Book Notes: What Would Google Do by Jeff Jarvis

Recently I finished reading What Would Google Do by Jeff Jarvis. Judging by title I didn’t really expect lots of insights from the book but it appeared to be truly visionary and smart. It even made me kind of regret choosing Economics&Business major over Computer Science 7 years ago…

WWGD appeared not to be about Google itself but about the way business, economics, relationships, and the world as a whole change as the result of technologies widespread and simplification. So, in fact, the book covers quite a wide range of topics. From Google’s PageRank, to Facebook, new media, customized solutions, customer relations, blogging, Twitter, context advertising, search engine optimization, online community management, government policies, and many others.

I personally generated a lot of ideas when trying to project the concepts from the book to my own projects and life. So, here is my personal shortlist of lessons that I think are worth considering and thinking about, hope you’ll find it useful!

Top lessons from What Would Google Do by Jeff Jarvis, in my own words:

    1. Focus on platforms & networksMany IT companies, incl. Google itself gain their competitive advantage not so much from their products themselves but from the creative power of users of these products.Apple promotes iPhone SDK development platform. Facebook gives wide range of tools to their users and webmasters. They all understand that the easier it is to build something on-top of their service the more powerful it will be. Even small websites, blogs and companies can benefit a lot from crowd-sourcing and providing their customers with opportunity to contribute.
    2. Gain trust by giving up control and being transparent Consumers, readers, partners. Whoever it is you interact with, they will always want to know the truth about your company, service or brand. And it becomes easier than ever with the Internet to find it. In Google search results you can find blog post titled “Yourbrandname sucks” just next to your official website. So, instead of hiding it’s better to be transparent and open in the first place.
  1. Launch early
    It’s connected with the first idea and has a lot of implications in agile development and goes very well with current web startups trend I think. The idea is simple.Instead of trying to create 100% perfect product, website, blog post or whatever it is and then “launch it” as widely as possible sometimes it’s better to create some alpha version with minimum functionality and then cooperate with first customers, visitors, readers in order to get a better understanding of what market really needs and provide a solution. Instead of wasting time to create dozens of useless features.
  2. Customer support instead of traditional mass-marketing
    Word-of-mouth was always the first priority in marketing world. But the most effective ways to get it are getting different now. Often it is easier to get a positive feedbacks and publicity by direct open dialog with your customers. Even, with the most irritated ones that currently hate your brand and deliver according message all over. Especially, with them.
  3. Organizing communities instead of being a middle-man
    As Internet and Google makes it easier to find almost any information and any person middle-men have less chances to succeed  by having access to limited knowledge or connections. Instead, another model becomes highly potential. And this is finding communities that already exist or have a high potential of forming around products, services, companies, problems, interests or places and trying to create something that would bring a better level of organization to these communities.

For insights into specific industries: restaurants, insurance, and even government I’d suggest you read a book.

If you aren’t sure if it’s quite your thing it might be a good idea to watch Jeff Jarvis’ presentation @

And if you finally decided to give it a try, you might want to buy an audiobook or a paper version it on Amazon.

As my post follows the above-mentioned philosophy and is “half-baked” I would love to hear any corrections or additions from your side!


  1. Hello! I found your blog through some random chain of events which I can't remember. Firstly, good call on the book review. I think it's interesting that we're seeing a spate of “popular IT” books roaming the shelves whereas ten years ago it was popular science. The topics that it touches on are so relevant and important today. Businesses will have to build on sound ethical principles because our consumes are just too tech savvy and it's the popular IT books and blogs that are driving it.

    Such publications are making technology strategy more accessible to the populous and people are starting to realise that our technology future isn't in the hands of bearded geeks in the dingy server rooms but witty, highly strung businessmen with enough people skills to sell sand to the Arabs.
    Consumers will see that information technology is NOT the big scary domain of the LARPERS but a key business driver; it is now a crucial component of any company and part of our every day lives. People will demand more transparency from companies and be more willing to take control over the technology that influences them. The more people jump on the business bandwagon presented in this book, the better (and richer) they will be.

  2. Hey! I am always glad to get random visitors on my blog, especially active ones 🙂 Hope you like the blog!
    Your appeared to be quite insightful I should say. This is a good thing you are doing uncovering the truth about consulting industry!

    You definitely seem to see the situation of changing business environment in a similar way to the vision expressed in this post and in Jarvis' book!

    Anyway, welcome!

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