Boxing, Sun Tzu, and how to survive the economic down-turn

Boxing, war, and modern business... what do these three activities have in common? The obvious answer is that all three take place in competitive environments in which there will be clear winners. Sun Tzu's treatise "The Art of War" not only describes these environments, but also asserts a way to win and analytical method to predict a winner. Once one understands these predictable outcomes, then positioning oneself to be the winner becomes easy.

UPS vs. Fedex Environmental Attack

Right now we are seeing a classical "fire attack" launched by FedEx on UPS using the government as a proxy. Sun Tzu's spends an chapter discussing the concept of "fire attacks," where an opponent uses the environment to attack an opponent and we devote and entire section of The Rule Book to the issues he raises regarding vulnerability. Quoting the introductory article in the Warrior's Rule Book on the topic (9.0 Using Vulnerability):

Warrior's Rules: 

Competitive Arenas: 

Microsoft versus Google: An Illustration of the Most Common Strategic Mistake

Everyday, we read articles on the business battle between Google and Microsoft (click here for today's installment). This battle illustrates the elements of the most common strategic mistake: the waste of resources on attacking opponents ([node:content/313-conflict-cost link]) instead of working on pursuing opportunities ([node:content/32-opportunity-creation link]).

The Warrior Class Book Table of Contents


Foreword: How to Use This Book viii


1. About Planning: Lessons 1-18  Page 3

2. About Going to War: Lessons 19-33      Page 20

3. About Planning an Attack: Lessons 34-49  Page 36

4. About Positioning: Lessons 50-66  Page 53

5. About Momentum: Lessons 67-85  Page 71

6. About Weakness and Strength: Lessons 86-105  Page 91

7. About Armed Conflict: Lessons 106-126  Page 112

Competitive Arenas: 

Warrior Marketing Contents

Table of Contents

  • "Market Analysis" covers Sun Tzu’s basic competitive concepts and reveals the five factors that determine success in winning markets.
  • "Picking a Market" analyzes the costs inherent in marketing and gives you your goal: generating income as quickly and easily as possible from customers.
  • "Planning A Campaign" discusses the importance of picking a clear target market, using your resources wisely, and the five ingredients you need to win customers.
  • "

Competitive Arenas: 

John Allison, BB&T Bank, and Moral Philosophy

Good strategy is based on a shared mission. In Sun Tzu's strategy, a philosophy is a set of higher values. Businesses always forget that the highest missions are based on a moral philosophy.  This is the story of  John Allison, the longtime CEO and current Chairman of the Board for BB&T Bank.  National Review did a story on how his philosophy allowed his bank to stay out of the troubles most finanicial institutions got into during the sub-prime and bailout eras.  Quoting from it:

Warrior's Rules: 

Competitive Arenas: 

An ideal context for disruptive new energy innovations?:

Clayton Christensen writes brilliantly about the concept and properties of disruptive innovations in his book “The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms To Fail”. Disruptive innovations have the characteristics of a shift in paradigm – the way we perceive the relevant products’ context is fundamentally changed. The term “disruptive” reflects the effect the innovations have on the competitive arena when being challenged by such innovations. Existing suppliers are taken by surprise by these innovations.

Classic Overreaction to Environmental Vulnerability.

Last week our Today's Article on Warrior's Rules (TAOSR) program explained the principles regarding the defense and exploitation of environmental vulnerabilities. The basis principle is that we must know how to defend against the five kinds of challenges that these vulnerabilities create (S-RULE 9.4), specifically the rule about avoiding an over-reaction (S-RULE 9.4.2).

Strategy in everyday life: My day with CSI

To educate and entertain my two young sons, I recently took them to our local science museum for an exhibit based on the popular television series, CSI. This exhibit was unlike others we have visited. When you enter, you are given an evidence card and watch a brief video from the star of the show. What struck me during this interview is a statement he made. Let me paraphrase it as I can't recall it as a quote. He said that dead victims are telling you what happened. The crime scene is telling you what happened. His advice? "Listen to the crime scene."


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