I had a chance to read two of the most influential Web-related business books to come out in the last year during vacation.
If you want to see how an Internet-enabled economy will transform your business, add The Long Tail and The Search to your reading list. Both put the major trends of the Web into perspective and give business executives in all types of industries plenty to think about.
In The Long Tail - Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, Wired editor Chris Anderson clarifies "The Long Tail", where the combined value of millions of items that may sell only a few copies equals or exceeds the value of the few hits that sell millions each.
Anderson sheds light on the economics of abundance, revealing why hits are no longer hits, and how innovative businesses have capitalized on a "market of multitudes" while brick and mortar stores are struggling.
While most of Anderson's examples are of media companies, the implications of a Long Tail can apply to the buying and selling of many goods. This is a thought-provoking book.
Conversations about the Long Tail and what it means to all types of businesses can be followed on Chris' blog.
John Battelle, author of The Search was a founder of The Industry Standard and one of the original editors of Wired, two magazines which helped shape early perceptions of the Internet.
In The Search, Battelle, provides insight into the evolution of search and deftly makes the critical concepts of the search phenomenon easy to grasp. I found the sections on the database of intentions and the concept of intention marketing totally captivating.
"The Database of Intentions is simply this: the aggregate results of every search ever entered, every result list ever tendered, and every path taken as a result….Taken together, this information represents a real-time history of post-Web culture - a massive clickstream database of desires, needs, wants, and preferences that can be discovered, subpoenaed, archived, tracked and exploited for all sorts of ends."
The Search is a look at the future. Keep up with Battelle's innovative thinking about search on his blog.