B2B: How to Build a Profitable E-Commerce Strategy


B2B presents the first definitive blueprint for creating a profitable business-to-business e-commerce strategy. Showcasing successful initiatives designed by industry leaders such as Cisco Systems and Dell Computer, as well as lesser-known trailblazers such as VerticalNet and eCredit.com, Michael Cunningham clearly identifies the key issues in assessing opportunities, building technological and organizational capabilities, and designing a successful business-to-business strategy using the full power of the ...

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B2B presents the first definitive blueprint for creating a profitable business-to-business e-commerce strategy. Showcasing successful initiatives designed by industry leaders such as Cisco Systems and Dell Computer, as well as lesser-known trailblazers such as VerticalNet and eCredit.com, Michael Cunningham clearly identifies the key issues in assessing opportunities, building technological and organizational capabilities, and designing a successful business-to-business strategy using the full power of the Internet.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738205229
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 6/5/2002
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Cunningham

Michael J. Cunningham is founder and CEO of the Massachusetts-based Harvard Computing Group, an international business-and-technology consulting firm geared to creating innovative strategies and to developing powerful Web-enabled solutions. He speaks and consults to clients and industry groups internationally and regularly writes articles on Web business and e-commerce for publications such as E-Business Advisor. He lives in Harvard, Massachusetts.


By the time he finished Virginia Woolf's classic Mrs. Dalloway at the age of fifteen to impress a crush who tauntingly suggested he "try and be less stupid" and do so, Michael Cunningham knew that he was destined to become a writer. While his debut novel wouldn't come until decades later, he would win the Pulitzer for Fiction with his third -- fittingly, an homage to the very book that launched both his love of literature and his life's work.

After growing up Cincinnati, Ohio, Cunningham fled to the west coast to study literature at Stanford University, but later returned to the heartland, where he received his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 1980. A writer recognized early on for his promising talent, Cunningham was awarded several grants toward his work, including a Michener Fellowship from the University of Iowa in 1982, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1988.

In 1984, Cunningham's debut novel, Golden States, was published. While generally well-received by the critics, the book -- a narrative chronicling a few weeks in the life of a 12-year-old-boy -- is often dismissed by Cunningham. In an interview with Other Voices, he explains: "I'm so much more interested in some kind of grand ambitious failure than I am in someone's modest little success that achieves its modest little aims. I felt that I had written a book like that, and I wasn't happy about it. My publisher very generously allowed me to turn down a paperback offer and it has really gone away."

With a new decade came Cunningham's stirring novel, A Home at the End of the World, in 1990. The story of a heartbreakingly lopsided love triangle between two gay men and their mutual female friend, the novel was a groundbreaking take on the ‘90s phenomenon of the nontraditional family. While not exactly released with fanfare, the work drew impressive reviews that instantly recognized Cunningham's gift for using language to define his characters' voices and outline their motives. David Kaufman of The Nation noted Cunningham's "exquisite way with words and ...his uncanny felicity in conveying both his characters and their story," and remarked that "this is quite simply one of those rare novel imbued with graceful insights on every page."

The critical acclaim of A Home at the End of the World no doubt helped Cunningham win the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1993 -- and two years later, his domestic epic Flesh and Blood was released. Chronicling the dysfunctional Stassos family from their suburban present back through to the parents' roots and looking toward the children's uncertain futures, the sprawling saga was praised for its complexity and heart. The New York Times Book Review noted that "Mr. Cunningham gets all the little things right.... Mr. Cunningham gets the big stuff right, too. For the heart of the story lies not in the nostalgic references but in the complex relationships between parents and children, between siblings, friends and lovers."

While the new decade ushered in his impressive debut, the close of the decade brought with it Cunningham's inarguable opus, The Hours (1998). A tribute to that seminal work that was the author's first inspiration -- Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway -- the book reworks the events and ideas of the classic and sets them alternately in 1980s Greenwich Village, 1940s Los Angeles, and Woolf's London. Of Cunningham's ambitious project, USA Today raved, "The Hours is that rare combination: a smashing literary tour-de-force and an utterly invigorating reading experience. If this book does not make you jump up from the sofa, looking at life and literature in new ways, check to see if you have a pulse." The Hours won both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and was adapted into a major motion picture starring the powerhouse trio of Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman in December 2002.

