Subject: Re: Larry Ellison on FSBs
From: "Ben Tilly" <>
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2006 07:30:16 -0700

 Tue, 25 Apr 2006 07:30:16 -0700
On 4/24/06, Brian Behlendorf <> wrote:
> On Mon, 24 Apr 2006, Ben Tilly wrote:
> > On 4/24/06, Thomas Lord <> wrote:
> >> Ben Tilly wrote:
> >> Well, ok, one part where you're wrong.  You say: "there isn't much
> >> they can do about that."   On the contrary.  Oracle has the luxuries
> >> of planning, delaying, experimenting, outspending -- in short, Oracle
> >> has the opportunity to get open source business models right rather
> >> than growing-while-flying-by-seat-of-pants.
> >
> > You obviously haven't read Tom Christensen's books on the topic.
> > Established companies usually try the planning, delaying, outspending
> > etc approach and it consistently fails badly for subtle but fairly
> > universal organizational reasons.  If you care, then read the books,
> > but I won't try to summarize Christensen's analysis of why it happens.
> > Just accept that it does.
> You mean Clayton Christensen?  Or did the Perl guy write a business book?
> :)

Gah.  You caught me.  I was with it enough to spell the last name
right, but then flaked on the first.  :-(

> CC gave many examples of failures but didn't go so far as to say it was
> impossible; he even wrote a followup book, "The Innovator's Solution",
> which was actually a set of possible strategies you could deploy to
> respond to such disruption from below.  "Disrupt the disruptors" was my
> favorite.  The biggest win appears to be in simply recognizing the problem
> and trying anything to respond; most companies who are disrupted live in
> denial that the disruption is taking place or likely to take place until
> it's too late.

CC didn't say that it was impossible to successfully respond - he even
gave examples of successful responses.  However he *did* say that
attempting to throw money at the problem is a sure-fire way to fail,
and he spent a long time in both books trying to explain why it is
important to NOT throw money at the problem.  (Essentially too much
money handicaps the organization you are developing in subtle ways.)

To me his message complements very well the latter third of  The
Millionaire Next Door  which concluded that children of millionaires
who are wise enough to refuse largesse do *much* better than ones who
accept their parents' generosity.