What Would Google Do? on sale today

What Would Google Do? goes on sale today. Yay! You can buy it it (please) from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Borders. Here’s the audiobook.

I hope to continue the conversation that went into the book and comes out. So I’ll be putting up 30 days of WWGD? – a snippet a day from all over the book. (There’ll also be a way to read the text in a HarperCollins widget; we’ll be offering a video synopsis, an v-book (e-book with videos); I’ll also put up a free version of WWGD? – The PowerPoint. There’ll be a larger excerpt — two chapters — on Business Week later this week; I’ll link when they’re up.

For the first snippet, there’s no better place to start than the beginning:

* * *

It seems as if no company, executive, or institution truly understands how to survive and prosper in the internet age.

Except Google.

So, faced with most any challenge today, it makes sense to ask: WWGD? What would Google do? In management, commerce, news, media, manufacturing, marketing, service industries, investing, politics, government, and even education and religion, answering that question is a key to navigating a world that has changed radically and forever.

That world is upside-down, inside-out, counterintuitive, and confusing. Who could have imagined that a free classified service could have had a profound and permanent effect on the entire newspaper industry, that kids with cameras and internet connections could gather larger audiences than cable networks could, that loners with keyboards could bring down politicians and companies, and that dropouts could build companies worth billions? They didn’t do it by breaking rules. They operate by new rules of a new age, among them:

• Customers are now in charge. They can be heard around the globe and have an impact on huge institutions in an instant.
• People can find each other anywhere and coalesce around you—or against you.
• The mass market is dead, replaced by the mass of niches.
• “Markets are conversations,” decreed The Cluetrain Manifesto, the seminal work of the internet age, in 2000. That means the key skill in any organization today is no longer marketing but conversing.
• We have shifted from an economy based on scarcity to one based on abundance. The control of products or distribution will no longer guarantee a premium and a profit.
• Enabling customers to collaborate with you—in creating, distributing, marketing, and supporting products—is what creates a premium in today’s market.
• The most successful enterprises today are networks—which extract as little value as possible so they can grow as big as possible—and the platforms on which those networks are built.
• Owning pipelines, people, products, or even intellectual property is no longer the key to success. Openness is.

Google’s founders and executives understand the change brought by the internet. That is why they are so successful and powerful, running what The Times of London dubbed “the fastest growing company in the history of the world.” The same is true of a few disruptive capitalists and quasi-capitalists such as Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook; Craig Newmark, who calls himself founder and customer service representative—no joke—at craigslist; Jimmy Wales, cofounder of Wikipedia; Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon; and Kevin Rose, creator of Digg. They see a different world than the rest of us and make different decisions as a result, decisions that make no sense under old rules of old industries that are now blown apart thanks to these new ways and new thinkers.

That is why the smart response to all this change is to ask what these disrupters—what Mark, Craig, Jimmy, Jeff, Kevin, and, of course, Google—would do. Google generously shares its own philosophy on its web site, setting out the “10 things Google has found to be true.” They are smart but obvious PowerPoint lines helpful in employee indoctrination (especially necessary when your headcount explodes by 50 percent in a year—to 16,000 at the end of 2007 and to 20,000 before the end of the following year): “Focus on the user and all else will follow,” Google decrees. “It’s best to do one thing really, really well.?.?.?.??Fast is better than slow.?.?.?.??You can make money without doing evil.?.?.?.??There’s always more information out there.?.?.?.??The need for information crosses all borders.?.?.?.” These are useful, but they don’t tell the entire story. There’s more to learn from watching Google.

The question I ask in the title is about thinking in new ways, facing new challenges, solving problems with new solutions, seeing new opportunities, and understanding a different way to look at the structure of the economy and society. I try to see the world as Google sees it, analyzing and deconstructing its success from a distance so we can apply what we learn to our own companies, institutions, and careers. Together, we will reverse-engineer Google. You can bring this same discipline to other competitors, companies, and leaders whose success you find puzzling but admirable. In fact, you must.

  • Do I get to be the first to offer a congrats?!!?!


  • Congrats Mr. Jarvis (or as my people would say, “Mazeltov”)
    I hope it comes out in Canada today to. I’ll be at the book store later asking for it.

