-established – seem a little forced or dated in this otherwise timely text. The book can be repetitious in sections, but some points are worth repeating and this analysis is well worth reading. getAbstract highly recommends it to executives, investors and mid-level employees.


"Copycat Purgatory"

Upgrade your company or languish in commodity purgatory, warns IBM's CEO Sam Palmisano. Robert Winquist, chief of Vending Supply Inc. (VSi), recognizes the wisdom of that advice. His company created a lucrative niche for its trendy stickers and temporary tattoos for kids. VSi's hot designs, which children buy from vending machines, include skateboarders, smiling skulls and other cool illustrations. VSi executives and designers tapped into the lucrative "'tween" or pre-teen market by hanging out with young consumers. For eight years, the market rewarded VSi's efforts with strong growth and sales. But profits dramatically declined as "me-too" players imitated its products. That copycat scenario has hit the leaders in other markets, including computers, communication and mutual funds. Six business conditions help send firms to copycat purgatory:

  1. Minimization of time and geographic borders – Due to globalization, open trade and low-cost technology, copycats in any time zone easily can imitate, sell and distribute top products at bargain prices. Some goods are creative knockoffs; others are "bootlegs." More than 90% of the Microsoft products...

About the Author

Oren Harari, a professor at the University of San Francisco's Graduate School of Business, has written seven other books, including The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell, a New York Times bestseller. His other titles include: Beep! Beep!: Competing in the Age of the Roadrunner and Leapfrogging the Competition.

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