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on September 12, 2012
Nilofer has written a wonderful book about the new era in which we are living and working. Finally, it seems we are `getting it' in the 21st C - that everything is social. Nilofer integrates the social aspects of individuals - as humans, employees, consumers - with institutions and their various traditional silos and segments. She stresses the "AND/BOTH" and disrupts the false choice of "Either/Or".

One of her most powerful concepts, at least to me, is "Onlyness". It implies a sense of value and contribution by and for each human being - something that was lost in the 20th C. Nilofer balances the needs and importance of the aggregate with the individual - an imperative in this social era.

If you want understand, leverage and contribute to the social era, then please read Nilofer's book. It doesn't matter if you're in the C-Suite, the plant floor, the soccer mom, the government worker - as long as you're a human being living on this planet, there will be something for you. And, as you progress on your journey of finding and providing value in this new era, you'll want to reread 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era".
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on September 12, 2012
Too often when we think 'social', we complete the thought with 'media'. This is an essential update and extension to New Rules for the New Economy by Kevin Kelly. It's not enough to ask people to like you on Facebook - social interactions have the potential to change nearly all parts of the way we do business. The book addresses how the social era of business changes HR, service, finance, products, distribution, supply chain management, sales, marketing and innovation. The implications of this are significant, and Nilofer does a great job of drawing them out.

I know and respect Nilofer, so take that into account. On the other hand, if you read this review and hate the book, that reflects on me, and I'm very well aware of that as well. These are some of the issues that arise when you start taking social into account. It's not straightforward, and the book provides a useful roadmap for navigating some of these issues. It also includes a number of very practical exercises that you can work through to apply the ideas that are discussed.

If you're grappling with the implications of the increase in the interconnectedness that is driven by the internet, then this book is essential reading.
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on September 12, 2012
Nilofer writes the obit for T.S. (Traditional Strategy) and announces the birth of the New.
Disclosure: the author's considerable expertise has transformed the business strategies of several people with whom I've worked. They credit her with teaching them how to think about business. Those of us with gray hair can be grateful to Nilofer for telling us what's new, what's now and what's next.
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on October 17, 2012
Why are some people crazy for Apple products and others scornful? I see it every day. One person will post something--pro or con--and the crazy Apple people respond with iPhone this and iMac that, followed soon by an equally virulent screed from the anti-Apple people. The same is true for Google products.

I think Nilofer Merchant may have discovered the root cause. Apple people and Google people and Microsoft people have not bought these vendor's products; they've bought their vision. In 11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra, Nilofer Merchant writes:
The social object that unites people isn't a company or a product; the social object that unites people is a shared value or purpose. Purpose is a better motivator than money. Money, while necessary, motivates neither the best people not the best in people. Purpose does.

This is true for your employees and it's equally true for your customers.

Apple's value is elegant, seamless solutions. They've chosen to do it in a relatively "closed" way, which is what annoys the Anti-Apple people. Apple products don't do everything but what they do, they typically do well. Google products, by comparison, are "open" and that's great. But it also means that apps look different from one another and integrate with different levels of elegance. Microsoft products have never claimed to be elegant; they're workhorses. Business runs on Microsoft. You know sharepoint is a mess but you also know it'll be supported in the years to come. You and your IT folks may explore alternatives but, in the back of your minds, there's always this idea that Microsoft will still be there and maybe your alternative won't.

Brand loyalty comes from this shared purpose between vendor and client.

From:[...]
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on September 15, 2012
Nilofer Merchant offers 11 rules that may be unrules given their focus on fast, flexible, and fluid forces around modern work and organization.

We've moved into the social era, and I don't think we'll be switching back to more walled-in modes. Transaction costs used to make formality valuable in organizations but many of our transaction costs have been dramatically reduced by social era technologies and practices like smart phones, social network sites, electronic job boards, and crowd sourcing. Our expectations have also shifted given that greater transparency in some organizations is letting us see the possible across all organizations. People, technology, and organizational processes are shifting.

Have you already come to understand how these changes will affect your own work and organization? Have you begun to make adjustments? Whether or not you have, you need to read 11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra.

The book itself is of the social era. Nilofer looked broadly for her sources and feedback. Harvard Business School Press published it as an ebook with an option for an expanded print version. This is the new world of publishing and is just the beginning of how our learning, creating, and organizing will change in the #socialera. (See chapter 4 for examples ranging from Stanford to Singularity U.)

Key to this work are the ideas that :

1. Scale an be achieved through communities.
2. Consumers can be sources of value creation.
3. Purpose can become an alignment system.

Important to my own research and advising is that "work is freed from jobs." Nilofer notes that:

"the social era rewards those that can bring together a herd of gazelles, by which they can be fast, fluid, and flexible. What we reward in the social era is being connected to customer insights and acting with relevance in what we produce and deliver."

