The Trap That Killed a King. A Cautionary Tale


Back in the 1980s, Micropolis Corporation was the computer disc king.

They sold more 8-inch “portable” discs than anyone. 

But trouble loomed. 

Competitors introduced a better product – the 5-inch floppy disc. Less expensive. Easier to use. Simpler. 

CEO Stuart Mabon understood the threat and directed his manufacturing team to switch focus from 8-inch to 5-inch drives. 

And get this…

…they pushed back. 

The larger discs had greater profit margin, they argued.

Mabon knew: Greater profit margin matters only if you can sell the higher-margin products. And the simpler 5-inch discs would soon render the 8-inch discs obsolete. 

Mabon had to push and prod his team to get with the program. And by the time they got to it, new market leaders controlled the 5-inch market. 

I read this cautionary tale in Richard Koch’s brilliant book, Simplify: How the Best Businesses in the World Succeed. 

Beware of the profit margin trap, warns Koch. Simpler, lower-margin products or services may take you down. 

True with computer discs. 

What about in your industry? 

This is one of many questions we’ll discuss on Thursday when Mastermind Book Club members meet to discuss Simplify. 

Every month, Ted Prodromou and I choose a great business book for the members to read.

In the MBC community, Ted and I will share short videos, blog posts, and other conversation-starters. 

Members chime in with their insights re: the book.

And on the fourth Thursday of each month, we gather on Zoom to discuss the book live. 

You can join the club (it’s free) and join us tomorrow.

You don’t have to read the book to participate. (Just as you didn’t have to read the book to get the point of the computer disc story).


  • Share insights drawn from the book.
  • Discuss how to apply those insights to improve your business.
  • Celebrate success as you or other members implement 

The key word above: IMPLEMENT. 

And you meet great people with whom you can connect and network. 

Even if you can’t join us tomorrow (1 p.m. EDT, 12 p.m. CDT), i encourage you to join the Club. Click the button below to make it happen…

p.s. I help coaches, consultants, and business leaders discover and deliver powerful stories that captivate prospects and inspire them to act. Whenever you're ready, here are several ways I can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you'll land more clients without pitching and prodding:

1) Connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook and (if not subscribed already) join our email list.

2) Watch the free, 7-minute Micro-Training: “The 3 Most Important Storytelling Keys to Captivate Prospects and Inspire Them to Act -- Without Pitching and Prodding.”

3) Become a Story Power VIP in the Content Transformation Academy: Master how to discover, assemble, and deliver business-building stories. Weekly masterclasses. Members-only content. One-on-one feedback and consulting sessions. And more… If you'd like to learn more about our VIP program, just reply to this email and put "Story Power VIP" in the subject line. I’ll contact you with more details.

4) Work with me one-on-one: If you’re interested in working directly with me -- to discover, assemble, and deliver powerful, business-building stories -- simply reply to this email and change the subject line to "Private Client." Tell me a little about yourself, your business, and what you'd like to accomplish, and I'll reply to discuss options.

5) Invite me to speak at an event: I can tailor a presentation that meets the specific needs of your organization. Informative. Entertaining. Virtual or live. Potential for continuing education credits when applicable for your group. If interested, reply to this email and change the subject line to “Speaking Engagement.” I’ll circle back to discuss the possibilities.

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.