Futurize Your Enterprise: Business Strategy in the Age of the E-Customer / Edition 1

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Overview

Praise for Futurize Your Enterprise "David Siegel has taken the New Economy to an exciting new level. Futurize Your Enterprise is packed with management insights and a philosophy that celebrates life online." - Eric Schmidt, CEO, Novell "Siegel's principles are a roadmap to the future. The limiting factor online is not the pace of technology but the pace of perception." - Jane Metcalfe, founder, Wired Ventures Inc. "David Siegel's vision of the future is a gift. When I look forward to the changes ahead, this is what I envision. A future where companies co-exist with customers in an expandable, renewable relationship. Managers: you will love this book!" - Susan Rockrise, Worldwide Creative Director, Intel "The next revolution on the Internet will be a management revolution. David Siegel shows how your customers will change your company, whether you were planning to reorganize or not!" - Steve Schaffer, CEO, Mystery.net "David Siegel uses a people-centered, commonsense approach to take the Web from the realm of hype into practical reality." - John Porter, Chairman, Telos Group About the companion web site This book comes with a companion web site, where you can get all the tools you need to construct a customer-led web strategy. It's designed to go hand-in-hand with this book. Come to www.futurizenow.com and get the rest of the story.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"There has to be a basic guide to business in the e-commerce age and this is probably the best around." (Campaign, 19th December 2000)

"...A readable and relevant book, Siegel outlines how to avoid the six strategic traps." (Long Range Planning, Vol 33, 2000)

Don Ferguson
The sharpest set of business tools since Crossing the Chasm.
Wall Street Journal
Peter Zebelman
We've spent the last 20 years turning management into a science. David Siegel asks us to turn it into a bridge.
Wall Street Journal
Don Peppers
David Siegel is on the cutting edge of web strategy.
Wall Street Journal
Campaign
There has to be a basic guide to business in the e-commerce age and this is probably the best around.
Long Range Planning
...A readable and relevant book, Siegel outlines how to avoid the six strategic traps.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471357636
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/30/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 0.81 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 6.14 (d)

Meet the Author

DAVID SIEGEL is a leading Internet strategist. He is the author of the bestseller Creating Killer Web Sites, which has been translated into 15 languages. His Secrets of Successful Web Sites is the bible of new-media project management. Siegel has been published in the Harvard Business Review and is an internationally sought-after public speaker. In working with clients like Hewlett-Packard, Lucent, Sony, Office Depot, NASA, and numerous start-ups, he has built a reputation as an expert in planning long-term web strategy. Siegel is chairman of Studio Verso, a web-design and strategy firm, and president of Siegel Vision, an E-strategy company (www.siegelvision.com).
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Read an Excerpt




Chapter One


The Toast Is Burning


In 1996, retailing giant toys "R" us, the nation's largest toy retailer, with $11 billion in sales and more than 1,400 stores, launched its first web site. Initially run and maintained by two marketing people under a miniscule budget, the site was little more than an online brochure. Visitors saw information about the company, a store locator, and a few games for kids, but they couldn't buy a single Barbie online.

    In June 1998, the company launched its e-commerce catalog. They moved the team out of marketing and started a new division, called Toys "R" Us Direct. With five full-time staff and many contractors, a budget of $2 million, and several online partners, the catalog was more than just an electronic shopping cart. It also had a gift registry, in-store promotions, product-recall information, e-mail notification, and other services.

    By April 1999, Toys "R" Us had lost the first round of e-commerce to eToys, a three-year-old start-up with $30 million in sales. Its market capitalization was almost equal to that of the veteran company, whose first store opened in 1948. What to do? The executives at Toys "R" Us finally decided to get serious about selling online. They broke the web team off from the corporate headquarters in New Jersey and partnered it with a high-profile venture capital firm to set up a separate subsidiary in California's Silicon Valley. With a new staff, a state-of-the-art distribution center, and a $50 million war chest, Toys "R" Us returned to the fray.

