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Amy at the Web 2.0 Expo SF 2008

Book-signing at the O'Reilly Media
Booth at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco--the official book launch.

Reviewer Comments

Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide

published by O'Reilly Media

Slashdot Book Review of Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide (with a 10 out of 10 Rating)

Posted by samzenpus on Wed Jul 09, 2008 01:10 PM
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Books Media
lamaditx writes "There is a good chance that you have heard about "Web 2.0" — the buzz-word coined by Tim O'Reilly in 2005. You will find several reviews of books about this topic on Slashdot. These cover mainly technical aspects of implementation whereas this book introduces the strategical thinking behind the whole Web 2.0 movement... Web 2.0 is so much more than the technology.' The table of contents is available from O'Reilly, together with a chapter preview. The book does not come with any extras but includes the usual free 45 days access to the book on Safari. When reading a book I usually flip through it quickly to get an impression for it, in this case there are three things which I noted right away." Keep reading for the rest of Adrian's review.
First, I was drawn by the the foreword by Tim O'Reilly. Since I have read his article about Web 2.0 back then I came to the conclusion that the strategy guide is a kind of successor. The next think I was looking at is information about the author. Amy Shuen concentrates on business models and teaches entrepreneurship, strategy, and venture finance on major business schools around the world. Amy is currently a Professor of Management Practice at the "China Europe International Business School" (CEIBS).

Secondly I noticed that there are a lot of footnotes on every page which reference other publications that fit the current topic. This is perfect if you want to drill into the details about a specific issue or lack some background knowledge.

The last thing I notice are the really big "End Notes" which spread across 40 pages and the bibliography which consists of 22 pages. This means that around a quarter of the book is additional information. I am pretty sure this fact is due to the academic roots of Amy Shuen and I think it is appropriate for this kind of guide. Actually this is what I expect from a guide — it should guide me through the topic and summarize the overall picture.

After flipping through the book I started reading it — and couldn't stop. I had to travel to Munich the other day — I boarded the plane with nothing else but the book and my boarding pass. I received the book on Thursday and finished reading it on Saturday.

Reading this book is fun for several reasons. I hate authors that put graphics into their books and don't provide you with additional information. That is not the case in this book, all the graphics are easily read (the only exception is a picture on page 5). Most graphics, functions, and screenshots are self explanatory. From my own experience I know it is not easy to find the right mixture between too much detail and too little.

Another important point are the numerous case studies in every chapter. Of course they do not include all information and details but they emphasize the theoretical point and provide you with a good feeling about the business case. Reading these kind of "historical" stories also adds some life to the book. Even though I have written a paper about Google's Page Rank algorithm and therefore a rough understanding of it, I learned many details about the competition between Google and GoTo (later known as Overture) that I did not know. It also teaches you that the effortless looking success of a company like Google involved tough times in the past. Running the Web 2.0 track is not always that easy as it looks like.

Talking about the big names: This book is interesting for anybody involved in a Web 2.0 (or escaping Web 1.0 ;-) ) environment no matter if you are working in a big, small, or start-up company. Amy stresses this point several times as she points out "Your business probably isn't Facebook, LinkedIn, or even something that looks much like them".

So how are you be able to transfer the knowledge you gained from the book to your own Web 2.0 concept? Amy to the rescue. Each chapter ends with a "Lessons Learned" section to summarize the most important points. After that she provides you with a section "Questions to Ask" which cover strategic and tactical issues with these tools at hand. The last chapter will also support you to "apply Web 2.0 strategic thinking to your business". Maybe you are writing a business plan or a project proposal to get your idea started. The last chapter will help.

In the end I would like to talk about the rating I am assigning to this book. I rated it as 10 which means it is "excellent" or one might call it a "classic work". I have not talked much about the content of the book because I did not want to provide you with a plain summary. I expect this book to become one of the "must-read" in business as well as technical classes since more and more business models will evolve in a Web 2.0 environment. Another reason is the well explained and easy to read writing style. Technical terminology is kept to a minimum thus not requiring a lot of prior knowledge.

Adrian Lambeck is a master student in "Information and Media Technologies" in Germany and thinks about starting his own (Web 2.0 ?) business.

You can purchase Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

What Amazon Book Reviewers are saying about Web 2.0:  A Strategy Guide

A Single, Coherent Source for Web 2.0 Strategy.  I admit that I found this book by accident, at Borders. Given the ubiquitous usage of `2.0' with everything, I figured I should learn more about what it is all about, and how one can use that knowledge to strategize for the future. The first few pages, especially the examples, convinced me to give the book a try.

This is what I liked about the book: the author gives you plenty of examples and real data from companies (Flickr, Netflix, LinkedIn, Google...). She also chimes in with common sense (e.g., "what good is a fax machine if no one else has one!" to explain network effects) and out-of-the-box examples (e.g., historical reference to Paul Revere and William Daves to explain social roles) to explain concepts. This really helped me - as a reader - to rethink and retune my understanding. Plenty of references are provided for the curious reader (e.g., origin of buzzwords? how did Facebook tip things in its favor?).

As you read through the book, you also gain a better understanding of the different facets of a web 2.0 business and answers quite a few questions (e.g., how does Flickr really make money? How did Amazon branch out into other areas, successfully? ). The author introduces and successfully explains a lot of buzzwords. She also introduces - and clarifies - business terms in simple language and provides strategic questions for those paying attention. For the business-savvy folks, there is plenty of data to chew-on.

