Do NOT Invent Buggy Whips

Create! Reinvent! Position! Disrupt!

Non-Fiction - Business/Finance
176 Pages
Reviewed on 04/17/2012
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Author Biography

Kenneth J. Thurber has spent his career working in the field of computer and system architecture. He has written or led nearly 500 technical proposals (winning over 200) leading to over .5 billion dollars in research, development, and product derived work since 1969. He also consulted on the purchase by end users and/or product introduction by manufacturers of billions of dollars worth of equipment. He was the system architect for the specification of the Local Area Network and distributed processor concepts that resulted in the deployment of a real time system worth several billion dollars. He developed the concepts of technology big wave surfing as a metaphor for ways to capitalize on the disruption that technology brings to the product marketplace. He is the creator and the world’s leading practitioner of extreme ways to develop, manage, market and invest in the technology product marketplace. In addition to forming and running several companies he has been a consultant to many Fortune 500 companies. He is considered by many to be the “Consultant’s Consultant” and a leading teacher of innovation techniques.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Joy Hannabass for Readers' Favorite

Are you a creative person, or someone who has brilliant ideas about inventing things? Then this book is sure for you! In the first two parts of his book, Kenneth Thurber talks about a framework he developed that is useful for thinking about and conceiving a product. He describes this framework in full detail with things he has learned throughout his career. His goal is to help readers think about products that will sell. The strategy he uses is Reinvention, which the author defines as; “The process of taking as a basis a concept and then modifying the concept based upon insertion of new technology or process.” He helps us to think about things like what can I create that will interest the public, what will people think about my product, will it really sell?

In parts three and four, the author gets into the more nitty gritty things such as applying these concepts the reader learns in parts one and two to invent a sizzling new product. And then gives examples of the product strategies used and lessons to learn from them.

I found this to be a most interesting book, since I’ve always wanted to know what goes on in the mind of an inventor. The author breaks his ideas down giving a simple but awesome outline on how to go about creating something new and different that it will storm the market. For me the last half of the book was more enjoyable, with questions to really make the reader think, and using “The Little Bo Peep” was a fun way to get the point across.

I highly recommend this book for anyone thinking about inventing products to market to the public. And really, it will be great for those already marketing products, giving advice that will make your invention easier and more marketable. You will not be bored with reading this book!

Stephanie D.

Do Not Invent Buggy Whips. Create! Invent! Position! Disrupt! by Kenneth J Thurber is a book for anyone wanting to successfully bring a new product to market. Too often inventions, such as the buggy whip, become obsolete because of technological advances, in this case the invention of the car. In this book we find the solution in creative disruption and reinvention. Thurber looks at the familiar ideas of innovation and conceiving and positioning a product, and at venture capital. But he also introduces creative disruption and reinvention, and this is what makes this book unique. To develop a successful product, first you need focus and clarity. This leads to the basic model of position, customer and reinvention. But this must be refined using creativity, disruption and creative disruption. Now it is time to ask questions, namely ‘what if’, ‘who cares’ and ‘what is the market size’. This will lead to successful product definition.

Do Not Invent Buggy Whips is very well written. It is very clear and methodically, but not pedantically, laid out. A point is made, explained and illustrated, and then reinforced. This is business and marketing writing at its best. Thurber uses familiar examples as case studies of how reinvention has brought market success, including the Mustang, Starbucks, Segway, digital cameras, print-on-demand and the iPod. He also uses Picasso as an example of reinvention at work. The author concludes by looking ahead at future reinvention, in which he predicts mobility will be the key. We must embrace innovation, not be displaced by it, and reinvent our way to success. The book has an index and there is a supporting website.

Alice D.

"Do Not Invent Buggy Whips" is a highly well-written treatise on inventing a successful product. Author Thurber writes that "innovation is something that has not been done before" but he cautions that radically new ideas are rarely successful and clearly tells the reader to reinvent a product such as the iPod which evolved from the MP3 player which came from the Discman whose predecessor was the Walkman, the cassette player and the boom box. Reinventing a successful product means that this new product will be creatively disruptive, that is, it will make what comes before it obsolete but this reinvented product must satisfy a real or perceived need of potential customers. But customers must care about this product and Author Thurber cautions, this new product should not negatively impact the lives of others. Before thinking of developing a service or an idea, read this book!

Kenneth Thurber has written this short but superb book that should be required reading for all potential business majors and inventors. In five sections, he spells out clearly about new ideas,if they will overtake present products on the market, how the concept of that new idea can be applied, gives good examples of reinventions that worked or didn't, and what the future of a product might be. The formatting of "Don't Invent Buggy Whips" is excellent and its table of contents and index are well-laid out and useful. Starbucks, the Ford Mustang, and John Wayne's famous words are discussed as well as reworkings of the nursery rhyme "Little Bo-Peep", They all help make this book a little gem of an offering for business people everywhere.

Anne B.

Kenneth J. Thurber author of Big Wave Surfing now offers readers Do NOT Invent Buggy Whips: Create! Reinvent! Position! Disrupt! Do NOT Invent can be a standalone book or used as a follow up to his first book. The purpose of this book is to introduce and focus on market disruption. This book is an invaluable business tool that you will turn to again and again.

In the introduction Thurber explains the book’s tie in to Buggy Whips. Buggy Whips were important to the “1800s transportation industry.” The industry changed and the whips were no longer an intricate part of transportation. The industrialists that survived were the ones that were willing to make changes, “re-invent themselves.” Thurber shares other examples such as film verses digital imaging. Thurber’s task is to demonstrate to the reader ways to avoid the buggy whip trap.

Mr. Thurber’s book is well organized, easy to read and understand. He begins by discussing where the ideas come from and how to develop the idea into a model and into a sellable product. At the end of each chapter there is a short summary with definitions and a focus on the most important information presented in that section. He continues into the next section by discussing Model For Disruption. To assist in explaining the concept he includes very helpful illustrations and scattered throughout the book he includes lessons. The readers will find the lessons well marked and very informative. Toward the end of the book he offers Examples of Product Strategies which I found very interesting.

Mr. Thurber’s book is a must read for any person planning a small business or with an idea they want to develop. I found his book to be written with common sense. I highly recommend this book.

Lori M.

As a graduate-level business professor, I appreciate how Dr. Thurber has expanded upon a theme we often tell students in marketing classes, (i.e., nobody needs buggy whips anymore) and created a book around entrepreneurship that incorporates creativity, innovation, positioning, and disruption. “What does he mean by disruption?” you ask? He defines creative disruption as the process of creating products to obsolete other products. Think about it, didn’t the automobile obsolete horse and buggies and the need for buggy whips? I don’t know whether the author’s intent was to make this a regular nonfiction business book or a textbook, but it could easily be well-suited for either. Thurber does a good job reinforcing his concepts with relevant business articles and internet links and like a good professor, tells you what he’s going to say, says it, and tells you what he said. Well-arranged into different sections and chapters, Thurber takes you through the origin of ideas, his model for disruption, application of concepts, answering the questions of “What If?” and “Who Cares?” and examples of product strategies that include the Segway, Starbucks, the iPod, and more.

The focus of “Do Not Invent Buggy Whips” is the creation of new product concepts and the reality that you sometimes need to reinvent yourself and your products. Thurber wants you to consider not only the innovation of a new product but also the positioning of a new product in order to ensure its success. Great book for people wanting to start their own small business or big businesses wanting to stay viable in today’s economy.