    Online, where the credit card meetsthe browser, the people at eToys have the advantage: They know the Web better, they have more experience with the online customer, they don't have to charge sales tax, and they don't have to worry about taking sales away from existing stores. In this territory, they are the real veterans.

    Now that Toysrus.com has enough money and enough distance from the parent corporation, what should its strategy be? How will it measure success? What secret weapon can the new division build to defend its supremacy in the industry? Or is it a case of too much, too late? If you were advising the CEO of the new subsidiary, what would you reommend?


If Toys "R" Us succeeds online, its secret weapon won't be cash. It won't be technology. It will be a compelling customer experience and the partnerships that provide lasting value. The company's only hope rests not in its cash capital but in its intellectual capital. All the money in the world won't help if the new division manager doesn't ask the right questions.

    What is Toys "R" Us really up against? A start-up? No. In reality, the company's biggest adversary is its Old World mindset. Externally, Toys "R" Us must learn to provide e-customers with a satisfying experience, both pre- and post-sale. Internally, the new subsidiary's management must avoid replicating the parent company's brick-and-mortar culture. As more companies wake up to the reality of the Internet, they will ask not how to build a web site but how to build a web business.

    Here at the turn of the century, many companies are beginning to smell the toast burning. Americans have been putting up with Detroit's cars, Hollywood's movies, Nashville's songs, Silicon Valley's computers, and New York's financial products the way they put up with encyclopedias. In the Old World, the customer had little choice. In the New World, customers will have all the power. Just as a tsunami sweeps the landscape, the Customer-Led Revolution will sweep away businesses that still cling to Old World strategies.

    The Customer-Led Revolution is just beginning. People still want transportation, entertainment, tools, and security, but they are about to ask for them in ways we can barely imagine today.


Which Way to the Beach?

I once heard a division president give a speech to the group of people responsible for the company's first efforts online. It was a big company — the initial "assault team" was about 100 people. The president encouraged this group to "take the beach" so that the rest of the company could follow. It was clear to everyone he didn't know where the beach was. He was sending them into unknown territory and expected them to conquer it. He wanted them to do what he and others in the company weren't willing to do: surf on in and figure it out for themselves.

    That president is living proof that we fear what we don't know. Most executives don't know the territory. They don't realize there is no beach. They don't know there is no vantage point, no high ground, no point of control. The Internet is an ocean of people swimming alone and in groups. Their demands are new and challenging, and they are not going back to the old ways of doing business.

    What's your vision of the future? Can you even see two years ahead? What good is corporate vision if your customers aren't going to cooperate? How many landing parties will you lose before you realize they're not properly equipped or headed in the right direction?

    In the last few years, I've had the opportunity to watch hundreds of companies, large and small, walk to the edge of the sand and resolutely dip their toes in the water. My goal in this book is to encourage companies to jump in and learn to swim. I'll show you how to harness the power of your customers to make and sell your product or service — not just buy it. I'll show you how your customers can make all the strategic decisions you thought you needed to make. And I'll show how your customers will reshape your web site and your organization if you'll just let them.


To futurize means to prepare your business for the New World of e-customers. As the Customer-Led Revolution sweeps across your industry, your company will have to change. In this book, you'll learn to futurize your enterprise both externally and internally.

    To futurize your company externally, you'll learn to take the customer's view of your web site. You'll see that most companies don't ask the right questions when they're preparing to go online and that what they offer is not really what the customers want. You'll learn how to turn any web site into the strategic tool it should be — not the marketing mouthpiece it has become. Most important, you'll see that new thinking at the top is the only way to begin the journey to a customer-led future.

    To futurize your company internally, you'll learn to let your customers lead the way. You will let them have the vision. You will conduct what I hope is the last major reorganization in your company's history. Together, we will organize your company completely around customers and let your customers pull you where you need to go.

    We all read the same headlines every day. The Internet has taken off, and so far, it's only taken a few companies with it. No one wants to be left behind. Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric, says it's time to stop waiting for the revolution to come to us. He says that, for all companies, the Internet is now priority "Number 1, 2, 3, and 4." Great concept, but where do we start?


