What Would Google Do?

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-04-14
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications
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What's the question every business should be asking itself' According to Jeff Jarvis, it's WHAT WOULD GOOGLE DO? If you're not thinking or acting like Google -- the fastest-growing company in the history of the world -- then you're not going to survive, let alone prosper, in the Internet age.

An indispensable manual for survival and success that asks the most important question today's leaders, in any industry, can ask themselves: What would Google do? To demonstrate how to emulate Google, Jarvis lays out his laws of what he calls the new Google century, including such insights as: Think Distributed, Become a Platform, Join the Post-Scarcity, Open-Source, Gift Economy, The Middleman Has Died, Your Worst Customers Are Your Best Friends and Your Best Customers Are Your Partners, Do What You Do Best and Link to the Rest, Get Out of the Way, Make Mistakes Well, and More.

He applies these principles not just to emerging technologies and the Internet, but to other industries -- telecommunications, airlines, television, government, healthcare, education, journalism, and yes, book publishing -- showing ultimately what the world would look like if Google ran it. The result is an astonishing, mind-opening book that will change the way readers ask questions and solve problems.

“Blogger/columnist Jeff Jarvis’s treatise on how—and why—companies should think and act like Google brings to mind several trite words from the world of literary criticism: eye-opening, thought-provoking and enlightening.” -USA Today

“What Would Google Do? is an exceptional book that captures the massive changes the internet is effecting in our culture, in marketing, and in advertising.” -Craig Newmark, Founder of craigslist

“Jeff Jarvis has written an indispensable guide to the business logic of the networked era, because he sees the opportunities in giving the people control, and understands the risks in letting your competitors get there first.” -Clay Shirky, Author of Here Comes Everybody

Table of Contents

WWGD?p. 1
Google Rulesp. 9
New Relationshipp. 11
Give the people control and we will use it
Dell hell
Your worst customer is your best friend
Your best customer is your partner
New Architecturep. 24
The link changes everything
Do what you do best and link to the rest
Join a network
Be a platform
Think distributed
New Publicnessp. 40
If you're not searchable, you won't be found
Everybody needs Googlejuice
Life is public, so is business
Your customers are your ad agency
New Societyp. 48
Elegant organization
New Economyp. 54
Small is the new big
The post-scarcity economy
Join the open-source, gift economy
The mass market is dead-long live the mass of niches
Google commodifies everything
Welcome to the Google economy
New Business Realityp. 70
Atoms are a drag
Middlemen are doomed
Free is a business model
Decide what business you're in
New Attitudep. 82
There is an inverse relationship between control and trust
Trust the people
New Ethicp. 91
Make mistakes well
Life is a beta
Be honest
Be transparent
Don't be evil
New Speedp. 103
Answers are instantaneous
Life is live
Mobs form in a flash
New Imperativesp. 109
Beware the cash cow in the coal mine
Encourage, enable, and protect innovation
Simplify, simplify
Get out of the way
If Google Ruled the Worldp. 119
Mediap. 123
The Google Times: Newspapers, post-paper
Googlewood: Entertainment, opened up
GoogleCollins: Killing the book to save it
Advertisingp. 145
And now, a word from Google's sponsors
Retailp. 153
Google Eats: A business built on openness
Google Shops: A company built on people
Utilitiesp. 162
Google Power & Light: What Google would do
GT&T: What Google should do
Manufacturingp. 172
The Googlemobile: From secrecy to sharing
Google Cola: We're more than consumers
Servicep. 182
Google Air: A social marketplace of customers
Google Real Estate: Information is power
Moneyp. 189
Google Capital: Money makes networks
The First Bank of Google: Markets minus middlemen
Public Welfarep. 199
St. Google's Hospital: The benefits of publicness
Google Mutual Insurance: The business of cooperation
Public Institutionsp. 210
Google U: Opening education
The United States of Google: Geeks rule
Exceptionsp. 222
PR and lawyers: Hopeless
God and Apple: Beyond Google?
Generation Gp. 229
Continuing the conversationp. 243
Acknowledgments and disclosuresp. 245
Indexp. 247
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


What Would Google Do?

Chapter One


It seems as if no company, executive, or institution truly understands how to survive and prosper in the internet age.

Except Google.

So, faced with most any challenge today, it makes sense to ask: WWGD? What would Google do?

In management, commerce, news, media, manufacturing, marketing, service industries, investing, politics, government, and even education and religion, answering that question is a key to navigating a world that has changed radically and forever.

