The Electric Educator: Book Review: Wikinomics

Monday, April 18, 2011

Book Review: Wikinomics

[Note: this post was written in April of 2010. For whatever reason I never finished it. While browsing through my archives I found it and decided it was time to publish!] 

For the past several months I've been working my way through Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams. The book was different than I expected and not quite as applicable, yet there were some key ideas that I'd like to share.

The thesis of the book is that industry is changing because information is abundant and cheap and connecting with people is easy. The old system of top-down decision making and closely guarded company secrets is over. The new system is one of collaborative relationships, transparency, and generosity.

I say that Wikinomics was different than I expected because it is written (IMO) to help large existing companies adapt to the demands of the 21st century. It is not written for an individual who is trying to better understand the forces currently shaping society. Despite this, there are several important lessons and principles that I thought were useful.

1. Give people tools to create, remix, and share your products.
2. Be very careful about exploiting the creations of your customers. Figure out a way to give them a piece of the profits.
3. The person who can best help you probably isn't an employee.
4. Figure out what your most valuable contribution is and focus on it while resourcing the the other components to others.

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