What about the German beer industry? Well, the Germans are very efficient in some of their industries. The German metal-working industry and the German steel industry are equal in productivity to those of the United States, but the German beer-producing industry has a productivity only 43% that of the United States. And it's not that the Germans make bad beer; the Germans make wonderful beer. Whenever my wife and I go to Germany, we take along an extra suitcase specifically for the purpose of filling it up with bottles of German beer, which we take back and dole out to ourselves for the year after each of our trips to Germany. Why, then, since the Germans make such great beer, and since their industrial organization works so successfully for steel and metal, can't they achieve a successful industrial organization for beer?
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These questions about group organization arise at many different levels and for many types of groups. They arise, of course, about the organization of entire governments or countries: what is the best way to govern a country? Remember the classic arguments about whether the best government is a benign dictatorship, or a federal system, or an anarchical free-for-all. The same questions also rise about the organization of different companies within the same industry. How can you account for the fact that Microsoft has been so successful recently, and that IBM, which was formerly successful, fell behind but then drastically changed its organization over the last four years and improved its success? How can we explain the different successes of what we call different industrial belts? When I was a boy growing up in Boston, Route 128, the industrial belt around Boston, led the industrial world in scientific creativity and imagination. But Route 128 has fallen behind, and now Silicon Valley is the center of innovation. And the relations of businesses to each other in Silicon Valley and Route 128 are very different, possibly resulting in those different outcomes.
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I first learned about you when I downloaded your free e-book, How to Make Money – BLOGGING, via Amazon Kindle. It was a sure one-sitting kind of book but is very meaty. I got all the wonderful ideas from your book and finally decided to visit your website to harvest some more inspiration. I am so glad my path was directed here because I also have just started my incognito blog.
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Most of them have told me that if I’m interested in consulting, I have to talk to someone at Deloitte. Do you think I could pick your brain on your job and what motivated you to choose Deloitte? I’d especially love to know how you made your choices after graduating from Michigan State. [THE PHRASE “PICK YOUR BRAIN” IS ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO ASK FOR ADVICE AND FLATTER, AND “MICHIGAN STATE” REINFORCES SHARED BOND.]
6. IZEA – IZEA works in addition to a blog or on its own. You get paid to blog, tweet, take photos and take videos. The pay is mostly based on your following, so if you want to make money with your tweets, you’ll need to grow you Twitter following. Likewise, if you want to make money with blogs, you’ll need substantial blog traffic (more on blogging below).
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Now let's finally apply these lessons to comparing different industries or industrial belts within the United States. I mentioned that when I was growing up, Route 128 outside of Boston led the world in productivity for an industrial belt, but Route 128 has now fallen behind Silicon Valley. Since my book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" was published, I've spent a lot of time talking with people from Silicon Valley and some from Route 128, and they tell me that the corporate ethos in these two industrial belts is quite different. Silicon Valley consists of lots of companies that are fiercely competitive with each other, but nevertheless there's a lot of collaboration, and despite the competition there is a free flow of ideas and a free flow of people and a free flow of information between these companies that compete with each other. In contrast, I'm told that the business of Route 128 are much more secretive, and insulated from each other like Japanese milk-producing companies.