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Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Little Bets: Big Numbers--Post #4
The Tyranny of Big Numbers: Using Hewlett-Packard (HP) as an example, the author tells the story of how after HP grew up from its humble experimental beginnings, they only went after big bets—billion-dollar bets. Essentially, they allowed other, smaller, more nimble companies to discover the technology, rather than create new discoveries themselves. They followed their big plan—into failure. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara placed the same sort of big bet in Vietnam. He bet that millions of dollars in bombing would bring the Viet Cong to its knees. But the Cong’s extensive tunnel system shielded them from the bombs and marked the end of this big bet, failed strategy.