- 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: 160 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #516,390 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
Watch the video book companion to What Would Google Do?, by Jeff Jarvis.
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In short, this is one long love letter to Google. If Google were a human being, Jeff Jarvis would be the stalker.
While there are many things that Google does right and can be both helpful and beneficial to mankind, there are many areas in which it needs to improve or, at least, be more respectful. However, in this book, Google can do no wrong.
Worried about your privacy? Pshaw. Google just needs all that information about you in order to organize itself better to serve up more relevant results for you. Tired of seeing ads everywhere? Hey, that's how Google can give you what it does for "free" (and provide some income for the masses who serve up their ads).
It's well written and simple to follow. As long as you know you're reading fawning hype for Google, you'll be OK.
First Salesman: "We lose money on every sale."
Second Salesman: "How do you do it without going out of business?"
First Salesman: "We make it up in volume."
In an economy fueled by social networks, data and technology, companies that want to thrive need to replace questions like `HOW MUCH can we make from each transaction?' with questions like `HOW LITTLE can we charge and still get by?'
According to Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do?, businesses that rely on the formerly-reliable `law of supply & demand' to guide financial strategies are likely to fail in today's economy. Why? Scarcity doesn't ensure value. IF ANYTHING, it attracts a wide field of competitors striving to underprice you and deliver your once-scare commodity faster.
"Scarcity was about control: those who controlled a scare resource could set the price for it. Not anymore,"Jarvis said. "Google has found a business model based on creating , exploiting and managing abundance. The more content there is for it to organize, and the more places there are for it to place ads, the better."
Read the rest of the review here: [...]
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.]
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.