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Wednesday PM February 25th, 2009

An author, who has looked at Google, says companies would do well to study and copy them. Ed Mayberry reports.


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Jeff Jarvis wrote “What Would Google Do” because he says Google has figured out the Internet.

“The world has changed in fundamental and permanent ways that are very confusing and most of them counter-intuitive.  And I figured the best way to understand that was to look at the changes in the world through the lens of the one company that has figured it out, and that’s Google.”

Jarvis says we’re going through more than a financial crisis. We’re going through a fundamental change in the structure of the economy.

“Companies will not be able to grow to scale anymore by making huge loans to make huge acquisitions as they used to and were controlling huge amounts of an economy.  They’ll have to grow like Google and what Google did was make networks and platforms on top of which others succeed.  Countless business have started because Google provides tools and the money in its ad revenue to make them succeed.”   

Jarvis says Google affects how we shop, communicate and distribute information, and it represents new ways of doing things.  

“Every time Google releases a new product as a beta, it’s telling the world ‘well, this is unfinished, imperfect, incomplete.  Help us complete it!’  That’s a different way to look at the relationship you have with your public, but I think it’s a way that every company has to change.”

But the Google way involves interaction, emphasizing the importance of transparency.

“It’s vitally important. Now the irony is that Google itself isn’t the most transparent because it’s not widely open about its ad splits, let’s say, or it’s sources on Google news.  But it demands that the rest of us be transparent, because if you want to be found online, if you want to be found on a Google search, you also have to put everything about yourself up there.  You have to be very open.  That can also point out when you lie or do something bad, and so you’d better be open and have a direct and honest relationship with people, and the more you do that, the more you’re going to benefit from simply Google search.” 

“What Would Google Do” is published by Harper Collins Business. 

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

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