Welcome to Crafting a Strategy
Crafting A Strategy (CAS) is an interactive "textbook"
that brings together text, interactive questions, images, videos, podcasts, world wide web content and student evaluation
into a digital platform provided by Top Hat. We put textbook in quotes because electronic devices, digital media and the world wide web allow us to implement a very different architecture than a big old textbook.
Secondly, we purposely try to create lessons that can pretty much stand on their own. Each lesson is designed to take a learner about 30 minutes or less. Sometimes the core of the lesson is in text form, sometimes it is a video, and sometimes it is a podcast. There is an order, a best place to start and a suggested place to finish, but feel free to jump around!
Third, we take advantage of the world wide web by providing hyperlinks to high quality sources all over the internet. Why re-invent it when there is a fantastic video right on TED.com or an article about a great company written by a professional at Fortune magazine, or we can go directly to the US Securities and Exchange Commission Bulletin (SEC) to learn rules for accredited investors, or link directly to Milton Friedman's original treatise in the New York Times Sunday Magazine section, September 13th, 1970? We can then go to Harvard Business Review to start a discussion of where we think Friedman goes wrong, and discuss that owners get to define what winning means for themselves. We used to warn our students against depending upon sites like Wikipedia for valid knowledge, but now we find fantastic Wikipedia entries that enhance both teaching and learning. Thank goodness for technological disruption!
Fourth, each lesson here was written for and has been vetted by the owners and managers of small and mid-sized craft brewery businesses. We know craft brewery owners and general managers from all over the world. These people are leaders who need to think strategically. We do not write our lessons for other academics and professors (for goodness sake, they already know this stuff), we write and construct our lessons for busy students and busy business people who want to learn.
Lastly, We do not cover everything! Your instructor will have plenty of room to show their own slides, deliver their own lectures, and help you knit all these lessons together. If you are an instructor and wish that this book had a lesson on something else, just write to us (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) and if we agree, we can probably add it within a few weeks! This is the 21st century, no more waiting two years for the next edition.
Mark Meckler and Sam Holloway
As a user of this e-book, there are some important things that you need to know to ensure that you are able to utilize this to its full potential. In this page we provide information on what you will get and how to use Crafting A Strategy
What will you learn?
Employers consistently told us that business schools did not go far enough to teach “strategic thinking.” Strategic thinking requires a simultaneous consideration of multiple sources of competitive advantage. Strategic thinking requires a deep understanding of fixed and variable costs, plus it also requires an understanding of your competitors, their product offerings, their resources and whether and how you can acquire resources to sustain a competitive advantage. Finally, strategic thinking requires a marketing intelligence where you can integrate your firm’s product, price, promotion, and place alongside a deep understanding of consumer insights, needs, and delights. It’s really hard to do well, but also essential to developing and sustaining competitive advantages.
"pursuing richness of understanding allows you to wisely apply the strategic concepts and lessons learned here to other industries and situations"
By focusing on a single industry and the competition between the major strategic groups within the industry, you will learn nuances and details of business strategy that could not be learned through generic examples or jumping from industry to industry. You will find that pursuing richness of understanding allows you to wisely apply the strategic concepts and lessons learned here to other industries and situations. You will be able to generalize, and at the same time it will be natural to ask yourself, what is different in another industry situation from the beer industry that might a strategy work better, or worse?
You will learn differently using our textbook because we don’t always think linearly. We’ve run real businesses ourselves, we’ve dealt with fickle consumers, suppliers who didn’t deliver on time, and buyer’s who didn’t buy in the quantities promised in our contracts. Running a business isn’t a linear process, so we’ve adjusted this book to reflect the reality you are likely to encounter in the real world. Thus, we bring nuance and additional theory into every chapter and almost every lesson. Additionally, we know that two professors can’t deliver the high level expertise across all areas needed to develop a successful strategy. Thus we have several co-contributors in areas of marketing intelligence, sales, distribution, mergers & acquisitions, and more! At every point along the way, we aim to identify and then integrate our core strategic theories to help you become a better strategic thinker.
