Book Review: Web 2.0 : A Strategy Guide

I guess it would be unfair ton critique a book on Web2.0 written in early 2007. However, it is an interesting exercise on looking at some predictions, some assumptions and some ideas just to figure out where they were right and where they failed.

In all fairness to this book by Amy Shuen, it tries hard to be useful. It has a lot of examples, attempts to analyze Web 2.0 business strategies and even tries to help the reader put together a business plan.

Unfortunately the final product looks more like a huge term paper or thesis from my last Master Program at MIT. It features numerous case studies and tries to fit Web 2.0 into analytical and business models from popular business and academic thinkers.

One of the authors quoted is also one of my favorite teachers from MIT, Eric von Hipple. von Hipple spoke of democratizating innovation and Lead users long before the term Web 2.0 was invented. Innovation with products,he said is not limited to the entity that creates the product but all other stakeholders who interact with the product: its users, resellers, etc.

Other models included in the book are Porter's forces, Gladwell's theory of Mavens, connectors and salepersons, Rogers' adoption curve and Chris Anderson's Long Tail.

The book uses more than its share of buzzwords: Prosumers, Mashups, Freemium, to name a few. It speaks of that makes CRM easily available for those who cannot by traditional CRM software suites like Oracle. Today, is more a warning than an example.

Web 2.0 speaks in detail about the business models of companies like Flickr, Linkend and Facebook. In. My problem here is much like as those who critique Web 2.0? Where is the bottom line?

Web 2.0's success stories are few a far between. Google is the biggest of these. Netflix is another, as it can be considered the Blockbuster killer. Amazon's zshops is another great success story.

All in all, one may read this book and evaluate its theories in the light of happenings in the present. While some models have their merits, unfortunately many serve as warnings.

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