Letting Customers Lead

In March 1999, Steve Ballmer, president of Microsoft Corporation, said, "Software is going to play a far broader role in our lives than we can even imagine today. When we took stock of our ability to meet these future opportunities, it became clear that we were organized to meet today's needs, but not those of the next decade."

    With that self-appraisal, Microsoft announced a complete restructuring of the company, away from products and toward customers. To serve its e-customers, Microsoft executives realized the company had to, in Ballmer's words, "move away from the alignment by products and technologies that had served the company since its inception."

    Microsoft realigned itself to parallel its four main customer groups: 1) information technology managers, 2) knowledge workers, 3) software developers, and 4) consumers. Each division is empowered to bring out the best in Microsoft's core technology for the benefit of its customers.

    This choice is not an obvious one. It takes insight and research to find your top customer groups. Microsoft executives learned that knowledge workers, whether they're in a small consulting firm in Bombay or at General Motors' corporate headquarters, are much more alike than they are different.


E-customers aren't loyal to a brand. They are loyal to other customers and the employees with whom they have established a relationship. They may be attracted to a specific business proposition, but their memories are very short. Solve one problem for them, and they have another. Companies must earn their networked customers' loyalty with every new deal.

    Take a look at the customer-led manifesto at Cluetrain.com. It contains 95 theses about the emerging networked market. The first five theses are the most important:


1. Markets are conversations.
2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.
4. Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.
5. People recognize each other as such from the sound of this voice.


    One goal of this book is to make it dear that markets really are conversations. I hope this statement will become your new mantra. It isn't an analogy or a helpful learning device — it's the new reality.

    A customer-led company aligns with its customers inside and out. In a customer-led company, everyone contributes to the customer's experience. The company provides ways for the customer to talk not only with the employees but with other customers as well. The web team facilitates those conversations.

    Should everyone in the company contribute to the web site? Yes. Should everyone in the company be talking to customers in chat rooms and online discussion groups? Yes. Should executives take time out of their busy days to answer e-mail from ordinary customers? What do you think? Hewlett-Packard has a system for answering every e-mail message it receives. The company tracks and follows up on any outstanding inquiries, even a request for parts for an audio oscillator made in 1939.

    The customer experience and the employee experience are the two halves of the new conversation. That conversation will be your guide. Listening and following are the hallmarks of the winners in the New World.


Diary of a Car Buyer

Today, no car manufacturer has a web site that listens. All the manufacturers' sites are essentially online brochures. Most car manufacturers actually discourage customer communication! California's "Lemon Law" requires them to respond or to replace a car if a customer files a complaint. The companies fear they'll be bombarded with e-mail messages and saddled with the responsibility of answering every message they get.

    What does the customer see on the site? Sections for minivans, sedans, convertibles, and sport-utility vehicles. Information about financing. And, of course, a nifty color selector. This product-driven, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses approach leads to a very boring customer experience.

    A customer-led approach would be very different. As Microsoft did, the company would first take a hard look at who its online customers are. A customer-led auto manufacturer site would provide areas for commuters, families, students, sport-driving enthusiasts, businesses, and so on. Car owners from each group could share their experiences online. People looking for new cars are much more likely to believe actual owners than pages of standardized marketing jargon. Once prospective buyers see how satisfied these customers are with their cars, they'll take the next step: the test drive.


Is it possible to test-drive a car online? Absolutely. Suppose you're looking for a sporty, yet sophisticated, convertible. You go to an auto magazine's web site, where you find several articles written by professional drivers. Then, you get "in the driver's seat." From Java-based simulations of the Corvette, the BMW convertible, the Mercedes SL, the Porsche 911, and the Jaguar XK8, you choose the Porsche. After a quick tour of the cockpit, you choose one of four famous test tracks. A brisk one-megabyte download, the light turns green, and you're on your way — behind the wheel of a Porsche 911.

    Yuck. I can't imagine a worse way to test-drive a car. Yet some car companies would love to build such a simulation, and they would spend plenty of money doing it. The futurize way is to put people ahead of technology. Let's try again.

