Book Review: Intangible Capital

Intangible Capital is a book that seeks to create a new way of thinking about our businesses and how we operate them. Traditionally our businesses and how we organize them, even how we measure and report on them, have been based on labor and tangible capital (property, plant and equipment). That’s because traditionally these were the motive forces behind how firms differentiated and made money. Firms that managed their tangible assets and labor effectively made more money than those that didn’t.

But what if the situation changed and tangible capital wasn’t as important as intangibles. Those intangibles might reflect the accumulated knowledge in the business, its strategies and recipes, its intellectual property and ideas. What happens to how we structure an organization and how we value an organization if intangible capital becomes as important, or more important, than physical capital?

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By Jeffrey Phillips

Intangible Capital is a book that seeks to create a new way of thinking about our businesses and how we operate them.  Traditionally our businesses and how we organize them, even how we measure and report on them, have been based on labor and tangible capital (property, plant and equipment).  That’s because traditionally these were the motive forces behind how firms differentiated and made money.  Firms that managed their tangible assets and labor effectively made more money than those that didn’t.

But what if the situation changed and tangible capital wasn’t as important as intangibles.  Those intangibles might reflect the accumulated knowledge in the business, its strategies and recipes, its intellectual property and ideas.  What happens to how we structure an organization and how we value an organization if intangible capital becomes as important, or more important, than physical capital? Leer más “Book Review: Intangible Capital”

The modern business plan

It’s not clear to me why business plans are the way they are, but they’re often misused to obfuscate, bore and show an ability to comply with expectations. If I want the real truth about a business and where it’s going, I’d rather see something else. I’d divide the modern business plan into five sections:

* Truth
* Assertions
* Alternatives
* People
* Money

The truth section describes the world as it is. Footnote if you want to, but tell me about the market you are entering, the needs that already exist, the competitors in your space, technology standards, the way others have succeeded and failed in the past. The more specific the better. The more ground knowledge the better. The more visceral the stories, the better. The point of this section is to be sure that you’re clear about the way you see the world, and that you and I agree on your assumptions. This section isn’t partisan, it takes no positions, it just states how things are.


It’s not clear to me why business plans are the way they are, but they’re often misused to obfuscate, bore and show an ability to comply with expectations. If I want the real truth about a business and where it’s going, I’d rather see something else. I’d divide the modern business plan into five sections:

  • Truth
  • Assertions
  • Alternatives
  • People
  • Money

The truth section describes the world as it is. Footnote if you want to, but tell me about the market you are entering, the needs that already exist, the competitors in your space, technology standards, the way others have succeeded and failed in the past. The more specific the better. The more ground knowledge the better. The more visceral the stories, the better. The point of this section is to be sure that you’re clear about the way you see the world, and that you and I agree on your assumptions. This section isn’t partisan, it takes no positions, it just states how things are. Leer más “The modern business plan”