Exponential Organizations: A Book Review


I think I must have recommended this book to at least 15 people, and that’s only in the last few days. I can’t remember the last time I did that for any book.

I used to work at Yahoo! during Salim’s tenure at Brickhouse (I ran the internal innovation group, shepherding ideas from employees to product or patent ) and in this book, he and his co-authors hit the nail on the head. Even though they don’t say that this is a blueprint to envisioning, developing and launching an exponential organization like Uber, AirBnB it may as well be one.

This is a powerful book. I read it non-stop on a flight to from Dublin – I could not put it down and it left me motivated with tons of ideas on building my own exponential startup – and helping others to do the same.

One of the best things about this book is that it crystallized a lot of the thinking that I’ve been doing lately about those kinds of organizations that seemed to grow huge and super profitable overnight, and what were their key attributes, and those attributes were validated here.

For example, for a while I was thinking that individually, things like crowdification (utilizing customers for everything from new product definition, to development, to funding, to support and more) and platformization (realizing the potential of leveraging companies as platforms opening up new sales channels which never existed before) were key to the growth of these firms. In this book, the key initial aspect is crowdification. Once the business reaches a certain inflection point, it introduces itself as a platform, and IMHO eventually, moves down in the stack, allowing others to be the last mile to the customer.

The only aspect which I’ve talked about which is not given as much consideration (which is what Uber does very well), is seamlessness, creating seamless, magical experiences by intersecting big data, the internet of things and automation. IMHO, this is coming sooner than you think.

A must read. If you are interested in building an exponential organization, whether you’re a startup, mid-size company or large enterprise, this book is for you.