Monday, September 20, 2010

Live from GrowthCamp

I'm live at GrowthCamp in northern Toronto, PROFIT Magazine’s conference for the entrepreneurs behind its Hot 50 list of emerging growth companies. I’ll be sharing a few insights along the way.

Business writer and speaker Jim Harris is giving a great talk called Blindsided based on his book (but constantly updated). It’s all about how change can overtake any company in any industry – you can choose either to be the bug or the windshield.
A few highlights from his talk:

• Blockbuster Video turned down a chance to buy 50% of Netflix to help the mail-order movie service get off the ground. Blockbuster called it the worst business model they had ever seen. Today Netflix’s market cap is 672 times that of Blockbuster (which is down to $11 million.

• Going forward, accessing banking services is essential. Banks themselves may not be.

• When the first energy crisis hit, the Japanese hunkered down and restructured their energy-intensive steel industry to consume less energy. The Americans did not. Result: over the next few decades, the U.S. steel sector lost 300,000 jobs. So was cheap energy a benefit or a trap?

• “If every car in North Africa got the same fuel efficiency as my Prius we would have to import no oil into North America.”

* "The only thing worse than training people and having them leave, is not training them and having them stay."

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