Book Review: 'Unleashing the Killer App: Digital Strategies for Market Dominance' by Larry Downes and Chunka Mui
Unleashing the Killer App: Digital Strategies for Market DominanceLarry Downes and Chunka Mui Harvard Business Press (1998)
In this book, Downes and Mui provide a brilliant analysis of how “a new good or service that establishes an entirely new category [can] by being first, dominate it, returning several hundred percent on the initial investment.” As they explain, the primary forces at work in spawning today’s “killer apps” are both technological and economic in nature. “The technology we are concerned with is the transformation of information into digital form, where it can be manipulated by computers and transmitted by networks.” Digital strategies are needed to achieve market dominance. They suggest several, each worthy of careful consideration.
For me, this book has two great values: It helps us to understand what a “killer app” is and can accomplish; also, for those lacking a “killer app” and without much chance of possessing one, it suggests how to increase and enhance the appeal of what one does have, such as it is. Given a choice, of course, anyone would prefer to have a “killer app” when proceeding into an uncertain future. Lacking one, there are still opportunities to recognize…and to pursue. Most companies will not dominate but can survive if committed to the appropriate strategies. For them and their leaders, this book could well be the difference between life and death.
I also highly recommend two recently published books: Downes’s The Laws of Disruption and Mui’s Billion Dollar Lessons co-authored with Paul B. Carroll.
Editor's note: This review was written by Robert Morris and has been published with his permission.Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.