Blue Ocean Strategy Book Summary - Blue Ocean Strategy Book explained in key points
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Blue Ocean Strategy summary

W. Chan Kim

How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant

4.2 (358 ratings)
8 mins
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    Blue Ocean Strategy
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    Escape your competition by setting sail to a blue ocean.

    When you establish a new business, competition can be brutal. Whether you’re selling wine, audio books, or life insurance, the market for a product can only get so big. So you’re left to fight with hundreds of other companies for your share of a limited demand. No surprise that America’s most popular business TV show is called Shark Tank! Markets today are like oceans, swarming with hungry companies ready to kill each other. There’s so much blood in the water, we can call these markets red oceans

    But every once in a while, a company emerges that seems to sail past all the competition. These are businesses that rise fast, grow uncontested, and seem to play by their own rules. What are they doing differently?

    Well, instead of fighting over scraps in red oceans, these businesses navigate uncharted territory: blue oceans. You can think of blue oceans as all the markets we haven’t yet discovered, for products and services that don’t yet exist. Demand isn’t limited because demand isn’t there – it has to be created. But this isn’t a handicap, it’s an opportunity. Because if the size of your market isn’t limited, neither are your growth and profits.

    In blue oceans, the water isn’t bloodied by cut-throat competition. It’s deep, clear, and full of undiscovered potential. The blue ocean strategy gives you the methodology and tools to conquer such uncontested markets. The basic tenet is this: It’s true that the space in a certain industry might be limited. But who’s to say that a business can’t create an entirely new industry?

    Let’s look at an example of this in action: famous Canadian circus company Cirque du Soleil. With its extraordinary variety shows, Cirque du Soleil has entertained millions of people worldwide. On top of that, it’s made record profits. Not something you would expect from a circus company! How did the company do it?

    Well, Cirque du Soleil did two interesting things. First, it got rid of the old circus staple of animal acts. Then, it supplemented its human acts with live music and compelling storylines. The first move reduced costs while the second introduced exciting new elements into the world of circus. In effect, Cirque du Soleil created a blue ocean: it carved out an entirely new market for artistic theater experiences. And people love it.

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    What is Blue Ocean Strategy about?

    Blue Ocean Strategy (2004) is a business classic that revolutionized the way companies think about market competition. It explains why some businesses can grow uncontested, while the rest tear each other to bits in a hypercompetitive environment.

    Who should read Blue Ocean Strategy?

    • entrepreneurs eager to get ahead of their competition
    • investors deciding which companies to back
    • business students who want to better understand market forces

    About the Author

    W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne are professors of strategy at INSEAD, an international business school with campuses in France, Abu Dhabi, and the US. Their business classic Blue Ocean Strategy sold over four million copies worldwide. In 2017, its follow-up Blue Ocean Shift became a New York Times best seller. In 2019, Kim and Mauborgne were named the number one management thinkers in the world by Thinkers50.

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