GaryGagliardi's blog

First Mover Advantage: Another Lesson from 2008 Presidential Politics

Everyone knows about the strategic need for speed. 2,500 years ago, Sun Tzu wrote that the best time to move is while your opponent is still planning, perhaps the first statement about how strategy favors action over planning. IWe call this the first mover advantage, but the Internet has changed the rules of time and space even more fundamentally to an "any time/any place" mentality that makes the need for speed even more important.

Taking from Your Opposition: The Lessons of the Presidential Election

Though Sun Tzu teaches winning without conflict, he did teach the need to compete directly for resources. Resources that you take from your opponent are worth many times the resources your get on your own. For example, in an election you can invest your efforts one of two ways: by getting more of your voters to the polls or by taking voters away from your opponent. The math is simple: votes from your voters are worth one in the margin of victory, but votes from your opponent's voters are worth two: the vote you gain and the vote your opponent loses.

Actions and Words: an Election Day Lesson

One of the most basic principle in strategy is that there is a critical difference between actions and words. Both words and actions can be misleading, but actions speak louder than words for a simple reason: all actions have costs. Words are cheap. Nothing is more dangerous than basing our actions on the words of others when others have an incentive to mislead us in order to get us to do what they want.

A Look Back at Strategic Positions in the 2008 Presidential Race

As we approach the end of the election cycle, I wanted to do a quick look back that the presidential race and its dynamics from the perspective of what it can teach us about good strategy. I could wait until the race is decided, but I don't want my perspective to be too skewed by the outcome alone, which is as likely to demonstrate a lack of strategy on one side than the success of strategy on the other.

Policy Pages Discussion

I really want to do this as a Forum but don't yet see how to make Forum's private. So we will do this in pages. Let's try to keep pages short and on very specific topics.

As you read discussion documents, do it in the "edit" mode so you can easily add you own indented comments to this to each paragraph as opposed to creating new documents as we have with email. If you have nothing to add, but agree with the paragraph, just add your initials at the end of the paragraph so we know that you read and see nothing that needs comment or clarification.

The Reversal Factor: How McCain Can Still Win Big

Strategically, the competitive environment consists of two components, the climate and the ground. Climate is constantly changing while the ground is stable. Climate is tricky because trends don't continue in the same direction indefinately. They turn around instantly, as we have seen recently in n the market. We have to use the climate to build positions on the ground but those positions have to withstand changes in climate and bad decisions about climate can hurt positions.

Evaluting a New Position Before Moving: Example of Bad Tax Policy

Before moving to a new position, Sun Tzu's strategy teaches that you have to evaluate that position from the perspective of where it leads. The idea is that we don't want to get into a position that is either hard to defend or from which it is difficult to escape in the future. Unfortunately, in reacting to events, most people are not in the habit of thinking about the next move just getting out of their current situation. This is especially true of the political class.

New Membership Website

We have just finished creating our new membership site. We announced this move a couple of weeks ago and are proud to say that we have the new site up and running. Please let us know of any problems especially of links taking you back to the old site. Lot of new feature for members including the ability to create your own Strategy Groups and invite people to them. Guests get access to most of the surface material. As you get down into the Institute's proprietary research, we ask you to register at no charge.


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