    Suppose the magazine holds an event where real people shopping for convertibles get to test-drive the five cars. A group of tire-kicking shoppers spends the day driving the cars. They describe their experiences — unedited -- on the magazine's web site. When you visit the site, you decide to follow the story of the 40-year-old consultant from San Francisco. He has a sport-utility vehicle and is looking for a weekend getaway car. You read about his day on the track. You learn with him what torque means to the average driver, what causes the rear wheels to drift, and how each car handles a panic stop on wet pavement.

    Because you identify with the consultant, you get a lot out of reading what he has to say. You appreciate it when he says the Porsche is the most fun, but also the most — in his opinion — unsafe. Ruling out the BMW (wrong attitude), the Corvette (no finesse), and the Jaguar (wrong image), he decides on the Mercedes. After reading the unedited comments of three to four of the drivers, you have an excellent idea of how each car drives.

    But wait. It gets better. You can read about how the consultant shopped for and bought his Mercedes. And he's kept a diary of his new-car experience for the last eight months, so you can see how he's enjoying the SL. You can even send him questions by e-mail — he answers in a day or two — and read his FAQ, the questions he gets most frequently. Why does he do it? Because he loves the attention, and he loves his car. He also loves the free gasoline he gets, compliments of the magazine, as long as he keeps up his web diary.

    Magazines can hold this kind of event. Car manufacturers can't. But they can sponsor events like the shoppers' test drive on a magazine's site. Company employees can participate in the online dialogues, as long as they do so earnestly. If employees are really excited about their company, its philosophy, and its products, customers will want to meet them and ask them questions. Once a customer establishes a relationship with an employee, the employee can invite the customer to the company's own site to continue the discussion.


Misalignment in Hollywood

All film studios create web sites for their films. It's another cost of launching a movie. All studios put up the same content: the cast, the storyline, behind-the-scenes anecdotes, awards, clips and images, and an occasional screensaver or mystery game.

    Have they left anything out? Bios of the studio heads? The studio's stock price? The movie's mission statement?

    Wait a minute! Where are the customers? Everyone enjoys movies, and everyone enjoys giving opinions about movies. Why don't studios let the film-viewing public create the sites' content? People are aching for a chance to express themselves, but the studio lawyers have convinced the executives that the risks outweigh the benefits. What are the liabilities? Someone might criticize the film. Someone might criticize the person who criticized the film. And the studio could get bad press as a result. Who cares what people say, as long as they spell the name of the film correctly?

    People are discussing the films online already — in newsgroups, on America Online, in communities like Hsx.com and Film.com. The studios could harness all that energy. Given the chance, viewers would love to express themselves and be recognized for their abilities as critics.


To encourage positive debate, a studio might give visitors the ability to vote on the reviews and then feature the most popular reviews at the top of the film's home page. How much does that cost? Nothing! Yet the challenge and opportunity for recognition would get people writing their most witty, insightful reviews.

    Reviewers might find themselves with growing online audiences eager for their next reviews. Now here's the beauty part: This gives the studio a chance to listen more closely to its customers than it ever has before. Popular reviewers might qualify to become part of the studio's special advisory board, brought in to help shape a film during development. Members of the audience could start to give studio heads a better idea what will play in Peoria.

    The more tools and opportunities a company gives its customers to express themselves, the more they will participate. The rules don't need to be very strict. The watchers don't need to be very watchful. As we'll see in later chapters, customer-led communities are self-policing. Companies that don't understand that principle will fail to make the transition to the customer-led future.

    The successful movie studio of the future will facilitate the conversation between those making the films and those consuming them — from the initial pitch to the final cut.


The Customer-Led Model

A management-led company relies on management's vision to set the course. A customer-led company is completely aligned with customer groups, both internally and externally. A customer-led company encourages conversation between customers and employees, and among customers. Rather than shying away from personal contact, a customer-led company actually encourages contact with the employees and facilitates customers meeting each other. This new emphasis on listening creates the conversations that move the company forward.

