Book Review: The Connected Company


Once in awhile, I stumble upon a great business book that answers so many questions and is appropriate for the entire life cycle of a business.  The Connected Company by Dave Gray is one of those books.  While written for a full-size company in mind, it can be applied to even the company of one.  It also sports simple illustrations (think doodles on napkins) to help you visualize the principles.

Since business can be dry, and storytelling is the ultimate mode of communication, I found the book to be stimulating.  It skips the traditional business definitions and textbook methods and, instead, inserts examples from companies we now and love (Amazon, Walmart, Zappos, etc.)  It tells you what they've done right -- and wrong -- and how you can tailor their methods to your own company.

Sure, it is full of jargon; if you're not the MBA type or feel that business terms are worthy of glossing over, you'll still come out ahead, however.  The potential to highlight hundreds of anecdotes and phrases for future inspiration in your business is endless.  (I came up with no less than 2 dozen awesome sayings that would make great bumper stickers -- or just help spur me on in my creative processes.)

The Connected Company is one of those books that you'll want to skim through in its entirety, then go back and deeply consider the pieces that apply to you.  If you're a tiny, one-person company, there will be entire chapters that might not apply (yet).  Handling large customer service centers, for example, may not be something you'll ever deal with.  Regardless of your lot in life, however, the expert guidance is relevant to all. Even if you can't apply it to your own business, it's a useful roadmap to dissecting the success (or failures) or other businesses, and can even be applied in your everyday dealings with other individuals.

If all else fails, the chapter headings are a strategy in themselves.  Some worth mentioning include:
  • Everything is a service
  • Connected companies learn
  • Connected companies experiment
  • Leading the connected company
  • Starting the journey
The entire summary of this book is this: Businesses do not operate in a vacuum, nor should they try.  As society changes how it communicates, shops, and learns, the company must adapt to meet these trends.  The Connected Company won't fix everything, but it can certainly set you up with a quick and thorough education in the why's and how's.  The rest is really up to you.

*Review copy received.  Opinions are 100% my own.

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