By Jeff Jarvis; Collins Business, 2009
Take everything you know about business, turn it upside down, and that’s pretty much what Google is doing. If conventional wisdom suggests that people should pay for your product, Google’s is free. If you might support that weird business strategy by running ads on your front page, Google’s is absolutely pristine.
In Jarvis’s view, every business has a lot to learn from one of the few profitable companies in these turbulent times. He starts with some counterintuitive Google premises: give control away, make mistakes often, let your customers be your ads, niches are more profitable than mass markets, everything is public, get out of the way.
The last half of the book is where it gets interesting--rethinking the business models of major industries in the Google way: manufacturing, real estate, communications, airlines, insurance, education. There are some provocative ideas, and at the very least, some challenges to long-held assumptions that are worth pondering.
I’d give it an 8 on the LL innovation meter, good for anyone who makes strategic decisions or wants to start the next Google.
Lynda Lawrence is an innovation consultant with Ideaworks Consulting. She teaches Strategic Innovation and Design Management at the Merage School at UCI, and is an advisor to the Beall Center.