    Many companies listen to their customers, but only tactically. Car companies listen to customers to see how many of which model to make or which colors are popular. Golf club manufacturers try to understand the customer's perception of various high-tech features. Hotels listen to complaints and try to fix the problems. A tactical emphasis on customers is a way of validating and refining management's vision.

    A customer-led company listens to its customers strategically. It asks big questions: What business should we be in? Who are our core customers? Should we build products or services? Can we reorganize internally to serve the new, more demanding customer? Customer-led companies bring their customers into the long-range planning process.

    A customer-led company fosters loyalty through relationships. Everyone in the company is responsible for the customer's experience. The boundary between customer and employee becomes more porous. Customers and employees get to know each other, rely on each other. The conversation gets more interesting. Transactions are simply part of the conversation, just as they are at the corner grocery store or café.

    The transition from a management-led to a customer-led company removes the old distribution-driven bottleneck that forces customers to talk to the company through special representatives. When customers can send e-mail directly to almost anyone in the company, those bottlenecks disappear. The old official branding mechanisms no longer contribute to customer loyalty. The e-commerce site opens up to become more of a communication tool. Rather than measuring brand penetration or web-site sales, the company starts to measure the quality of the employee experience and the customer experience around each new business proposition.

    Today, there aren't many customer-led companies in the world. The Internet will change that. Perhaps the biggest difference between the way we do business today and the way we will do business tomorrow is that we will all become better listeners. And that may change more than just our companies.


Futurizing

Companies that are serious about doing business online will have to learn how to swim in the turbulent sea of customer demands and changing business rules. They will need a completely new approach to their online customers, an approach I outline in this book. Whether you have $50,000 or $50 million to build your online business, your first step should be to transform the way you perceive the challenges that lay ahead. If you can't do that, no amount of money in the world will help you against the companies that can.

    Global interconnectivity is a tsunami event, a tidal wave of cataclysmic change sweeping the world. From 2000 to 2010, perhaps two billion people will go online. These people will change the business landscape more than any group or event in the last century. Are you ready? If you're not, that's okay. By the time you finish this book, you will be.

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Table of Contents

PRINCIPLES.

The Toast Is Burning.

Why Most Web Strategies Fail.

E-Business.

The E-Customer.

The Thruth Economy.

PRACTICE.

Management by Surfing Around.

The Customer-Led Web Site.

The Customer-Led Company.

Cyber Synergy.

Navigating in the New World.

PROTOTYPES.

Grocery Store.

Magazine Publisher.

Steel Fabricator.

Real Estate Clearinghouse.

Book Superstore.

Software Company.

Bank Intranet.

Drug Manufacturer.

PREDICTIONS.

The Job Seeker.

The Homemaker.

The Breadwinner.

The Teenager.

The Moviegoer.

The Frequent Flier.

The Student.

The Lawyer.

The Patient.

The Reputation Consultant.

Afterword.

About the Author.

About the Book.

Index.

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Introduction

If you had visited Madagascar in 1850, you might have run into Charles Darwin, who was there studying orchids. One day he found an unusual orchid with a 15-inch tube, at the bottom of which a sweet nectar emerged every night. Darwin hypothesized the existence of a hawk moth with a 15-inch tongue to pollinate the plant. People laughed at him - no one had ever heard of a moth with a tongue that long. In 1903 - 21 years after Darwin's death - biologists in Madagascar discovered the elusive nocturnal moth.

In nature, the food shapes the organism. If the environment changes, the food usually changes, and all the species that have coevolved in that environment must respond or die.

In business, the customer shapes the corporation. People's needs, tastes, and desires shape what a company can offer. Very few companies today sell the same products or services they sold just ten years ago. Yet almost all companies are still organized the same way.

Over the next ten years, the Internet will drive changes in consumer behavior that will lay waste to all the corporate re-engineering and cost reduction programs that have kept so many MBAs and programmers burning the midnight oil. These changes will be so profound that companies will have to realign themselves with an even sharper focus on the customer than they have now. Even the emphasis on quality - espoused by such experts as W Edwards Deming, Malcolm Baldridge, and Jim Collins - will be less important in the face of new and rapidly changing demands.

