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The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing Paperback – February 28, 2012
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"Lisa Gansky sees around corners and describes a future that seems impossible...until you realize that it's imminent. The Mesh is a very big idea."
"Lisa Gansky makes a compelling case for the new competitive logic of sharing- and shows how to build not just a single company, but an entire business ecosystem, around this concept. If you want to understand the future, and maybe even help create it, read this book."
-Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
"This is a brilliant, important book. Lisa Gansky has put her finger on one of the most important trends that will shape our culture over the next decades. She puts social media in a broader economic, cultural, and environmental context."
-Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO, O'Reilly Media
"This book offers a timely introduction to the reality and importance of Mesh companies-ones that provide products and services through sharing, via community participation and a culture of trust-in a way that really matters."
-Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist
"Easy access to shared and personalized goods and services is going to be an integral and ubiquitous part of the new economy. Lisa has tapped into, explains, and explores this new phenomenon."
-Robin Chase, cofounder and founding CEO, Zipcar
"The Mesh clearly reveals the dramatic shift enabled by our connected world. And Gansky's practical experience makes it real. It's essential reading for anyone in business."
-John Donahoe, CEO, eBay
"Gansky's book is an important read for anyone who cares about the planet or is looking to make a ton of money."
-David Hornik, venture capitalist, August Capital
About the Author
Lisa Gansky has been a founder and CEO of multiple Internet companies, including GNN and Ofoto. She currently advises and invests in several social ventures, including New Resource Bank, Squidoo, Convio, TasteBook, MePlease, Slide, Instructables, and Greener World Media. She is a cofounder of Dos Margaritas, a conservation-focused social venture. She lives in Napa, California.
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The core premise of Mesh businesses is: "When information about goods is shared, the value of those goods increases, for the business, for individuals, and for the community."
The author says that, "fundamentally, the Mesh is based on network-enabled sharing--on access rather than ownership. The central strategy is, in effect, to "sell" the same product multiple times. Multiple sales multiply profits, and customer contact. Multiple contact multiply opportunity--for additional sales, for strengthening a brand, for improving a competitive service, and for deepening and extending the relation with customers."
The book also references a recent study, which concluded that, "a recommendation from a "trusted source" like a friend or family members was fifty times more likely to persuade someone to buy a product or try a new brand. The same study reported that word of mouth is the "primary factor" behind between 20 and 50 percent of purchases, and emphasized the expanded role of information networks in driving this development."
WHAT IS THE MESH
The 4 Characteristics of a Mesh Business as listed in the book are:
Sharing a high code, frequently used goods
Advanced Web and Mobile Information Networks
Focus on Physical Goods and Materials
Engage with Customers Through Social Networks
"The Mesh model is based on a series of transactions, on sharing something over and over. Creating a share platform is the first, necessary-but-not-sufficient building block of the Mesh. The second is to create information infrastructure that takes advantage of mobile, Web, and social networks. Then each interaction, and transaction, becomes an opportunity to gather and exchange information with a customer."
The 7 Keys to Building Trust in the Mesh:
Say What You do
Do What You Say
Perpetually Delight Customers
Embrace Social Networks and Go Deep
Value transparency, but protect privacy
Deal with negative publicity and feedback promptly and skillfully
WHY THE MESH
Tomorrow's business leaders recognize that trust in a business's environmental and social practices increasingly drives informed consumers' decisions. Successful Mesh businesses harness information from customers, combine it with data from physical products and social networks, and then use that information to satisfy customers, and their friends, in ways never before dreamed of. Good Mesh businesses are smart about combining more frequent customer contact with enhanced information sources to create and refine superior experiences, partnerships, products, and offers.
MESH COMPANIES HIGHLIGHTS
Zipcar is one of the companies profiled in the book. The author says that, "The robust information platform and focus on building the brand distinguished Zipcar from early car-sharing companies that were merely long on good intentions, many of which failed. In fact, Zipcar is primarily an information business that happens to share cars."
So if you're in the information business, you are a Mesh business whether you realize it or not.
TCHO, a chocolate company in SF, produces "beta editions" of its dark chocolate. "Based on customer feedback and continuous flavor development, new versions of the chocolate emerge as often as every thirty-six hours. Version 1.0 went through 1,026 iterations in a year."
Why did Netflix slaughter Blockbuster? Blockbuster was late in acknowledging customer resentments, and late in understanding the spreading power of social networks to shape brand perception. They created a share platform, but neglected other elements that make Mesh businesses so competitive.
This is an excellent book that could help realign the business perspective on how to succeed in the future. Embracing openness, sharing and focusing on customer satisfaction are some of the key practices that could catapult your business from mediocre to stellar now and in the future.
For anyone interested in business and its evolution, this is a must-read. I have read Collaborative Consumption by Rachel Botsman and Boo Rogers which discusses the same implications. Both are great reads and in this book, Gansky takes a much more business approach to the movement of sharing in business in contrast to Collaborative Consumption that focuses more on the social, environmental, and economical implications. You can tell Gansky really knows what she is talking about and has a good deal of personal experience in the matter herself.
For any aspiring entrepreneur, I believe this book can only act as a tremendous resource to accelerate the success of your future endeavors.
The book also hosts a website:
It's the ah-ha moment and Gansky has nailed it. This was a fun book to read and I'm tempted to give it another go around.
The beauty of this book is that not only does Gansky explain to you, in easy to understand language, what's going on. But she also explains what you and your business can do about it. Better yet...If you're not in business for yourself, Gansky shows you how the Mesh is waiting, ready, and willing for you to get connected.
This was a great book and fun to read on my kindle.
In the spirit of "The Mesh," I wish Amazon would give me a way to "gift" the book from my Amazon account to someone else. This is an idea I'd like to help spread.
Most recent customer reviews
The back of the book gives so many websites and descriptions of their...Read more
A fiend of mine met writer Lisa Gansky, he is a real web committed person.
Very modern issue.