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Free, Perfect, and Now

by Robert Rodin

In a world where knowledge is king, the Web never sleeps, and competitive challenge increases exponentially, Robert Rodin shows you how to prepare for the three insatiable demands of today's customers: they want their product or service FREE, they want it PERFECT, and they want it NOW. No matter what business you're in, you have to find a way to respond -- or risk losing your customers to competitors who are discovering new ways to sell your product or service cheaper, better, and faster than you've ever imagined. As the dynamic CEO of electronics distributor Marshall Industries who trained with the worldfamous W. Edwards Deming, Rob Rodin engineered the astounding reinvention of his company, turning a conventionally successful $500 million business into a $2 billion competitive powerhouse, a high-speed, high-profit junction box wired to today's imperatives. Rodin isn't a consultant, pretending change is a matter of five steps and a pep talk. He's lived inside its gut-wrenching turmoil. Six years ago Rodin and his colleagues bet their company on a radical experiment, tearing a healthy business down to bedrock. They threw out all the old tools, taking 1,100 managers off MBOs and incentives and abolishing commissions for 600 salespeople. They threw out all the old technology, too, changing every operating system in a single tense night. Then they set out to reinvent themselves, finding new ways to help people and technology work together -- creating a dynamic pioneer for our new electronic era, a company twice named as the #1 business-to-business Web site in the world by Advertising Age magazine. Free, Perfect, and Now tells the dramatic story of that transformation from the inside. Detailing the hard lessons learned in competitive battle, it offers a compelling new perspective on the most pressing issue facing businesspeople today: how to prepare a customer-focused corporation for a future you can't predict. But Free, Perfect, and Now is a book of solutions, too, a guide to help every manager turn ideas into concrete results. Each chapter explains, step by step, how to design a different element of a company, from how to anticipate customers' shifting demands to how to make a Web site profitable. And each chapter ends with a Manager's Workbook, containing detailed advice managers can use to make their business more competitive today.

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