Anyone who has heard me speak knows I draw extensive ideas, ideals, and lessons from the great entrepreneurs and business leaders of the past. Failing to learn from history costs our economy billions.
Yet few executives or even MBAs know much about the history of their industries, their companies, and the evolution of the competition. Many cannot name the founder of their company or the key people who got them where they are today, good and bad.
Little or nothing that really matters in business is new. Technologies change, markets change, places grow and die – studying long-term trends is key to success.
But when we study the actions of Thomas Watson (Senior & Junior) at IBM, we see the inspiration for Steve Jobs, or at least many of the same techniques. Young people today are excited about alternative currencies and coupons but they have not studied the rise and fall of S&H Green Stamps.
Today’s hardware and software technology company leaders face big questions, such as, “Do we plan our future based on engineering or based on Wall Street?” and “Do we make one product for everyone or make a broad array of customized products?” Each of these questions, and many more, were addressed between 1910 and 1930 by Walter P. Chrysler, Henry Ford, and Alfred P. Sloan, the management genius who built General Motors. The answers they found may or may not be the same today, but there is always a great deal to be learned and provoke our own minds.
In my efforts to remedy this situation, I have delivered 6 highly visual talks about various industries, and hope to do many more. “Peter Drucker meets Ken Burns.” The talks are all available for free on YouTube at the links below. I would love to give one of these talks, or develop one about your industry, for your company or industry association. Just reach out to me if you want to discuss!
Industry History Visual Shows:
Automobile Industry https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXUS65_KxEY
Airline Industry https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w05YfegamWU
Computer Industry https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y2w3AGwCMU
Media Industry https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aB_npd0AGc
Movie Industry https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pu4dJ3oQU0g
Retailing Industry https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyC2GkzKTeM
“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”
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