In short, if you are looking for a single coherent source that explains Web 2.0, the buzzwords, and why they all make business sense (and why it is important to rethink strategies), I would recommend this book.  Amazon Reviewer S. Chanabasappa.


Clear, thought provoking, business altering!  Written in an engaging easy to read style; then you pour some coffee and the implications start to hit you. "If this, then..." and "Hey, we could make money ...". My favorite is "That's how they use the stuff I do! Wow!"

Information is presented with an idea, how it has been applied, some visual clarification, and then more meat on the concepts. Chapters have questions at the end and more notes at the end of the book. "Bravo!" for the end notes, moving them elsewhere kept the chapters powerfully concise and still provide more detail where you need it. Pages of bibliography help as well.

The author doesn't preach the new order but simply explains advantages of Web 2.0. Her explinations provide new ways to look at an established business, guidance for entrepreneurial spirits just building their next big thing, and even business collateral ideas that would support non-web brick and mortars.

My perceptions have been expanded and I'm seeing strong business advantage from applied technicals. If you're a geek who hasn't felt your work contributes to a larger whole, give this a read! You'll see the past clearer and glimpse the short-term future.  Amazon Reviewer Leam Hall

Web 2.0 in Business Terms.  If you own your own business, or are just merely an employee looking for innovative ways of getting things done, this book is for you. I have no doubt that there will be people who read this book who will have an "Aha!" moment and transform the Internet even more. I learned so much from this book that it is difficult to just pick one or two main points to focus on.

When you are done with this book you'll understand how revolutions and evolutions on the Internet have changed the way we do business -- from online to offline. You'll also better understand how social networks play such a crucial role in everyday life and how they are turning traditional business models on their head.

You owe it to yourself to read this book -- your take on business will never be the same afterwards.     Amazon Reviewer Robert Stinnett

Finally, a real world Web 2.0 strategy guide.  Amy Shuen has a firm grip on the long tail. Get your face in this book and don't blink while she takes you on a fascinating journey to the tipping point fueled by the wisdom of crowds. My space on the shelf for this book is empty because her book is always in my hand. I bought several copies of her book as gifts for friends.

Amy Shuen is to the world of Web 2.0 as Ludwig van Beethoven's influence is to the world of music. Her impact on web strategy is comparable to da Vinci's impact on art. She is ahead of her time. Get her book before the ground swell from tribes of new influencers leaves you in a wikinomic downturn.

I have been in the web business since the early 90s. I am a professional technology consultant and thought leader. I have a huge collection of books, papers, & resources related to my industry and Amy's book is my most prized possession. I recommend getting extra copies for you and your colleagues.

One snippet from this book clearly explains how a small strategy adjustment saved a tremendous amount of money for a well known company. Depending on your reach, this tiny snippet can help save you $1,000's - $1,000,000's. I would spend far more than the price of this whole book for this one snippet.

One last flckr of thought. What if your competition already has this book?

Get yours now.

Click on my username and view my profile to access a web page link that contains videos and other resources of Amy presenting some of the information in this amazing book. Please let me know how I can help you.  Amazon Reviewer Webtechman.

 A must read for both entrepreneur and business students.  "Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide" provides entrepreneurs, corporations and business administration students equally with a resource to make sense of the business side of all things Web 2.0.

The book doesn't go into technicalities or spend time on design matters as they typically appear in Web 2.0 applications today: as a matter of fact, it abstracts itself from look and feel of the sites analyzed, focusing on how the different sites make money.

The result is a five step action plan that starts with building on collective user value (users no longer are mere consumers of content, but rather active contributors and creators); activating network effects (seeking the ways in which a business can leverage the multiple connections between the layers, places and groups and how they can grow your offering); working through social networks (the fundamental building block of the Web 2.0 economy); dynamically syndicating competence (picking your battles and doing what you do best faster, making it accessible to more people); and recombining innovations (looking for ways to connect the online with the offline, the new with the old).

The result is a book that is highly recommended if you are looking to take your business to the next level of the social web: a place where being social is not merely an option but a requirement.  Amazon Reviewer Manny Hernandez

Professor and Speaker Amy Shuen captures the essence.  In Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide, author Amy Shuen demonstrates subject mastery from the first sentence. Steeped in her topic (she's taught it at Wharton, Haas School of Business, CEIBS and École Polytechnique), the reader gets detailed information on the meaning of Web 2.0. This isn't a book filled with hype -it provides theory, thoughtful detail and is practical. Chapters end with strategic and tactical questions. The illustrations and screen captures provide depth and clarity.  Amazon Reviewer Marsha Keefer

Concise clear intro to the business of Web 2.0.  The book is impressive in its clarity. Shuen's concise, clear language presents the marketing and business aspects of Web 2.0 without the typical hype. If you are new to Web 2.0, social networks and curious about the rise of Facebook, Youtube, and similar outlets, then give this book a thorough read. You will come away understanding the core business principles driving the success of these online behemoths.  Amazon Reviewer J. Huckabee

Fantastic book to be read again and again.  Amazon Reviewer Ann Montgomery.





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