- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: HarperBusiness; First Edition first Printing edition (January 27, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061709719
- ISBN-13: 978-0061709715
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,030,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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
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Top Customer Reviews
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."
First, let's be clear. Google is not open by any stretch of the imagination. You can't get a 2-3 year view into their product roadmap. Google's data centers are top secret. If they're so open, why not let people tour them like Miller does its breweries or Boeing it airplane manufacturing plant? I, for one, would love to tour their facility. It'd be fascinating (geeks rule!). Second, Google doesn't implement everything its users want. GMail users have asked for custom folders to organize their email but instead get categories. Why isn't the customer's feedback taken into consideration? Every other mail provider allows for this. Lastly, their beta programs never seem to end. Beta programs, by definition, let users give feedback but they're also unsupported. "We lost your mail? Sorry, that's a beta." If the folks in Detroit rolled all of their cars off of the assembly line with a "beta" lable people could be killed. Thanks, but no thanks. Some of the cars coming from Detroit may not be award-winning but at least they are well tested and safe.
Certainly, the automobile manufacturers as well as all industries could benefit from the feedback loop that instrumentation allows. Unfortunately, they don't have the connectivity to each car that Google and other high tech companies are beneficiaries. Google knows where people click, how long they stay on a page, etc. That's because everyone who does a search "phones home" to their servers. This gives them tremendous insight just like it does Yahoo, Microsoft, IBM, etc. I have high confidence that GM would benefit if every time you turned on your headlights that data was caputure in their Detroit office.
Jarvis is another author riding the wave of a company's success. You don't need to buy this book. Just wait a few years and see if Google 2020 is as great as it was as Google 2009. Saddle Google with the U.S. automobile companies pension issues and I don't think this book would ever be published.