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What Would Google Do? Hardcover – January 27, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
This scattered collection of rambling rants lauding Google's abilities to harness the power of the Internet Age generally misses the mark. Blog impresario Jarvis uses the company's success to trace aspects of the new customer-driven, user-generated, niche-market-oriented, customized and collaborative world. While his insights are stimulating, Jarvis's tone is acerbic and condescending; equally off-putting is his pervasive name-dropping. The book picks up in a section on media, where the author finally launches a fascinating discussion of how businesses—especially media and entertainment industries—can continue to evolve and profit by using Google's strategies. Unfortunately, Jarvis may have lost the reader by that point as his attempt to cover too many topics reads more like a series of frenzied blog posts than a manifesto for the Internet age. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Jarvis, columnist and blogger about media, presents his ideas for surviving and prospering in the Internet age, with its new set of rules for emerging technologies as well as industries such as retail, manufacturing, and service. We learn that customers are now in charge, people anywhere can find each other and join forces to support a company’s efforts or oppose them, life and business are more public, conversation has replaced marketing, and openness is the key to success. Jarvis’ other laws include being a platform (help users create products, businesses, communities, and networks of their own); hand over control to anyone; middlemen are doomed; and your worst customer is your best friend, and your best customer is your partner. Jarvis offers thought-provoking observations and valuable examples for individuals and businesses seeking to fully participate in our Internet culture and maximize the opportunities it offers. It is unclear what role Google played, if any, in the preparation of this book, which provides excellent advertising for the company. --Mary Whaley
Top customer reviews
Overall it is a good read, read it as though you are talking to a geeky friend about Web 2.0 You would love the book.
1. New Relationship [Give the people control and we will use it],
2. New Architecture [Enable people by thinking distributed],
3. New Publicness [Findability: Drink the Google Juice],
4. New Society [Facebook's Zuckerberg defines "elegant organization" of existing communities of practice],
5. New Economy [Economy of Abundance; the Mass Market is replaced by masses of Niche markets],
6. New Business Reality [What Business are you really in?],
7. New Attitude [Inverse relationship between control and trust - letting go and listening],
8. New Ethic [Life is beta - be transparent with disclosure; Don't be Evil],
9. New Speed [En vivo], and
10. New Imperatives [Change now, protect innovation (not property), simplify, get out of the consumer's way].
These ten [eight?] qualities he generously dons as: Google Rules. This phrase is of interest because both words can serve as both a noun and a verb.
The Google Rules are simple; the consumer is in control, and business should look for ways to enable the consumer to co-create. The author emphasizes this thesis with several examples and then provides a futuristic outlook on major industries if they began to apply these principles: Google Times (print media), Googlewood (entertainment media), Google Power & Light (An initiative of [...] applied), GT&T (cell phones), Googlemobile (auto), Google Cola, Google Real Estate, Google Capital (banking), Google Mutual (insurance), St. Google Hospital, Google University, and audaciously, the United States of Google.
This book clearly delivers the message of rethinking marketing strategy and encourages firms to let go of control to gain trust. The idea that consumers rule alters the paradigm of strategy: from the traditional Theory X strategy of control to a Theory Y strategy of co-creation. Enabling customers, not interrupting them, will be essential to find success in the new global and digital economy.
Although this book is indeed a "must read," it is not without its limitations. The first read of the book was enlightening and exciting, the second read (about 2 weeks later), was not so enchanting for mainly two reasons. One, the author tries to correlate all things Open Source (the gift economy) with Google, when in fact the Open Source community has been thriving long before Google existed. Google's success is in part because the ideals of the Open Source community align well with Google's strategy; that does not mean Google created the gift economy. Google is indeed enabling the gift economy -- an economy of abundance. Jarvis just paints the landscape a bit too broadly.
The second limitation of the book was the strategic rigor. Examples are useful, but how does a restaurant owner really apply the ideals of the "Google Eats?" As a student of marketing strategy, and as an internet marketing consultant, the initial read was encouraging--I felt like I wanted to buy 10 copies and send to all my clients to help them "get it." As the ideas settled, I felt wanting more. Why is the world changing this way? How do managers make transitions? How will Google Rules effect the real companies of the world (e.g., GM), not fictitious worlds of possibilities (Googlemobile -- What if Google ran an auto company).
Another example of the lack of rigor relates to the issue of transparency. Early in the book he gives an example of "Dell Hell" and talks about customer revenge and retaliation. Although anecdotal, there are some key drivers/issues related to consumer backlash (Google Scholar Search on Customer Revenge [Gregoire]), yet those drivers are not discussed. For example, in an article title "When Good Brands Do Bad" the personality of the brand is very important in determining how consumers react to service failures -- Jarvis is saying to be the Fun personality type (new age) and not the traditional Sincere personality type.
As an enjoyable read I give the book 9/10. As a platform to encourage openness (e.g., Open Innovation) I give the book 9/10. In terms of getting to the nitty-gritty solutions of the real world, I find the book lacking -- I give the book 6/10. That results in an overall 4/5 stars.
[This is NOT a book about Google but about strategy Google uses that could be applied by others.]
I believe this is a profound book about changes in the business world created by continued advancement of the information age. The book as I read it, really is not about Google, per se. Instead it is a thoughtful discussion as to how all kinds of businesses will be impacted by the forces on which Google has so brilliantly capitalized.
As a long time strategic consultant, it is my vocational responsibility to be observing changes and synthesizing them so as to help my clients. This book had as much impact on my thinking about change as any I have read in the last year (and I am a voracious reader of business books, the best of which I review here on Amazon).
Here is the bottom line, I have already bought and distributed a dozen copies of this book for C level executives at clients and urged them to read and absorb the authors points about how industries are changing and will be changing. All kinds and forms of information are and increasingly will be readily available and inexpensive. The winners will be those who can effectively and efficiently synthesize the relevant information on a given subject. Jarvis is certainly not the first to make this point; but his book does a wonderful job of driving home the point.
Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail, sums up the book so well right on the top of the cover of the book: "Google is not just a company, it is an entirely new way of thinking. Jarvis has done something really important: extend that approach to business and culture, revealing just how revolutionary it is."