Please read to the end of this post to get the chance to win a copy of my book, First & Fast!

This week’s riff: Earlier this week I learned that during WW II, the Royal Air Force designed, built and deployed an interceptor fighter called the Boulton Paul Defiant. The plane’s job was to knock out German bombers, using a rear-facing four-gun turret that was located behind the pilot.

The plane’s only problem is that these guns all faced backwards. It had no forward-pointing guns at all!

Unsurprisingly, it took the German fighter pilots just a few nanoseconds to work all this out, and so they attacked directly from the front with devastating effect. So, with the plane so vulnerable in daylight, and after a brief spell focused solely on defending night raids, all the Boulton Paul Defiants were rapidly retired from active duty.

A 360º view is critical in warfare and is equally vital in business. Nokia, for instance, failed, with fatal consequences, to spot the critical nature of new competition to its mobile phone business from Apple, Samsung and cheaper Chinese manufacturers. Similarly, one senior US car manufacturing executive told Gary Hamel, the London Business School professor, that it took the US industry around 20 years to really appreciate the threat from Toyota and other Japanese manufacturers. By then, of course, the damage had been done!

What level of vision do you have on your market? Where are your blind spots? And what quality of vision do you have on the threat of competition from new, emerging competitors as well as your more established rivals?

Off The Record: I Didn’t See It Coming by Lloyd Cole

I wouldn’t change a single thing

Just that having been wrong so many, many times

It’s hard to believe that I might get it right

I didn’t see it coming

Competition Time: OK, here’s your chance to win a copy of my book, First & Fast:

This week I’ve used lyrics by Lloyd Cole, but what was the name of Lloyd’s 1980s backing band on songs including Perfect Skin, Lost Weekend, Brand New Friend and – my personal favourite – Forest Fire?


To answer, simply visit my Facebook page – – and post your answer in the comments section under the post that I’ve pinned to the top of the page. You have until midday GMT on Thursday 9 November to post your answer. I’ll then draw a winner at random and will inform them directly. Good luck!



Please note: This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Facebook or any of its subsidiaries. Open to UK residents only.


© Stuart Cross 2017. All rights reserved.