  • Pingback: Von der Schwierigkeit, ein Buch zu kaufen auf Hundertfünfzig Worte()

  • Pingback: What Would Google Do? on sale today « BuzzMachine - Beta Title :)()

  • Just so you know, I bought it at a DC Border’s on Sunday. Mark @cheeky_geeky

  • Pingback: What Would Google Do? | native()

  • Would Google publish an old fashioned cardboard-and-paper book? I don’t know. But I’m sure glad you did, Jeff. Thanks.

  • I’m planning on picking it up at Borders after work today – I’m looking forward to reading it!

  • David Chen

    You didn’t actually talk to people at Google, did you? ‘From a distance’?

    • Right. The story of Google has been told. I wanted to analyze their success from a distance.

      • Dear Jeff Jarvis,

        Greetings from INdia!

        I have enrolled in the course “Understanding Media by Understanding Google” by Professor Owen R. Youngman. I am finding it tough to read online due to poor connectivity here. Hence would like to know from where I can download your book What Would Google Do? Your help in this regard would be appreciated.

        Nitin Paranjape

  • Pingback: AOL to sell Bebo? | socialmediainfluence.com()

  • This looks very interesting. I would like to listen to it as I go to work (ipod rules:). Is there a way to get it without drm? I don’t spend money on crippleware:/

  • Kate

    Just finishing the book now (snow day!). My head is spinning….in a good way. Thank you!

  • Pingback: 090128 Inflection Links | johnsumser.com: Recruiting News and Views()

  • Pingback: Veckan som gick gånger två - 5 och 6 at Same Same But Different()

  • Pingback: Charlie Beckett, POLIS Director » Blog Archive » Politics, PR the media and trust: rules for a new road?()

  • Jeff Jarvis

    WWGD is the best business book of 2009!

  • Pingback: What Would Google Do? Fail Quietly. « Jon Bernstein()

  • [..] Google’s founders and executives understand the change brought by the internet. That is why they are so successful and powerful, running what The Times of London dubbed [..]
    It’s so interesting, since we know that Google is the most successful site in the world.

  • Pingback: Was würde Google tun? — Von erfolgreichen Strategien profitieren - Die digitale Unternehmung()

  • Yolanda Torres

    Thank you Eric!

  • ayoob
    • Lisa Fraleigh

      Did you know that the best “strategy” for “picking up” women is to treat them like equal human beings instead of some form of prize? You aren’t putting women on pedestals, you are demeaning them and we are turned OFF by that. #YesAllWomen

      • Lisa Fraleigh

        Or, you could always trip them and then literally pick them up. Could be your personal best strategy – or your only hope.

        • Brava… Well stated… the link was, well and truly off point… your remarks… On point…

  • hdcb
  • mangum
    • Lisa Fraleigh

      Have you ever considered just speaking to a woman instead of at her? Just sayin, we have this creepy idea that we’re humans – and guys that don’t treat us as thinking, living, breathing beings are just not going to get a call back.

  • Trina Cummings

    Thanks Eric!

  • Masseyme

    So excited!

  • Misty Montrieu

    The thing about ‘do no evil’ by google is false. they obviously do evil (for e.g. organic searches are organic only in statement) and then vehemently deny it.

  • Fascinating thoughts…it all seems to simple but you’ve hit the nail on the head…what would google do?? I’m going to apply that same principle to my blog from now…how to grow my readership?? Well, WWGD? Thanks for the great article!


  • the way of the future

    No it’s not the whole book

  • Pingback: Understanding Media by Understanding Google | Googly Marie Lab()

  • Enjoying the book, required reading for my Coursera course Understanding Media by Understanding Google – I am enjoying every page.

    • pavni

      do you have a soft copy of it. i am taking the course too but cant buy the book. if you do please email it to me at – [email protected]

      • I used to buy hard copy books.. I have 3 libraries strewn across the globe, which I no longer have access to.. Now for me only digital copies and ebooks. I am also taking the Northwestern University course “Understanding Media by Understanding Google” by Professor Owen R. Youngman using the Coursera PLATFORM… EXCELLENT and Thank You Jeff Jervis for an insightful work…

        • nljfs

          I’m lucky the local library had copies of every book on the list. Some even on CD so I can listen on the way to work.

