Thank you, Michael Porter

Michael Porter is a scholar, an author who has written 20 books, a ton of articles, and has made an indelible contribution to business knowledge, teaching, and practice. He is a chaired professor at Harvard Business School. He created Porter’s Generic Strategies as well as Porter’s Five Forces Analysis, which I teach in my marketing class, to guide my students in performing what I call their mezzo-external analyses for our class clients.

And here’s why I really like him:

When I was pursuing my MBA in the late 1980s, we read Porter’s books. They were still fairly new at the time, and when I worked as an intern at NCR Corporation during the summer of 1987, I had two books visible in my little cubicle: my employee handbook and Porter’s Competitive Strategy (pictured, including 35-year-old Post-It note tabs and coffee stains… his book also worked well as a sturdy and spacious coaster).

At that time, Porter’s name was gaining recognition, even in Dayton, Ohio (Go Flyers!), and important NCR people would often walk past my three-and-a-half five-foot-tall walls, on their way to someplace important, stop, say “Porter, eh?” and to ask me what I knew of this guy and competitive strategy.

Sometimes our conversations would last a moment, sometimes they would lead to follow-up discussions.

Did it help my career? Maybe not directly but I am exactly where I want to be today and I’m writing about it for you right now. So… yes..

Yes it did.

Thanks, Michael Porter.

What do you think?

What’s your favorite business book and/or conversation piece?

See you tomorrow!