What Would Google Do? (Book Review)

February 11, 2009

9780061709715“It’s about seeing the world as Google sees it, finding your own new worldview, and seeing differently.  In that sense, this isn’t a book about Google.  It’s a book about you.”

The first thing that you notice when you start to read the new book from Jeff Jarvis, What Would Google Do, is that this book is going to open your eyes to many “hidden truths”.  By breaking down Google’s philosophy, beliefs, and culture, Jeff shows us everything that has changed in the world since the explosion of the online world.

In exposing everything that Google has done, we can finally start to look at the world through their eyes.  Whereas many media, marketing, internet companies are clinging to ideals and beliefs of the old economy, Google and a few others have redefined what companies can do, how they can behave, and how they can develop.

Page by page, Jeff breaks down the rules that Google has followed to continue to grow and be successful.  And in doing so, he relates how other companies can use the same ideals to take advantage of a new generation of consumers that talk and discuss products and services in an open forum.  And through personal stories, detailed explanations of online activity, and an overview of how the major internet services work, we can see just how important it is for companies to join in the conversation, find niches, create communities, and act to serve the customer.

This is a must read for anyone who wants to further understand the power of the network. As the world continues to change through an ever expansive and open online society, it is vital that you know the rules of the game.  Jeff Jarvis will show you what is changing, where we’re headed, and how you can adjust and prepare yourself.  It is a creative way of looking at the world and will inspire you to embrace it.

You’re turn, what are some other books that do a great job of looking at the world in an interesting way and explaining new ideas?  What inspires you?  Let us know in the comments area below.

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When you Fake Innovation…

February 10, 2009

6a00d83451d69069e200e5517221008833-800wiWhen you fake innovation, you let everyone down.  For whatever it is worth, an enterprise must decide for themselves what they want to be.  And then once that decision is made, build yourself around it.  That means hiring and firing the right people, changing the way you communicate both internally and externally, and executing.  If you are okay being an average organization that does not take big risks and rides on the coattails of success, that’s fine.  Just don’t fake it.

Major League Baseball is faking it. They were looking for mass appeal, so they turned a blind eye to rampant abuse of performance enhancing drugs for a long time.  When they finally decided to deal with it, it wasn’t an internal decision.  Their hand was forced by the media and other external factors.  But even at that point, they had the chance to turn things around.

They tested and “perfected” a new random drug testing policy that was actually quite lenient, much more so than other professional sports.  They revised it many times, made it more strict, publicized it, and executed it.  Their message all along was that they were cleaning up baseball, making it great again.  At least that was their message to us, the fans and media.

Internally, no one got fired for failing to do their jobs.  And an investigation that should have been quick and to the point, is still ongoing.  Then, when most of the dust had settled, and fans of the game finally felt like things were back to normal…A-Rod.  Curt Schilling I think says what I mean best in his blog post.  Why is A-Rod left out to dry?  Who leaked this information?  Why are some names still not released to the public?

This is not a blog about Major League Baseball.  But from this example, it is clear that an organization (your company?) must have a clear vision for what they are trying to do.  And now, more than ever before, you must communicate and execute on that vision in the public eye. You can’t get by with telling one story and doing something else, you’ll get called out on it.  The negative PR from “lying” about your goals, your vision, your ideals and your strategy is too much to handle in a connected world.

You have to be the real thing.  People will acknowledge you for it, respect you for it, and thank you for it (success!!).  What do you think?

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Steve Wozniak is an Innovator – Are You?

February 6, 2009

wozniak_steveThere are a lot of innovators out there.  If you listen to what people and companies say, everyone is an innovator.  People like to toss around the term innovation because it gets people’s attention.  It makes you think of something new and amazing.

Steve Wozniak just took a job with Fusion-io, a startup focused on Flash memory devices to speed up servers.  Steve, co-founder of Apple, is a true technology innovator.  If you need proof, read his book.  He is an idea man, and he gets things done.  His mind just works in ways that other people’s don’t.

Really, at its base, innovation is change.  It is taking something, usually something that most people take for granted, and improving on it (or creating something completely different in its place).  And, truthfully, we can all innovate.  Every company, from the smallest of small businesses to the biggest of corporations, can make innovative strategic decisions on a daily basis.  So why don’t we?