Our organizations and how we function within and across them is shifting. There is value in being open with your ideas and an understanding your "onlyness" and the "onlyness" of those around you. Onlyness includes the skills, passions, and purpose that only you bring to the situation. There is still benefit to being individually unique, skilled, and motivated... But it is also important that others understand what you bring to the table. Saving an idea until you can reap individual credit may actually mean your idea has less value. Nilofer offers:

"Instead if holding an idea in a closed fist, hold it out in your open hand. Someone can see or understand ideas held in a fist only in the little parts visible between your clenched fingers. An open hand gives your idea space to get bigger. Held in an open hand, treated like a living thing, it can grow, it can spread, and it can be picked up by others and made into something that will touch many lives."

Use this book to stetch your fingers and to help others relax their grip.

11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era
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on September 24, 2012
Yeah, we all know the world is changing. Yet, too many C-levels and business heads make strategic decisions as if the future looks the same as the past, only faster. They misunderstand social as a downstream marketing channel and employer branding tool. They still think of customers as "people we sell to" and employees as "people who do their tasks so we have stuff to sell." When asked how they're engaging differently, they say "Oh, I don't have time to post on Twitter, but we're funding some people who do that," as if we're talking about PR, instead of the wholesale fracturing and re-imagining of their business model.

This book is a powerful kick in the tush. I now have a fast read to zing over to my clients' Kindle apps when I hear them talking like frogs shvitzing. "What's our goal for Facebook likes?" Dead, dead, dead.

Nilofer breaks it down. Everything pivots on this: "a person or team anywhere in the world can create scale without being big." Those experience curves I drew as a junior Bainie 25 years ago? Let's put the final stake in those, shall we, along with every other legacy idea connected with size, location, or special sauce in your products. "Too big to fail" is politician-speak for "you employ lots of voters"; it has nothing to do with winning in the emerging economy.

To win, you stand for something that matters. You invite people to co-create, dissolving in your mind any us/them distinctions that stand in the way of you (but not savvy others) thinking freshly about how to give the world more of what matters, Nilofer shows us - in pithy prose and examples - that value now derives from endlessly fresh insight into what matters, flexibility-while-executing, and the capacity to create and sustain mutually beneficial relationships.

I challenge any business leader to read and discuss this book together with 3-5 colleagues/friends and ask, "What happens if my business stays the course while our competitors/vendors/a-clever-teen-somewhere leap to these new Rules?" Soon, you'll be asking what Nilofer asks, "What could it be for us?", "What could we do together?", and "What's one way to try it out?"
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on September 12, 2012
Author Nilofer Merchant boldly lays down the gauntlet for why we've outgrown the Manufacturing Era's rigid top-down 'push' methods -- and offers a robust, pragmatic framework designed to enable the best of the "pull"-based social era. Not to be taken lightly -- this is an entirely different view on business and where value is created (and how quickly it can disappear if you don't play).

Merchant brings the process-driven framework to life with high-impact examples fresh from the field. I have been on the front line of innovation and business strategy for 20 years. This is an important book.

The tectonic plates are shifting and it effects every cell of your business. To survive and thrive, you must understand, anticipate and respond to changes among your customers, employees, partners and competitors. If you lead a business, want to lead a business, or invest in businesses in year 2012, "The Social Era" is a must-read.
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on October 5, 2012
I read this book because everyone on God's green earth said it was the future of business, that and I've seen Nilofer speak, and think she's brilliant. But I can't give this book 5 stars. Being a solopreneur in the social space a lot of what Nilofer had to say either felt like something I already knew to be true or didn't apply to me. Regardless of her subtle wit, it's still a business book, written for people who read business books, written for people in the corporate culture. If you are steeped in corporate or consult for corporations (or want to consult for/change corporations) this book might hold some real value for you. However, if you are a solopreneur like me, you may want to skip this one and wait for what I hope is a book for people like us.
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on September 12, 2012
'11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era' is not just a book, it's the dawn of the new era in which everyone can contribute one way or the other in the overall success of a company/community/country. It's about understanding the current scenario of the human civilization and leveraging the contribution of anyone who is willing to contribute. It is a must read for everyone irrespective of what they do today since it provides a better understanding of where we are past Industrial Era, Traditional Strategy Era (as Nilofer puts it).

I really like how Nilofer has taken a holistic approach at every step in all the 11 chapters to describe and suggest.

Highly recommend reading!
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on December 19, 2012
Two things Nilofer teaches us older CEO/MBA types:
1. We need a NEW dish to serve to our clients because "Social" changed everything; and, best of all,
2. She gives us the recipe--step by step--to create what we need.
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