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What would google do
Lessons from a book by Jeff Jarvis
What we say isn’t as important as the system that enables us to say it
If you read this book, by the end of it, I am pretty sure you would rename this book as “What would Tesla/Musk do”. When I was reading this book, I felt that every strategic action of Musk is derived from this book.
This book is about markets and change in behaviors ushered with the age of internet. Pretty dense and captivating book. How economy changed or is changing from broker economy to gift economy, scarce economy to abundance economy and content economy to link economy. Lot of this book can be derived 95 theses mentioned in “The Cluetrain Manifesto”. In later part of this book, it goes on and on and on describing different businesses and how to run those on these principles. It feels like lots of b-plan compiled together.
Here are my notes from this book
Evslin’s law of networks
Extract the minimum value from the network so it will grow to maximum size and value—enabling it’s members to charge more—while keeping the costs and margins low to block competitors
Make it impossible for anybody to undercut you without running at deficit.
If you have a platform, you need more developers and entrepreneurs to build on it, Creating more functionality and value and bringing more users.
If you’re not a platform you will be commoditized.
Platform is not an end it’s a means
Distribute your platform as widely as possible, to go where readers are rather than make the readers come to them. Make it distributable.
Pattern of distribution and aggregation - You want to be distributed, then aggregated, and then distributed again. You want to be found
What is Publicness ?
It’s about taking actions in public, so people can see what you do and react to it, make suggestions, and tell their friends. Living in public today is a matter of enlightened self-interest. Publicness is also an ethic. The more public you are easier you can be found. The more opportunities you have.
You don’t start communities, Communities already exist. They’re already doing what they want to do. The question you should ask is how you can help them do better.
From scarce economy to abundance economy
There is no end of unsold ad inventory on billions of pages all over the internet. Many of those pages are far better targeted to their needs an would be cheaper and more efficient than front-page of Yahoo.
Businesses can be built on the need for sifting: commerce sites that find best merchandise, news sites that read so we don’t have to and entertainment services that gather the critical opinions of of the crows so we don’t have to. The internet kills scarcity and creates opportunities in abundance.
NFTs via blockchain is internet’s way of creating an illusion of scarcity. So when you buy a NFT, the only value you are owning is a record on a blockchain that points to wallet owning that NFT and right to add another record to that pointing to that record because the image is owned by everyone. So the value gained by owning NFTs is status and not substance.
Google has found a business model based on creating, exploiting and managing abundance.
There isn’t much detail in the book. I have added some links and notes.
Some anthropologists claim that a gift economy is quite common amongst a variety of developing societies, but it is the nature of modern economies to work against the bonds and pressures which promote a gift economy. [Ref-1][Ref-2][Ref-3]
Three sources of value creation
revelation - finding the good stuff
plasticity - enabling content to be extended, like Facebook games, google maps mashup
Mass market vs Mass Personalization (The long tail)
One-size-fits-all doesn’t fit anymore
Mass market was a short-lived phenomena. Began with the large-scale adoption of television in the mid-1950.
What replaces the mass ? The aggregation of the long tail - the mass of niches—does. We each gravitate to our own interests and thanks to the new and inexpensive tools of content creation online, there’s sure to be something for everyone—and if there isn’t, we can make it ourselves.
People go online looking for something, find the answer and often don’t know where they found it. Google found it. Thus the media brand behind the content becomes less valuable and less critical.
One smart way is to play by Google’s rules and take Google’s money as dotdashmeredith.com does. Or you can join networks with other specialized niches to reach critical mass. Or get people to link to you and talk about you, because you are just so good, as Apple does. Or place your ads on highly targeted sites where you know your customers are. Develop a deep relationship with your constituent so they come back to you directly and not just through google search.
The internet abhors inefficiency
Important Questions for Business Models
What if your good costs nothing ?
What if you charged nothing ?
Where does your value exist ?
What is the essence of your business ?
What can you learn from it ?
How do you make money — is there a side door ?
What business are you really in ?
There is an inverse relationship between control and trust
The more you control, the less you will be trusted. The more you hand over control, the more trust you will earn.
Data is apolitical
You must realize that your crowd—your users, consumers, voters, students, audience neighbors—is wise. So
How do you capture and act on that wisdom ?
How do you listen ?
How do you enable them to share their wisdom ?
How do you help them make you smarter ?
Do you have the systems in place to hear ?
Do you have the culture in place to act on what you hear ?
It’s better to listen to people who have a reason to talk to you
Flickr algorithm of interestingness
interactions — commenting, emailing, tagging, linking
map all these actions to see which users turn out to be hubs of activity
interaction between connected members are devalued over unconnected member
Corrections do not diminish credibility. Correction enhance credibility
Mistakes can be valuable; perfection is costly
But today on the internet, the process has become the product
Launch things iterate quickly, people forget about those mistakes and have a lot of respect for how quickly you build the product up and make it better.
Cluetrain Manifesto on markets, internet and people (95 theses)
I am going to write another blog on this book. Here are the first 10 theses
Markets are conversations.
Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.
Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.
People recognize each other as such from the sound of this voice.
The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.
Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.
In both inter-networked markets and among intra-networked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way.
These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge.
As a result, markets are getting smarter, more informed, more organized. Participation in a networked market changes people fundamentally.
Your edge is not that your designs are secret but that you have a strong relationships with your customers.
Companies are not democracies, But neither should they be dictatorships. They should be—but too rarely are—meritocracies. Your challenge is to get a good idea to surface, and survive from within and without and to enable customers and employees to improve your ideas and products.
Craig’s Law - Get out of the way
If you make a great platform, that people really want to use, he argues, then the worst thing you could do is put yourself in the middle, getting in the way of what people want to do with it.
Not that fundamental but worth remembering
Simple SEO tips
Make sure every possible bit of information that anyone could want to know about you is on the web, searchable by google.
Construct information on pages so it can be understood by man and machine.
Don’t use fancy technology to make the content on your page dance and sing.
Don’t bury your content inside fancy content management systems or store it away in databases.
Give everything you publish a permanent address—a permalink—so it can attract and accumulate more traffic and links and so on.
Create separate page for separate topics.
Make it easy for people to link to you. If there are sites and bloggers related to your restaurants, make them aware of your site
Monitor keywords related to your websites and create content which are being searched but not there.
Thanks for reading. I am glad you took out time from your busy life to read this.