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The Three Commodity Traps

From Diamonds to Glass

Commoditization” is an ugly word—and often an ugly reality—for companies around the world. From Wuhan to Washington, from Hannover, Germany, to Hanover, New Hampshire, commoditization is rife, a brutal fact of twenty-first century business life. Like the corporate equivalent of the black plague, almost every firm is suffering from commoditization in one form or another. In almost every industry, managers are being stunned as India and China exert their incredible economic potential, and technology continues to make major forward leaps. Timescales are shrinking and the commoditization clock is ticking.

“Everything commoditizes over time. The edges and points of difference get worn off by ...

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