By Gordon Smith
From the Rust Belt to Silicon Valley—the business world has made that conceptual journey, like it or not. And whether we are managers of business, investors, employees, or professionals who toil in support of business, we all have a different understanding of what that journey meant, because it affected our lives differently.
This book examines that journey and focuses on some intriguing challenges that we face in this new business world.
Let's remember what was rusting in the Rust Belt. It was the tangible infrastructure of companies whose products and services were no longer competitive in world markets. The blast furnaces went cold and the rolling mills became silent, but these assets were once the driving forces within the companies that exploited them. Whoever owned these huge, immovable physical assets owned the earning power of the business. Innovation was captured in the machines and in the process, and management's job was to extract maximum capacity from machines and labor.
The reader of this book will come to understand that the profits of today's businesses are driven by intangible assets, not "bricks". Around the abandoned-in-place mills have sprung up centers of high technology—profitable businesses with no specialized tangible assets, but with highly specialized and valuable intangible ones. New career paths have emerged and enterprise has created products and services unknown to us just a few years ago.
Now it is true that intangible assets ...