Built from Scratch
IN THIS SUMMARY
The Home Depot (THD) lost $1 million in its first year of operation in Atlanta. Today, Home Depot is the colossus of the home-improvement industry, a darling of Wall Street, and one of America’s greatest entrepreneurial success stories. No one thought the partners could do it, and very few trusted their judgment. "Or they trusted our judgment, but just didn’t think the whole concept of a home improvement warehouse with the lowest prices, best selection, and best service was going to work. They certainly didn’t realize that what we were planning would turn out to be a revolution in the retail business."Built from Scratch is a riveting tale of how that revolution unfolded. It is also an information-packed primer on customer service, employee relations, competitive strategy, growth, innovation, marketing, management, and all the other business how-tos executives, managers, and entrepreneurs in any industry should find profoundly useful. Not only is this a useful book, it is an exceptionally engaging one as well. The authors begin by talking about the values and culture that have nourished THD’s unparalleled growth - such fundamental mores as excellent customer service, taking care of and respecting all employees, maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit, building strong relationships with all stakeholders, doing the right thing, etc. And, from the first page to the last, it is patently obvious that this is not just talk, but Bernie and Arthur’s way of being and doing. Copious anecdotes highlight this fundamental characteristic of their leadership style and corporate culture.Another engaging factor is their raucous humor, which erupts from every colorfully colloquial, garrulous page. It is obvious that the partners have enjoyed their struggles, enjoy telling their story, and relish sharing with other business professionals what is beneficial and transferable from their experiences. One cannot help but notice that real human beings are behind that $30-billion orange apron.