Monday, October 6, 2008

Web 2.0 Expo: What Would Google Do? How Media Must Revolution Their Thinking

The second session of the Web 2.0 Expo in New York that I attended on Friday, Sept. 19 was "What Would Google Do? How Media Must Revolution Their Thinking," a panel discussion led by Jeff Jarvis (, with John Byrne (executive editor of Business Week and editor-in-chief of, Steve Adler (also of Business Week). Jarvis was the center of the show. My guess was that his points were taken from What would Google Do? his forthcoming book on lessons intuited from Google, taken to business world to see how these lessons work. He was a passionate and dynamic speaker, speaking to-the-point with these axioms below.

Google's rules:
  • Give the people control and they will use it
  • Dell hell [lessons learned from Jarvis's own experience with Dell]
  • Your worst customer is your best friend
  • Your best customer is your partner
We have a new architecture:
  • A link changes everything
  • Do what you do best and link to the rest
  • Join a network / be a platform
  • Think distributed
Additionally there is a new publicness:
  • If you're not searchable, you won't be found
  • Everybody needs a little SEO (search engine optimization)
  • Life is public, so is business
  • Your customers are your ad agency
We live in a new society: You don't start communities, they exist already. So the question is: How do you harness them? ou give them: "Elegant organization" - Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook)
  • Small is the new big
  • Maintain audience
  • Join open source - it's a gift economy
  • The mass market
Welcome to the new business reality:
  • Atoms are a drag
  • Middlemen are doomed
  • Free is a business model
  • Decide what business you're in
New attitude
  • There is a inverse relationship between control and trust - David Weinberger (author of Cluetrain Manifesto)
  • Trust the people
  • Listen
Google creates new ways of listening to people - us.
There are ten signficant things in our lives [this is evidently a pun on Google's corporate philosophy. Sorry, I didn't catch them all because he went way too fast].
  • Make mistakes well
  • Life is a beta
  • Be honest
  • Be transparent
  • Collaborate
  • Don't be evil
Michael Dell (co-creator of computer company) has these aphorisms:
  • New speed
  • Answers are instantaneous
  • Life is live
  • Mobs form in a flash
  • Be transparent
From this we derive new imperatives:
  • Beware of the cash cow in the coal mine (i.e. can blind us to strategic necessities)
  • Encourage enable and protect innovation
  • Simplify, simplify
  • Get out of the way

Once Jarvis was finished, the talk part of the program switched to how Business Week has embraced the Web 2.0 world and aesthetic. Byrne and Adler's Powerpoint presentation is here although it appears kind of cryptic. [I apologize for the brevity of my notes, and how they trail off at the end.]

How has Businessweek opened up? Through simplifying URLs, tagging stories, staff training sessions, more SEO-friendly headlines.
Now Google refers 38% of search traffic to

They've create their Business Exchange: a place to relate to others - a user community optimized for search. It's "a more sophisticated" and helps people find what they want. User profiles can link to their profiles on Linkedin.
They've made a widget for bloggers so that readers can see what they're doing at that moment.

Today, content is no longer king; rather, context is king. Journalism is no longer a product but a process. questioning what are the rights of users.

In comparing the print audience to the one online, Businessweek found their online audience about ten year younger, smarter, more women, more global.


David Deans - BTR moderator said...

Bob, thanks for sharing these insights. I wasn't able to attend.

Very interesting that 38% of BW visitor traffic comes from Google searches. BTW, I thought it would be a higher percentage.

David @ BTR
Business Technology Roundtable

Bob Kosovsky said...

You're welcome David. If the 38% figure is surprisingly low, then I think it need more explanation. My interpretation is this: Once you've found something, you don't need Google anymore. Yet there are enough NEW people that keep the Google analytic at 38% - that's pretty huge.