Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Book Review: What Would Google Do?

Once upon a time the 800 pound gorilla in the room was Microsoft. They had so much money and so many resources that companies were, rightly, afraid that Microsoft would enter their space and take away their market share.

This has actually happened to me. Once upon a time the executives at a company I was working at wanted to partner with Microsoft so they had them come in for a demo of our product that integrated with Exchange. The demo went well and Microsoft executives were impressed but the partnership never emerged. However about a year later there were rumblings in the industry that Microsoft was about to release a new version of Exchange that duplicated the functionality of our product. I will leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

Now the 800 pound gorilla title has passed on to Google. Yes, they have the near unlimited resources that Microsoft has but they are more inclined to commodify your product by releasing their own free version. This is one of the topics that Jeff Jarvis explores in his book What Would Google Do?.

Jarvis boils down Google's strategy into his set of Google Rules:

1) The customer is always right
2) Be a platform others can build upon
3) Middlemen Are Doomed
4) Be Transparent
5) Small is the new big
6) The middleman is dead
7) Don't sell things, stuff sucks

Now these rules apply to more companies than just Google and by following them your organization can innovate like Google. I particularly liked the chapters on middlemen and don't sell atoms, sell electrons.

The book is well worth the read and I'm giving it a borrow rating. Also, I digested this book in audio book form and Mr. Jarvis does a great job of reading it as well.

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