Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide | Review

Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide by Amy Shuen covers many of the business aspects of Web 2.0 and is aimed at the general business reader. As Shuen says in the introduction, “you don’t need an M.B.A. or a degree in computer science” to understand the book. It starts by comparing Flickr’s business model with Netflix’s and goes on to discuss concepts such as network effects and the Bass Diffusion Curve. I found Chapter 4, Companies Capitalize Competences the most interesting, as it discusses collaboration and working across the Web:

Even in new projects, creating value often means letting some of that value flow elsewhere. The creative energy of mashups appears in large part because the companies providing the services being mashed up no longer insist on total control over their products. That flexibility allows a different dynamic than the usual system of “create, patent, and license” that has dominated intellectual property for the last few decades.

My experience with several clients over the years is that they do not understand network effects and have great difficulty ceding any control. This book would have been good for them, but then again, I’ve noticed that many business leaders do not have or make the time to read about their business or the forces that affect it. Don’t worry, I’m doing that for you 😉

I would recommend this book as an overview of Web 2.0 with a strong business perspective and a lighter treatment of the actual technologies (fine for me). The easy-to-read End Notes provide more information for those who wish to further investigate an item. The final chapter includes a template and explanation of how to develop a Web 2.0 Business Plan, that many may find useful.

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