Nordic Track Book Club Review: Evolve!

I purchased Evolve! : Succeeding in the Digital Culture of Tomorrow by Rosabeth Moss Kanter from Amazon just recently after reading an excerpt and several positive reviews.  I made the mistake however of failing to notice that the most recent review was entered in 2002 and that the book’s copyright date was 2001.  9 times out of 10 books written on digital culture and business from this time period remain informative and original.  This book was neither.  It was the worse written thing I placed on my [NordicTrack] reading rack in a long time, not because of grammatical problems necessarily, but because there was no life in the pages at all.  I read the first 100 pages before I gave up on it.  0 out of 5 stars for Evolve!

Excerpts from the first 100 pages are scant, but here they are in their entirety.

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p.4 Anthropologist Margaret Mead once claimed that America was the first culture in which the young taught the old instead of the other way around.

p.7 e-Culture is about creative destruction.  It means getting serious about continuous dramatic change even if it destroys your own already profitable business.

p.10 The Internet is a recentralizing force in that it makes more urgent the need to present one face to the customer, linking separate systems for seamless integration to meet the demand outside and inside of the organization for full connectivity.

p.18 It is individuals in community that create the greatest value, strong individuals in strong relationships.

Identity.  Community is an idea, not a geographic location.  A community exists because many people think it does and define themselves as part of it.

p.20 Online, community is one of the three Cs said to be associated with e-Business success: community, content and commerce.  That community strength gave eBay stickiness rarely found in cyberspace.  CEO Meg Whitman said of the competition, “OnSale’s view of the world was auctions and economic warfare.  This isn’t about auctions, it’s about community commerce.”  People on eBay feel like mayors of their own little cybertowns.

p.83 BarnesandNoble.com used too many imitative strategies instead of innovative improvisations creating waves of raves.

p.94 When in doubt create small experiments.  Pick one loaded for success that doesn’t require much change and one that demonstrates the virtues of changing.  Don’t bet the company and don’t waste time.  Just act, simply and quickly, until you arrive at something concrete and positive you can use to convert the skeptics.  Connect new e-ventures to the company mainstream.  That’s where the synergies are, but also where the obstacles are.

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A long time developer, I was an early adopter of Linux in the mid-90's for a few years until I entered corporate environments and worked with Microsoft technologies like ASP, then .NET. In 2008 I released Sueetie, an Online Community Platform built in .NET. In late 2012 I returned to my Linux roots and locked in on Java development. Much of my work is available on GitHub.