Nordic Track Book Club Review: Futurize your Enterprise

Funny how a book written in 1999 on technology in business might as well have been written in 1956; Gregory Peck dangling a cigarette over a typewriter in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit.  How our perspective changed since 1999!  Still, David Siegel got a lot of it right in Futurize Your Enterprise.  Below are my geek margin notes.

p.9 Customer-led communities are self-policing…A customer-led company listens to its customers strategically.

p.10 The boundary between customer and employee becomes more porous…Transactions are simply part of the conversation.

p.17 You can tell how far your company has fallen into the technology trap by how long it takes to make a change on the site.

p.18 The introverted web site.  If the web team’s charter is based on internal, rather than external, goals, the web site will naturally reflect the company’s organizational chart…The extraverted web site naturally reflects its customers…reorganizing around its main customer groups.

p.33 If the business proposition is attractive and new customers feel at home on your site, you’ll find the intermediates and experts will turn into your sales force.  They will become walking billboards for your business.  As customers work their way up the loyalty pyramid, your company must reward them at each step.

p.48 Watching TV, we’re relaxed, passive.  Surfing the Web, we’re active and involved — going places, meeting people, and doing things.

p.62 Seven Habits of Web-Savvy Executives.

1) Kill the old systems.  Voice mail.
2) Help people help each other
3) Encourage openness
4) Send a weekly message
5) Build a knowledge management systems
6) Fix the org chart.  “Set up a completely independent organization and let that organization attack the parent.”
7) Institutionalize learning. 

p.83 The Web Team’s Charter.  Become a conduit, facilitate learning, have acess to entire company resources, be an independent business unit, catalyst for change, transfer skill to entire company over time.

p.84 Today’s web sites mirror their companies; tomorrow’s companies will mirror their web sites.

p.87 Decide who your most important customer groups are with an eye toward the future.  Once you make the decision, your customers will lead you, and you will have to keep up.  “How are our online customers going to change our company?”

p.91 A favorite e-business metric is an estimate of how many customers would be upset if your company’s web site went down for 1) an hour, 2) a day, 3) a week.

p.92 Your website plan should include a migratory path that gives all the important customer groups an incentive to register.

p.110 Virtually anything can be subcontracted.  Don’t want to fill out your own expense reports?  You can always pay someone to do it for you.  If enough people don’t want to fill out expense reports, someone will se the opportunity and find a way to make money doing it for everyone.

p.115 If you think your company can turn only one degree per year, you may not want to stick around for the net 180 years to see how it turned out.

p.129 How much does it cost to build a good web site?  Answer: How much does it cost to have a baby?

p.134 A customer-led company encourages customers to help each other solve problems.

p.136 Helpful consultants ask helpful questions.  They will help you turn your existing employees into New World collaborators.  Poor consultants, on the other hand, are full of solutions…Look for coaches, not answers…It’s often uncomfortable to tell the truth, but you can learn.  One approach is giving percentages.  If you give someone a percentage chance that something will happen, you’re able to be much more straightforward.


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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.