Escape Velocity | Geoffrey A. Moore

Summary of: Escape Velocity: Free Your Company’s Future from the Pull of the Past
By: Geoffrey A. Moore


In ‘Escape Velocity: Free Your Company’s Future from the Pull of the Past’, author Geoffrey A. Moore urges companies to break free from the constraints of previous success and adapt to the ever-changing market landscape. Moore defines escape velocity as a force that overcomes the inertia of current operations, and he emphasizes how companies can harness their power from five sources: category, company, market, offer, and execution. The book guides readers in evaluating their own businesses, understanding the balance in their investment portfolios, identifying innovation opportunities, and masterfully executing strategic plans to achieve significant growth.

Escape Velocity

The book points out the dangers of relying on the past in order to plan for the future, and the importance of breaking away from this habit for substantial growth. Many companies base their annual budgets on the previous year’s needs, which may not be effective if the market is in a state of decay. To achieve “escape velocity” and generate the energy needed to propel the company forward, five sources of power can be drawn upon. The book emphasizes the need to break free from the past and embrace the future to increase profits.

Category Power

The demand for your product and service in relation to competitive categories is your main source of power. This summary explains that moving from a shrinking category to a growing category can transform your business, but this shift isn’t easy. It also details how a company’s portfolio of activities can challenge a fine balance, and that each category has its own dynamics with distinct demands. The book suggests that analyzing the activities of your company can help determine which category growth helps your company and where being part of a failing category limits you. Categories move through a five-stage “maturity life cycle,” and companies benefit differently in each step. The summary further explains how you can evaluate your category power and build it by making decisions in light of “three different investment horizons.” The most challenging decision-making moments will emerge in the clash between this year’s earnings and more forward-looking investments.

The Power of Categorization in Company Success

Category power, market power, offer power, and execution power are four essential aspects of a successful company. Category power is earned by identifying special strengths that set an organization apart, and investing in innovation that aligns with these qualities to ascend to a higher tier. Market power is about recognizing the level of competition and differentiating offerings to stand out. Offer power is about making sure your offerings are in demand and your business architecture fits your vision. Finally, execution power involves committing company resources to realizing that vision, even if it means prioritizing certain core units and products over others. To achieve company power, invest in asymmetrical bets that other companies can’t match, emphasizing leadership over management. By committing to these principles, your company can outperform competitors and achieve escape velocity.

Market Power Unleashed

Market power is the key to success in business. It is the ability to cater properly to customers’ unique needs while still standing above your competition. Achieving market power requires capturing a specific market segment, and it can skyrocket business towards success.

The book emphasizes the power of market appeal to specific segments and the benefits of being the big fish in the pond. It encourages businesses to measure their power in terms of the ‘fish-to-pond ratio’, using it in transitional markets, moving to new geographical regions, and products with disruptive possibilities. The key to achieving market power is to focus not only on large markets but those that you can effectively conquer.

The book suggests targeting self-contained regions that form communities or specific groups within a market. Winning customers over can be done by solving their ‘unsolved problems,’ offering a unique, end-to-end solution that no other competitor can provide.

Finally, the book emphasizes the importance of accruing more power in the strongest aspect of a company’s offerings, providing businesses with a competitive edge that takes them to a higher tier, above their competition.

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