Trade-Off

  • by Kevin Maney
  • Narrated by Dennis Holland
  • 6 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Why did the RAZR ultimately ruin Motorola? Why does Wal-Mart dominate rural and suburban areas but falter in large cities? Why did Starbucks stumble just when it seemed unstoppable? The answer lies in the ever-present tension between fidelity (the quality of a consumers experience) and convenience (the ease of getting and paying for a product).
In Trade-Off, Kevin Maney shows how these conflicting forces determine the success, or failure, of new products and services in the marketplace. He shows that almost every decision we make as consumers involves a trade-off between fidelity and convenience between the products we love and the products we need.
Rock stars sell out concerts because the experience is high in fidelity - it cant be replicated in any other way, and because of that, we are willing to suffer inconvenience for the experience. In contrast, a downloaded MP3 of a song is low in fidelity, but consumers buy music online because its super convenient.
Products that are at one extreme or the other - those that are high in fidelity or high in convenience - tend to be successful. The things that fall into the middle-products or services that have moderate fidelity and convenience fail to win an enthusiastic audience.
Using examples from Amazon and Disney to People Express and the invention of the ATM, Maney demonstrates that the most successful companies skew their offerings to either one extreme or the other - fidelity or convenience -i n shaping products and building brands.

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What the Critics Say

"[L]ike Malcolm Gladwell in his best-selling books Outliers and Blink, Maney presents a seemingly simple premise and the evidence to support it - as well as various factors that can complicate it." (Reuters)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

No Trade-Offs for Reading Trade-Off

A book that everyone working in the educational technology industry should read. Where does your companies products or services fall along the fidelity (quality) and convenience spectrum? Four-year residential colleges are a high fidelity / high cost experience - with bundled learning, living, and socializing. University of Phoenix aims to be a high convenience provider.

Maney argues that companies need to choose to specialize in fidelity or convenience, or they will fall into the "fidelity belly" where their products and services are neither loved or required. Expensive products or services (high fidelity) need to be ten times as good as convenient (cheap or free) services to survive. Newspapers gutted themselves by laying off reporters and closing branches, therefore diminishing their fidelity. We all need to make hard choices and trade-offs, and figure out where the product/service we deliver meets the demands for fidelity or convenience.
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- Joshua Kim

useful, but oversimplified

Maney applies his fidelity vs. convenience model across a wide range of businesses. While the concept has merit, in many cases, it oversimplifies the issues. Perhaps of greater value is Maney's discussion about how over time, continued product development is important, lest you get left behind by the new kid on the block. Solid narration.
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- Andy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-19-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios