What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis, Collins Business, HarperBusiness, 272 pages, $26. 99, Hardcover, February 2009, ISBN 9780061709715 When Jeff Jarvis, founder of the well-followed blog BuzzMachine, had a problem with the customer service provided by Dell, he sparked what would become an Internet firestorm of criticism that engulfed Dell in a customer service (and public relations) nightmare.
In April 2008, just as America was diving into recession, Google announced another amazing and profitable quarter. The New York Times story was headlined, "Google defies economy." It should have read, "Google defines economy."Jarvis is definitely a disciple (more accurately, a guru) of the paradigm shift that's taken place in the entrepreneurial thinking of new media. The section headings in this book read like the mantras of Silicon Valley and Web 2.0: "Join the open-source, gift economy;" "The post-scarcity economy;" "Free as a business model;" "The mass market is dead--long live the mass of niches." These are no longer heretical or revolutionary ideas, and Jarvis doesn't pretend that they are. What he does is explain these ideas as clearly as possible, detail some of the history that led us to this new frontier, and let you know how to adapt. The good news is that most of traits a company needs to do to be successful in the new economy are the same as what it takes to be a decent human being, including: "Make mistakes well," "Be honest," "Be transparent," "Collaborate," and "Don't be evil." With the game changing as fast as it is, you should read at least one book a year, probably more, from a leading thinker on the Internet just to keep up. I think Jeff Jarvis has this year covered.