That world is upside-down, inside-out, counterintuitive, and confusing. Who could have imagined that a free classified service could have had a profound and permanent effect on the entire newspaper industry, that kids with cameras and internet connections could gather larger audiences than cable networks could, that loners with keyboards could bring down politicians and companies, and that dropouts could build companies worth billions? They didn't do it by breaking rules. They operate by new rules of a new age, among them:

  • Customers are now in charge. They can be heard around the globe and have an impact on huge institutions in an instant.
  • People can find each other anywhere and coalesce around you—or against you.
  • The mass market is dead, replaced by the mass of niches.
  • "Markets are conversations," decreed The Cluetrain Manifesto, the seminal work of the internet age, in 2000. That means the key skill in any organization today is no longer marketing but conversing.
  • We have shifted from an economy based on scarcity to one based on abundance. The control of products or distribution will no longer guarantee a premium and a profit.
  • Enabling customers to collaborate with you—in creating, distributing, marketing, and supporting products—is what creates a premium in today's market.
  • The most successful enterprises today are networks—which extract as little value as possible so they can grow as big as possible—and the platforms on which those networks are built.
  • Owning pipelines, people, products, or even intellectual property is no longer the key to success. Openness is.

Google's founders and executives understand the change brought by the internet. That is why they are so successful and powerful, running what The Times of London dubbed "the fastest growing company in the history of the world." The same is true of a few disruptive capitalists and quasi-capitalists such as Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook; Craig Newmark, who calls himself founder and customer service representative—no joke—at craigslist; Jimmy Wales, cofounder of Wikipedia; Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon; and Kevin Rose, creator of Digg. They see a different world than the rest of us and make different decisions as a result, decisions that make no sense under old rules of old industries that are now blown apart thanks to these new ways and new thinkers.

That is why the smart response to all this change is to ask what these disrupters—what Mark, Craig, Jimmy, Jeff, Kevin, and, of course, Google—would do. Google generously shares its own philosophy on its web site, setting out the "10 things Google has found to be true." They are smart but obvious PowerPoint lines helpful in employee indoctrination (especially necessary when your headcount explodes by 50 percent in a year—to 16,000 at the end of 2007 and to 20,000 before the end of the following year): "Focus on the user and all else will follow," Google decrees. "It's best to do one thing really, really well. . . . Fast is better than slow. . . . You can make money without doing evil. . . . There's always more information out there. . . . The need for information crosses all borders. . . ." These are useful, but they don't tell the entire story. There's more to learn from watching Google.

The question I ask in the title is about thinking in new ways, facing new challenges, solving problems with new solutions, seeing new opportunities, and understanding a different way to look at the structure of the economy and society. I try to see the world as Google sees it, analyzing and deconstructing its success from a distance so we can apply what we learn to our own companies, institutions, and careers. Together, we will reverse-engineer Google. You can bring this same discipline to other competitors, companies, and leaders whose success you find puzzling but admirable. In fact, you must.

Google is our model for thinking in new ways because it is so singularly successful. Hitwise, which measures internet traffic, reported that Google had 71 percent share of searches in the United States and 87 percent in the United Kingdom in 2008. With its acquisition of ad-serving company DoubleClick in 2008, Google controlled 69 percent of online ad serving, according to Attributor, and 24 percent of online ad revenue, according to IDC. In the U.K., Google's ad revenue grew past the largest single commercial TV entity, ITV, in 2008, and it is next expected to surpass the revenue of all British national newspapers combined. It is still exploding: Google's traffic in 2007 was up 22.4 percent in a year. Google no longer says how many servers its runs—estimates run into the millions—and it has stopped saying how many pages it monitors, but when it started in 1998, it indexed 26 million pages; by 2000, it tracked one billion; and in mid-2008 it said it followed one trillion web addresses. In 2007 and again in 2008, says the Millward Brown BrandZ Top 100, Google was the number one brand in the world.

By contrast, Yahoo and AOL, each a former king of the online hill, are already has-beens. They operate under the old rules. They control content and distribution and think they can own customers, relationships, and attention. They create destinations and have the hubris to think customers should come to them. They spend a huge proportion of their revenue on marketing to get those people there and work hard to keep them there. Yahoo! is the last old-media company.

Google is the first post-media company. Unlike Yahoo, Google is not a portal. It is a network and a platform. Google thinks in distributed ways. It goes to the people. There are bits of Google spread all over the web. About a third of Google's revenue—expected to total $20 billion in 2008—is earned not at Google.com but at sites all over the internet. Here's how they do it: The Google AdSense box on the home page of my blog, Buzzmachine.com, makes me part of Google's empire. Google sends me money for those ads. Google sends me readers via search. Google benefits by showing those readers more of its ads, which it can make more relevant, effective, and profitable because it knows what my site is about. I invited Google in because Google helps me do what I want to do.

What Would Google Do?. Copyright © by Jeff Jarvis. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis
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A "Must Have" business book... July 26, 2011
Jeff Jarvis explains Google's revolutionary business and social principles in a very simple and easy to understand way. He invites you to participate in these new discussions that aren't widely accepted yet. After reading this book, it completely changed the way that I saw my own business model. I'm now working on a whole new strategy to leverage some of the ideas I gleaned from the Mr. Jarvis. This is an excellent book, I'm sure I will be able to use this for a long time to come.
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What Would Google Do?: 4 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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