Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter, How Today's Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves

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Here's something you may not know about today's Internet. Simply by designing your product the right way, you can build a flourishing business from scratch. No advertising or marketing budget, no need for a sales force, and venture capitalists will flock to throw money at you. Many of the most successful Web 2.0 companies, including MySpace, YouTube, eBay, and rising stars like Twitter and Flickr, are prime examples of what journalist Adam L. Penenberg calls a "viral loop"--to use it, you have to spread it. After all, what's the sense of being on Facebook if none of your friends are The result: Never before has there been the potential to create wealth this fast, on this scale, and starting with so little. In this game-changing must-read, Penenberg tells the fascinating story of the entrepreneurs who first harnessed the unprecedented potential of viral loops to create the successful online businesses--some worth billions of dollars--that we have all grown to rely on. The trick is that they created something people really want, so much so that their customers happily spread the word about their product for them. All kinds of businesses--from the smallest start-ups to nonprofit organizations to the biggest multinational corporations--can use the paradigm-busting power of viral loops to enable their business through technology. Viral Loop is a must-read for any entrepreneur or business interested in uncorking viral loops to benefit their bottom line.
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About the author

Adam L. Penenberg is a contributing writer for Fast Company and a professor of journalism at New York University. He has written for the New York Times, Slate, Wired and The Economist, among others. A former senior editor at Forbes and reporter for Forbes.com, he garnered national attention in 1998 for unmasking serial fabricator Stephen Glass of The New Republic. Penenberg's story was a watershed for online investigative journalism and is portrayed in the film "Shattered Glass." He is the author of two previous books, Spooked and Tragic Indifference.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Hachette Books
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Published on
Oct 13, 2009
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781401394936
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economics / Microeconomics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Do games hold the secret to better productivity? 

If you’ve ever found yourself engrossed in Angry Birds, Call of Duty, or a plain old crossword puzzle when you should have been doing something more productive, you know how easily games hold our attention. Hardcore gamers have spent the equivalent of 5.93 million years playing World of Warcraft while the world collectively devotes about 5 million hours per day to Angry Birds. A colossal waste of time? Perhaps. But what if we could tap into all the energy, engagement, and brainpower that people are already expending and use it for more creative and valuable pursuits?


Harnessing the power of games sounds like a New-Age fantasy, or at least a fad that’s only for hip start-ups run by millennials in Silicon Valley. But according to Adam L. Penenberg, the use of smart game design in the workplace and beyond is taking hold in every sector of the economy, and the companies that apply it are witnessing unprecedented results. “Gamification” isn’t just for consumers

chasing reward points anymore. It’s transforming, well, just about everything.


Penenberg explores how, by understanding the way successful games are designed, we can apply them to become more efficient, come up with new ideas, and achieve even the most daunting goals. He shows how game mechanics are being applied to make employees happier and more motivated, improve worker safety, create better products, and improve customer service.


For example, Microsoft has transformed an essential but mind-numbing task—debugging software—into a game by having employees compete and collaborate to find more glitches in less time. Meanwhile, Local Motors, an independent automaker based in Arizona, crowdsources designs from car enthusiasts all over the world by having them compete for money and recognition within the community. As a result, the company was able to bring a cutting-edge vehicle to market in less time and at far less cost than the Big Three automakers.


These are just two examples of companies that have tapped the characteristics that make games so addictive and satisfying. Penenberg also takes us inside organizations that have introduced play at work to train surgeons, aid in physical therapy, translate the Internet, solve vexing scientific riddles, and digitize books from the nineteenth century. Drawing on the latest brain science as well as his firsthand reporting from these cutting-edge companies, Penenberg offers a powerful solution for businesses and organizations of all stripes and sizes.

“Ideas of economic democracy are very much in the air, as they should be, with increasing urgency in the midst of today’s serious crises. Richard Wolff’s constructive and innovative ideas suggest new and promising foundations for much more authentic democracy and sustainable and equitable development, ideas that can be implemented directly and carried forward. A very valuable contribution in troubled times.”—Noam Chomsky

"Probably America's most prominent Marxist economist."—The New York Times

Capitalism as a system has spawned deepening economic crisis alongside its bought-and-paid-for political establishment. Neither serves the needs of our society. Whether it is secure, well-paid, and meaningful jobs or a sustainable relationship with the natural environment that we depend on, our society is not delivering the results people need and deserve.

One key cause for this intolerable state of affairs is the lack of genuine democracy in our economy as well as in our politics. The solution requires the institution of genuine economic democracy, starting with workers managing their own workplaces, as the basis for a genuine political democracy.

Here Richard D. Wolff lays out a hopeful and concrete vision of how to make that possible, addressing the many people who have concluded economic inequality and politics as usual can no longer be tolerated and are looking for a concrete program of action.

Richard D. Wolff is professor of Economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is currently a visiting professor at the New School University in New York. Wolff is the author of many books, including Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It. He hosts the weekly hour-long radio program Economic Update on WBAI (Pacifica Radio) and writes regularly for The Guardian, Truthout.org, and the MRZine.


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