The Internet is behind this change in the business landscape. It is either your worst nightmare or your next big opportunity. The question is: How will you respond? You couldleap headlong into e-commerce with an arsenal of tactical tools for online sales and marketing. Or you could take a more holistic approach, one that starts by changing the way you view the Internet itself Which do you think will benefit your company more in the long run?

In consulting with Fortune 500 companies and start-ups, conducting seminars for business audiences around the world, and writing two books that influenced the first generation of web designers, I have learned a lot about what works and what doesn't work online. In my collaboration with many companies on web strategy, I've found that go percent of the problems companies have online are caused by management, not technology.

In this book, I'll present a comprehensive strategy that asks you to rethink your corporate structure and your relationship with your customers. The concepts are unorthodox. No company currently embraces all the principles and processes I describe. But by 2005, 1 believe they will be commonplace. My goal in this book is to give you a clear understanding of what it will take for your business not only to survive, but to succeed in the coming decade.

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2001

    You are in business for the customer, here are the new rules.

    David writes a very believable story detailing the ways companies must change to be 'customer-led' organizations. He believes that all companies that want to succeed must re-organize their business to communicate openly with their clients, and change accordingly. Doing this bonds the client to the company and fosters growth/insight for both parties. If you have a business or plan to .... read this soon. Learn what the future will be like, today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2000

    Incredibly Profound

    David, You are an incredibly powerful writer. I find your book, 'Futurize Your Enterprise' extremely insightful. It is superbly written and filled with very interesting case studies and historical anecdotes. You are truly a discontinuous thinker. Your approach and attitude to the writing of this book far exceed the 'brilliant' category. It is evolutionary as well as revolutionary. I admire your profound thinking and the rare ability to write simply.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2000

    Great insight into the future of business.

    I had never considered growing my business by listening to my customers via internet. This is an exciting concept that I'm going to implement, thanks to David.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2000

    E-business Shock!: The Client Comes First!

    Having only read a third so far, I am still impressed by the depth of commitment to the client proposed by the author. To let the client direct a company's direction is a recipe for business anarchy, and yes! business success. This book shows how to offer the ultimate client experience available, not just plain old service. I like it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2000

    A must read for anyone in the client service arena

    A complex read that requires digestion. If you are interested in developing your client relationships with a view to the current and future environments, then you owe it to your-self to read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2000

    This book answers the question our clients have been asking 'What's our Web strategy?'

    This is the first time that I've read or heard anything that makes sense about the web. Even web development companies are still talking about building the corporate brand as the main focus of a site. I'll be giving a copy of 'Futurize Your Enterprise' to all of our clients - it's going to dramatically change how they view their web site, their web/business strategy and how their employees participate in the success or failure of their web presence.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2000

    I could not put this book down

    I have been involved with Information Technology (IT) for the past 20 years, the last few years as IT Architect and Datawarehouse Architect, because I thought that IT had the power to change the world. After reading this book, I know, not only that IT MUST change the world, but also HOW IT can effect those changes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2000

    A New World Uncovered

    From a beginner level internet user to a complete convert. This book was recommended to myself and my business partner when we approached a group in Sydney seeking venture capital for a business concept. The end result is basically still the same but the road to that result for our future customers is now radically different. The concepts in the book have opened our eyes and our minds and I found myself constantly waking up at night to write down notes from ideas and strategies learnt in reading the book. My partner and I now feel we have so much more to offer and have realised that communicating with the customer is the only way to achieve long term and positive results for both the customer and our business.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2000

    changed my entire method of working

    I am a web designer and developer, until reading this book, thought that I was very up with the latest technology, I WAS WRONG, anyone can focus on technology, it takes a forward planner to really build a website that people will go back to again and again, this book has changed the entire way that I do my job!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2000

    A learning experienc

    Mr. Siegal does a fantastic job of describing the difference between marketing and e-business in simple but to the point manor. The information is a real light for getting yourself oriented to the e-customer. Best read I've come across by a wide margin.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2000

    futurizza la tua impresa

    I write from Italy and here greater part of interprise are small and medium. I think that the book is interesting only for the big interprise.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2000

    Absolutely Phenomenal!

