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What Would Google Do?

Reverse engineering the world's fastest growing company

By Jeff Jarvis
15-minute read
Audio available
What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis

The age of the Internet has dawned, but very few companies seem to understand how profoundly it has changed the business landscape and what they must do to thrive. The most obvious exception? Google. What Would Google Do? endeavors to explain what strategic choices fuel the success of Google and other web 2.0 companies like Amazon.

  • Anyone who wants to learn the secrets to the success of Google and other web 2.0 companies
  • Anyone who wants to drive more traffic to their websites
  • Anyone who wants to emulate Google’s strategy in their own business

Jeff Jarvis is an American journalist, academic and advocate for the Open Web. He has written for the San Francisco Examiner and the Guardian, and currently heads the new media program of City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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What Would Google Do?

By Jeff Jarvis
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis
Synopsis

The age of the Internet has dawned, but very few companies seem to understand how profoundly it has changed the business landscape and what they must do to thrive. The most obvious exception? Google. What Would Google Do? endeavors to explain what strategic choices fuel the success of Google and other web 2.0 companies like Amazon.

Key idea 1 of 9

Involve your customers in making and marketing your products.

Ask yourself, who cares most about a company’s products? Why, the customers of course. This is why companies are increasingly trying involve their customers in the creation of their products.

Companies used to believe that to have a competitive advantage, they should keep their plans totally secret. However, today it is openness and interaction with customers that creates a competitive advantage. For example, by blogging openly about their plans, a company can get valuable feedback and new ideas from their customers.

The founder of Dell, Michael Dell, saw this opportunity when he said, “I'm sure there's a lot of things that I can't even imagine but our customers can imagine.” Indeed, in 2007 Dell launched IdeaStorm, a website where customers can contribute their ideas to Dell. An example of an idea that came to fruition through this site is that Dell now sells Linux computers.

Similarly, almost every new service that Google offers is initially in beta form, meaning it is an experimental product that customers can test and provide feedback on, thereby helping Google to improve it.

Another area where companies can benefit from interacting with customers is in marketing: happy customers willingly advertise and recommend products they like to friends. For proof, look no further than Google; it became the fastest growing company in history primarily through word of mouth, not through marketing.

As you’ll find out next, word of mouth also means you’ll have to stay totally honest with your customers.

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