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The Other "F" Word: How Smart Leaders, Teams, and Entrepreneurs Put Failure to Work by John Danner, Mark Coopersmith

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img8Grown-UpsDodging the Oxymoron of “Big Company Agility”

Your Role: Trusted Colleague

If you don't like your job, you don't strike. You just go in there every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way.

—Homer Simpson1

From Confident, Nimble Innovator…

From its founding in post–World War II Japan through the end of the 20th century, Sony grew from a small consumer products producer to become one of the world's most trusted and respected companies. After failing with its initial product, an electric rice cooker that did a better job burning rice than cooking it, Sony went on a 50-year run that transformed the consumer electronics sector with innovative, well-designed products such as the transistor radio, Sony Walkman, Compact Disc (CD), and Trinitron TV. Mark, one of this book's authors, was an executive at Sony during much of the 1990s, a time when Sony's global brand and prominence was at its peak.2

During its years of leadership, Sony exhibited a great capacity to learn from its failures to drive innovation and growth. One of these examples began in the 1970s when Sony's Betamax videocassette technology was competing with the Video Home System (VHS) standard in what became a videotape format war. By most measures, including better video quality and smaller size, Betamax represented the superior technology, but VHS prevailed. One of the crucial factors behind ...

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