Our core strategic theories are: The Resource-Based View, Disruption, Capabilities, and Transaction Cost Economics. Other craft beer industry specific lessons include Competitive Positioning, Industry Profitability, Value Creation and Capture, Institutional Theory, Architectural Innovation, Technological Adoption, Blue Ocean Strategies, Collaborative Strategies, Customer Validation, Lean Launch, Effectuation, Industry Consolidation, Fragmentation, M&A, Marketing, and Consumer Behavior.
How will you learn?
Integrating all of these important concepts is a big challenge. Thus we’ve simplified the entire curriculum by categorizing each topic under one of five strategic areas: Value Chain (VC), Marketing and Brand Community (BC), Controlled Operations (CO), Leadership & Culture (LC), and Business Model (BM). At the bottom of every page in the book, you will see our CAS icon.
This icon has five pint glasses for a reason! Each pint glass represents each one of the topic areas. But always remember, strategy making is not a completely linear process! Rather, you always must consider the trade-offs inherent in pursuing any one thing. That is why all five pint glasses are tied together around a central ‘bull’s-eye’ that represents what you are trying to accomplish.
On any given page, we will show the “Five Pint” icon to remind you that strategy is an integrative process. However, depending on the topic at hand, one of the five core areas will likely be emphasized. Thus, right in the middle of the bull’s eye, we will highlight the pint glass / two-letter code to remind you of the core area of thinking that supports that particular lesson. [we may want to additionally, spell out the ingredient(s) highlighted to make the effort/message clearer]. Here is an example for a lesson focused on how a Brand Community (BC) affects a firm’s core strategy.
Additionally, students will be inspired through multiple media including white papers, podcasts, videos, case studies and more. Here is how we break down each media type by its core purpose:
- White papers provide deeper knowledge and visual
representations of formulas, calculations, and deeper thinking
- Podcasts provide convenience and practical advice
from real industry experts. Students love homework assignments via podcast
- Case studies provide synthesis (e.g. Bloom’s higher
- Instructional videos provide visual learners as well as access to Ph.D. instructors (Meckler and Holloway)
Whom are you learning from?
Mark R. Meckler is Associate Professor of Strategy
and Leadership at the University of Portland and Co-Founder & Vice
President of Strategy and Curriculum at CRAFTINGASTRATEGY.COM. He has lived,
served and traveled all over the world. Dr. Meckler is a classically trained
saucier, and a former chef and food & beverage manager. Dr. Meckler also
worked in investment banking at Baring Securities in New York City as a
closed-end fund analyst. He began his teaching career in New York State, and
continued teaching throughout his doctoral program, and for 16 years as an
assistant and an associate professor.
Dr. Meckler has published numerous journal articles related to strategic
management, truth telling, controlled innovation, human motivation, and
cross-cultural management. He also writes extensively for Crafting A Strategy.
Dr. Meckler now lives in Portland, Oregon metropolitan area with his wife and
is an Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the University of
Portland. His research has been featured in premier scholarly journals
including Academy of Management Journal,
Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Marketing Science Review, and
several others. In 2016, Sam was named an Ascendant Scholar by the Western
Academy of Management (1 of only 4 scholars selected, nationally). Further, Sam
is on the board of directors and a shareholder in on of Oregon’s most respected
craft breweries, Oakshire Brewing. Sam’s academic research includes studying
the international craft beer industry. Sam is a featured speaker, regularly
presenting his research at universities and beer industry conferences
throughout the world. Based upon his research, Dr. Holloway teamed with Dr.
Mark Meckler and e-commerce entrepreneur, Joe Belcher to launch CRAFTINGASTRATEGY.COM (CAS),
a global online knowledge sharing community whose membership includes beer
industry stakeholders on four continents. Built upon a knowledge base of over
140 graduate level business content pieces, CAS is used throughout the world at
business schools and inside breweries to teach strategic thinking, leadership,
Dr. Ian Parkman, Assistant
Professor of Marketing, University of Portland
Kevin O’Brien, Sr. Vice President of Zepponi & Company (a leading alcoholic beverage M&A advisory)
Victor ten Wolde, Region Director Emerging Markets at beverage manufacturer Diego Zamora
Dr. John Schouten, Professor of Marketing, Memorial University (Canada)
Dr. Diane Martin, Lecturer Marketing, University of Nevada (Reno)