Book Review: Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide, by Amy Shuen

August 11, 2008 at 8:12 pm | Posted in book reviews | 1 Comment
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This timely book contains a number of interesting contemporary case studies of such luminaries as Flickr, Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google. These examples illustrate how Web 2.0 permits the early enthusiasm that exploded with the dotcom bubble to be finally realised, now that network effects are established, capital costs have reduced, high speed broadband access dominates, user engagement is welcomed and the ‘long tail’ has been made accessible.


The explanations of Web 2.0 principles are easy to follow, and each chapter includes a list of practical questions that proactive businesses should be addressing if they are considering whether to venture into what are still largely uncharted waters. For example, an excellent question that Amy Shuen poses to Marketing Managers is “can you identify the 1-3% ‘active uploaders’ in your customer community and then engage them as evangelists for your business?” Clear warnings are also contained within the text for those businesses that fail to see the relevance of Web 2.0, or who regard it as a threat rather than an opportunity.


The real value of this book is provided in the end notes which highlight established books and articles about strategy that have ‘stood the test of time’, and also where traditional academic frameworks have been usefully updated with Web 2.0 thinking. (For example, see the discussion of Michael Porter’s SIX forces and Clayton Christensen’s disruptive innovation.) Pointers are also made towards new research that is now emerging from around the world that directly investigates the business implications of a Web 2.0 world.        

Overall this is a well written and thought-provoking book, although a few more European examples would have been welcome J


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