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