Well, innovation can be hard.  It must be built into your culture.  It feeds off of creativity and ideas.  You need the people with those ideas to spawn innovative discussions, and you need leaders who listen and see the value in new ideas.

But the point of this blog is to show you that you don’t need a mind like Steve Wozniak’s to innovate.  Read his book, its inspiring.  In fact, read as many business books as you can.  Read the top business blogs.  Take in information, news, suggestions, etc. on innovation and business practice.

Let your mind wander.  Think of possibilities that are far out of reach.  It doesn’t matter what you do on a daily basis, after a while, things get stale.  And for a company that relies on putting out consistently good products or delivering consistently good service, staleness will kill you.

Suggestions: Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur, an employee, a small business owner, and inventor, or a CEO you can…

  1. Always be learning – read everything around you and find out what other people are thinking, doing, and saying.  Surrounding yourself with information leads to inspiration.
  2. Always be doing – don’t let yourself hesitate or put down certain ideas because you are afraid.  Don’t let a day go by where you are not experimenting with something physically or mentally.
  3. Always be talking – social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter have allowed for limitless conversation.  Seek out others in your field and communicate with them, this will bring new ideas to light.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Take advantage of the comment area below and add your own suggestions.  How can you foster innovation and creativity?

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Just Compete Already

February 4, 2009

Why are there so many companies that sell an energy drink? Why are there so many deli’s in New York City?  How is possible for a Quiznos to succeed across the street from a Subway?

Competition. There are enough customers out there looking for something different.  They are willing to try something just because it is different.  They are looking for something that gives them a different feeling, something to tell their friends about, something that sets them apart.

A company does not have to be markedly better to succeed in a competitive market.  They just have to be different.  Different is good.  Different is important.

Don’t be afraid of being different.  Apple is different than Microsoft.  Starbucks is different than Dunkin Donuts.  FedEx is different than UPS.  They all compete for your business.

As a hopeful entrepreneur, it is easy to be talked out of entering a market because there is too much competition.  They’ll say that there is no chance for an online bookstore called Amazon to take on the retail giants.  You’ll say, but we’re different.

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Lend a Finger Follow Up

February 2, 2009

et-fingerHow do you define success? Depending on the venture, there are always going to be a variety of goals and tools to use as measurement. Do you calculate the ROI of a project, or set small goals and consider achieving each one a success? It all depends.

Last week I posted a blog of significant importance to me. It was about my father, who had died of cancer, and the little steps that we can all take to help others. To read that post, click here and view the Lend a Finger Campaign.

I was not completely sure what I was looking to achieve with the post, but I did have some goals. I obviously wanted it to be a well written piece, one that sincerely related my thoughts to anyone who read it. I also wanted a lot of people to see it, more so than my average blog post. And after that, everything was gravy.

Well, after a few days of calculating stats and viewing the comments and emails of everyone who read it, I consider the post an incredible success. And I wanted to thank everyone for their help, though I can’t name you each individually, for helping to spread the message.

Many of my followers were quick to comment and retweet on Twitter, this lead to a lot of visitors and a large number of new followers, for which I am gracious. A surprising number of people used the sharing tools to share it on Facebook, which relayed the message to all of my friends and family. This brought in an overwhelming amount of emails and phone calls about the post.

After taking a look at the number of visitors to the Lend a Finger post, it is easy to see that when you are sincere and you have something interesting to say, others will take notice. My traffic from the day it went live through the weekend was 7-8 times higher than usual. I added this Twitpic of my stats on the day of the post.

Additionally, I was moved by the number of people who told me that they had or they planned on donating to cancer research and care, many in my father’s name. A quick mental calculation, of course I don’t know exact numbers, seems to show that 10-15 people donated to various charities that day after reading the blog.

I wish to thank everyone for their continued support. Know that if you got in touch with me that day, you moved me. If you helped relay the message, I appreciate it more than words can say. Because of the overwhelming feedback, I plan to use this blog as an outlet to bring to light many more things that we can do to help. I hope you will join me in the fight to make the world a better place.

To receive more information in the future, add my blog to your blog reader, or subscribe to receive updates in your email.

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