        • Kim Hau

          Hi Kevin, I’m taking the coursera course too but I could not buy the book. Could you please email ebook to me? Anyway thanks for your help!!
          My email: [email protected]

        • Ike

          Hi Kim, I think you will understand me cuz I’m taking that course too. Just do me a favour please, my e-mail address is [email protected]. Thanks for help.

        • Hello! I am taking the course as well. Would you mind emailing me with the ebook as well? Thanks in advance. [email protected]

      • varun7

        hope it helps.

        • Aneez

          Hi Varun, Could I request for the soft copy/ebook as well? Can’t get my hands on the book and just reading excerpts is not satisfying enough. The address is [email protected].

        • Preetha Banerjee

          hi Varun,
          I know its a lot to ask but it would be very generous of you to mail me a copy too at [email protected]

        • karen

          if you can mail me the copy i would be so grateful, thank you in advance! [email protected] :)

        • Pedro Yoel Zambrano

          Hi varun, would you please send me a copy to my email [email protected] I’ll be very grateful

        • SID

          Hi Varun, I’m in the same position as the others. would you mind sending me a copy as well please? thanks! [email protected]

        • Kunal

          If you still have the soft copy of WWGD by Jeff Jarvis for the Coursera read, could you mail to me at [email protected]?

        • jihane

          Hey Varun, I’m taking the course as well, I enjoyed this article & I want to read the whole book, If you still have the ebook copy, would it be possible to send it to me please at [email protected] .
          Thank you in advance

        • jihane

          Hey everyone,I found it, you can download it from here


        • Alcides Apaza Yanarico

          Thank you so much jihane

    • Hi , Iam Delphine a journalist from Cameroon and equally taking the Cousera course. could you you email me the soft copy of Jeff’s book? [email protected] thank you.

  • Pingback: MOOC: Understanding Media by Understanding Google | Gandha Key's art blog for 2014()

  • Min Yang


  • Linda

    Hi. I’m new to online learning and am taking “Understanding Media by Understanding Google” by Professor Owen R. Youngman. Everything feels way over my head; the online learning process, navigating the course, reading books I’ve never heard of , the whole area is new to me. Just seemed necessary to know since I don’t know. Eeek!

    • I can understand you fear… I have been going through this and even I as somewhat of an expert… get apprehensive… All you need to do is take each step one at a time and you will do fine…. be proud of yourself for taking this important FIRST STEP… this is the wave of the future and ….. just think you are part of it… That takes courage… Just Know… You will have all the help you need… 30,000 people are taking this… you are not alone… :-)

    • nljfs

      As Kevin says 1 step at at a time. In a couple of weeks it’ll all be old hat it’s a good platform.

  • Pingback: Understanding the future of media | Hey, I learn stuff()

  • Pingback: Week 1 recap of #GoogleMedia #MOOC | Tayloring it()

  • It’s really interesting excerpt of the book. The takeaway is do not think about how you will sell your product rather think about how will your customers be happy? That’s the secret of success

  • Enivah Mutsau

    Is there still something else to discover or all is taken? Do I need a scientific mind to see things different? it seems most of these sharp minds are also coming from rich scientific backgrounds

  • Google, is, in fact, doing evil by virtue of the fact that it does not respect user privacy. Further, it goes well out of its way to appear to afford privacy a modicum of importance, however, in the final analysis, the end result is the same – user data is sold off without any further knowledge of who it’s going to or why. And most importantly, how it may come back to bite you in the @ss. That’s the game you play when you use google. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Substitute the search engine DuckDuckGo for google. Same results but it doesn’t track you.

  • Famuyiwa Damilare

    i am enjoying every piece here, but if you have the soft copy of the whole material, or the pdf file, pls forward it to my mail @ [email protected]

  • Doaa

    Hello! I am taking the course as well. Would you mind emailing me with the ebook as well? Thanks in advance,,, [email protected]

  • Susmitha

    Am listening to the electronic version read by Jarvis himself. Got it from my local library.