    Without a doubt, the BEST book I have read. The concepts David Siegal outlines in this book are not new to anyone in the business world. What is new is how Mr. Siegal takes those tried and true practices of good customer service and explains how they apply to e-business...in a way that anyone can understand. When you read this book, you will find yourself thinking, 'I never thought of it that way before. That really makes sense.' Definitely worth your money. It is an extremely easy read, and a MUST for anyone who wants to have a future in e-business.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2000

    Clarity and Insight Revealed

    Very well done. As a professional in the industry I would highly reccomend this book. One of the few that frames concepts and tactics for companies venturing into the space. Owning the customer relationship is paramount and David does a great job in explaining the logic as well as, SIMPLE tactics to do so.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2000

    Too much, too soon?

    For executives brave enough, smart enough, and awake enough, this book is a great guide. However, for the many executives who don't answer to that description, these ideas are too far ahead of their time. They're going to scare the creased pants off of the boardroom denizens. Still, if you currently work to build websites for a company that hasn't quite gotten it, this book makes a good bolster, friend, and consultant you can send off to your executive team to help them see the path ahead. At the very least, business folks can direct their executive teams and marketing and customer service groups and -- well, everybody -- to the Web Boot Camp Siegel hosts on the amazing companion website, www.futurizenow.com. That site, again targeted to busy business professionals, is a great service to web developers of all kinds. If you can't get anybody at your company to look at the site or read this book and at least consider this sensible approach: Run, dear reader. Run like the wind. There are other companies out there who want smart people like you to help change the world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 1999

    Must Have Book

    I now recommend this book to all my customers and prospects because it focuses on the importance of re-organizing your business as a customer-led organization, which is so vital to the success in our e-business world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 1999

    An Internet Update of The Customer-Driven Company

    Futurize Your Enterprise closely parallels the excellent book by Richard Whiteley, The Customer-Driven Company, and adds the element of how to apply Whiteley's concepts through the Internet. Futurize is the best thought-through to date of the Internet books about how to serve customer needs better. Futurize is also good for giving you practical steps for implementing Siegel's universal process. Those who are interested in strategy will find that this book is all about the customer-intimacy model, as spelled out in The Discipline of Market Leaders. While that is a perfectly valid strategic alternative, most markets are led by those who are advanced in providing innovations and low-cost providers. Futurize has a lot less to say about what those other companies should do. Some of the examples seem to imply that the benefit for the majority is primarily in overcoming a negative impression with customers and potential customers through clumsy communications. A third group will probably feel excluded as well: established smaller businesses. The scale and scope of what Siegel proposes will be beyond what most people can do who have less than several million dollars avaiable to focus on the Internet. On the other hand, if you are a well-funded Internet start-up, this book can give you a basic strategy outline that will help you avoid some mistakes. In terms of content, I have only one major objection. I am skeptical about Siegel's claim that brands will be relatively unimportant on the Internet. Rather, it seems like internet-driven branding will become very important. I notice that many people automatically go to their bookmarketed sites, for example, rather than shopping around for the best deal. Brands are the consequence of trust-building and habit. To get rid of brands, you would have to change the way that peoples' minds work. That is unlikely to occur in the next 10 years. Think of this book as the best customer-focused book about creating Internet businesses available at the end of 1999. I am sure that better ones will come along in the future, because Siegel's focus is too limited to really cover the subject. But you would be well-advised to read this book. Almost anyone will learn something valuable along the way -- if only to see your ideas about how to work with the Internet constantly challenged by the author. If Siegel does another edition, I hope the next edition drops the fictional cases and uses only real ones instead. That would make the book a lot more compelling and useful. I have one final comment: How did someone who is famous for outstanding Web site designs end up with such an ugly book cover design?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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