7 Powers Book Summary - 7 Powers Book explained in key points
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7 Powers summary

Hamilton Helmer

The Foundations of Business Strategy

4.5 (194 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

7 Powers by Hamilton Helmer is a strategic guide that explores the seven most important business powers that can be leveraged to create long-term success. It provides valuable insights and frameworks for analyzing and building a winning business strategy.

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    7 Powers
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    Netflix

    Back in 2007, Netflix finally left Blockbuster in the dust. They had already given Blockbuster a run for its money by positioning themselves as the rent-from-home company. Even though Blockbuster tried its own version of mailing DVDs, the name Netflix had become solidly associated with the practice.

    However, what Netflix did even better was foresee the future. They knew that DVDs had a limited lifespan. Netflix realized that streaming capabilities would soon make it viable for people to view shows and movies via streaming rather than DVD. So, in 2007, they made their way into the streaming market.

    This foresight wasn’t a one-time thing for Netflix. Throughout the course of developing their streaming platform, Netflix found it difficult to manage the contracts that would allow them to use properties in various regions for various timespans. They knew that to retain power, they would need to do something different. So in 2012, they ventured into originals with Lilyhammer and House of Cards.

    At that time, Netflix had over 30 million users. A single episode of House of Cards cost $4.5 million to make – meaning that per episode, they would need to be making $0.15 off each user.

    Where it gets interesting is when you think about the economics of this. The price per episode is not a fixed thing, but is dependent on the user base. So the more users Netflix could attract, the lower the cost per user to provide content.

    This is called scale economy, and it is the first power. Scale economy exists when your cost of doing business decreases as your product supply increases.

    It is extremely difficult to unseat the company that has the power of scale economy. Imagine being a newer streaming platform with only three million users and trying to create House of Cards. Your cost per user would be ten times Netflix’s cost, so the cost of beating them at their game becomes prohibitive.

    Scale economy constitutes power because it represents the potential for long-term entrenchment at the top of the industry, and it’s very challenging for competitors to overcome.

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    What is 7 Powers about?

    The 7 Powers (2016) is about the strategic positions that have won great success for many companies and brought great failure to others. It gives case studies for each power as well as insights into why these powers did or didn’t work.

    7 Powers Review

    7 Powers (2016) by Hamilton Helmer is a thought-provoking book that explores the seven fundamental sources of enduring business success. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers practical frameworks that allow businesses to navigate complexity and make informed decisions.
    • Helmer combines real-world examples and analysis to illustrate each power, making it applicable and relatable.
    • The book's insights into strategy, competition, and long-term success keep readers engaged and excited about the possibilities of business growth.

    Who should read 7 Powers?

    • Entrepreneurs
    • The Executive Suite
    • Business Students

    About the Author

    Hamilton Helmer holds a PhD in Economics from Yale University and has consulted on business strategy with a variety of major companies, including Adobe, HP, and Netflix. In addition to consulting on strategy, he is also the chief investment officer at Strategy Capital.

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    7 Powers FAQs 

    What is the main message of 7 Powers?

    The main message of 7 Powers is understanding and leveraging key sources of power to achieve business success.

    How long does it take to read 7 Powers?

    The reading time for 7 Powers varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is 7 Powers a good book? Is it worth reading?

    7 Powers is definitely worth reading. It provides valuable insights and strategies for achieving long-term success in the business world.

    Who is the author of 7 Powers?

    The author of 7 Powers is Hamilton Helmer.

    What to read after 7 Powers?

    If you're wondering what to read next after 7 Powers, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Strategy Sprints by Simon Severino
    • Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt
    • Smart Leadership by Mark Miller
    • The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
    • Bowerman and the Men of Oregon by Kenny Moore
    • One Summer by Bill Bryson
    • Playing to Win by A.G. Lafley & Roger L. Martin
    • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
    • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
    • Mindset by Carol Dweck