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January 30, 2009

What would Google do?

Whilst reading Paul Miller's new(ish) blog this morning I browsed my way over to his profile page on Business Week and thence to an article entitled Detroit Should Get Cracking on its Googlemobile by Jeff Jarvis which contains a short video (8 minutes or so) interview with the author.  I haven't read the article or the book(!) but I quite liked the video despite the fact that it is not much more than an excuse to plug Jarvis' book, What would Google do?

It's a good question, and one that I tend to ask regularly in the context of things like institutional repositories.  Come to think of it, it's probably not a bad question to ask about universities more generally (as I think Jarvis does in the book).  I don't know if I would agree with Jarvis' answers but I think it is an interesting place to start a discussion.

In the video Jarvis characterises the Google approach as having four aspects:

  • Give up control to the people/your users.
  • Think like a platform and/or a network - let people build on top of what you do.
  • Scale has changed - "small is the new big".
  • Make mistakes well.

How would these characteristics apply when thinking about the way that universities operate?

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Comments

I think asking 'what would google do' is definitely worth while, but I'd also add 'what does google do (so we don't have to)?' and 'what doesn't google do (and should we do it)?'


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