To come down from the frenetic success of The Hours, Cunningham took on a quieter project, 2002's tribute/travelogue Land's End: A Walk Through Provincetown. The first installment in Crown's new "Crown Journeys" series, the book is a loving tour through the eccentric little town at the tip of Cape Cod beloved by so many artists and authors, Cunningham included. A haven for literary legends from Eugene O'Neill to Norman Mailer, Cunningham is -- rightfully -- at home there.

Good To Know

Cunningham's debut novel, Golden States, can be hard to find; check out our Used & Out of Print Store to find a copy!

Cunningham's short story "White Angel" was chosen for Best American Short Stories 1989 -- the year before his acclaimed novel A Home at the End of the World was published.

When asked by Barnes & Noble.com about any other names he goes by, Cunningham's list included the monikers Bree Daniels, Mickey Fingers, Jethro, Old Yeller, Gaucho, Cowboy Ed, Tim-Bob, Mister Lies, Erin The Red, Miss Kitty, and Squeegee.

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 6, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cincinnati, Ohio
    1. Education:
      B.A., Stanford University, 1975; M.F.A., University of Iowa, 1980
    2. Website:

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2001

    Starting point for B2B E-Commerce

    If you are new to the E-commerce world, Cunninghams 'B2B: How to Build a profitable E-Commerce Strategy' is for you. Cunningham touches on many aspects of designing a B2B E-commerce site. He brings to your attention how the architecture of a B2B website should be and has many models, diagrams, and charts to help you learn the material. The chapter I enjoyed the most was Chapter 4 (Building Alliances). In this chapter he mentions how important it is that B2B's have good partner relationships. He goes into the different types of partnerships, tactical factors, and negotiations needed to be a top notch B2B. This book could have been better if it went into more detail about the strategy involved. I was expecting the book to go into detailed explanation of strategic ways in which an entrepreneur can successfully remain competitive or enter into this new marketplace. There are so many B2B's popping up all over the internet. Its important to know how a web site can market itself and what strategy to use in order to succeed. Overall, this book will be good for one starting off into the B2B world, if they did not know the technical needs of starting a B2B. However, if you do have a technical background, then this book is not for you as it does not go into the business details deep enough that a technical person would like.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2001

    A reader from San Jose :

    I am writing this review as an study assignment for my MBA program. I had gone through the whole book and enjoyed its smooth flow of information but I must say that at the end I was not completely satisfied. My expectations were more and I wanted to know in detail about some unique business strategies and some detailed case studies. Author also did not cover the basis question 'Whether B2B is for my business Or not ', He started with assumption that B2B is the greatest thing happening for every current and future businesses. I was also expecting information about 'Challenges / Issues in current B2B usage' but unfortunately it was not there. Overall , Author did provide good starting information for persons new to E-Commerce / B2B arena who wants to use e-Commerce for their Business transactions but certainly did not discuss B2B starategies and tactics for E-Commerce Age at advanced level. In my openion It is worthwhile to go through this book if you are new to E-Commerce/B2B field as a starting point.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2001

    Great source for understanding B2B

    I found this book to be a very good source for understanding the foundation of B2B business models, and for practical information on how to start a profitable B2B business. The book however may be time sensitive. A lot of the examples and models touted as being successful, may no longer be successful today or in few months. Nevertheless, I have liked the organization of the book. Chapters one through four, describe the foundation, models, best practices and partnerships in the B2B world. Chapter five through eight describe practical steps for the creation of a B2B business.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2001

    A simple guide to B2B.

    This book is a general guide for anyone who is interested in getting into the B2B marketplace. Being a student in a MBA/MSE program, I do find this book to be a good introduction to an e-commerce course with easy to understand content but somewhat doubtful if anyone could really build a profitable e-commerce strategy after reading it. The title of the book certainly grabs the attention for an entrepreneur like myself hoping to share a piece of success in the e-commerce world but fall short of my expectation. Cunningham explains how the Internet has changed the way we conduct business with emphasis on transitioning from the traditional brick and mortar to the new e-commerce world. There are a lot of good examples and explanations covering all area of business practice throughout the book. The author stresses the importance of implementing a dynamic business system to stay ahead of the competition in this highly evolving B2B market, however, there seems to be lack of finer details in accomplishing this. The most that I can formulate out of the book is an overall concept about B2B but the steps necessary to build a profitable strategy is not evidenced. Further research is required if someone is looking for success.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2001

    The title doesn't match the content at all.

    This book is a good introduction if it was published about 3 years ago. If you don't know what an intranet is, then buy this book. If you are looking for profitable ecommerce strategies, you will NOT find them in this book.

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