Book of Interest—Smart Business

Are Mom-and-Pop businesses a thing of the past?

First there was ALIBABA (a classic under dog adventure tale). Then there was The 2008 Olympics in Beijing (marketing raised to a level that has no word to describe it). Then there was Crazy Rich Asians (all that extravagance but aren’t they fun people—and so kind-hearted at their core). Now Ming Zeng tells us about the fourth business revolution (after Industrial, Managerial, and Knowledge). The fourth business revolution, as he sees it, is Creativity. As an artist, I didn’t realize until he started seriously using the word creativity at the end of the book, that that was how he hooked me. And once I was hooked, I was exhilarated. He’s describing a future I can look forward to.

Contrary to the “1984” inspired images of masses of people in gray uniforms marching in step under an authoritarian, digitally-empowered tyrant, the portrait of Alibaba’s China that Zeng paints is of underserved individual consumers and businesses being empowered by online technologies, joining the global marketplace, and creating a new economic base that is inclusive, flexible, and open-ended.

And that’s what Zeng says this is all about. Empowering individuals with a massive network, but one that communicates constantly and processes data in real time. That means that every action an individual takes online helps to create the future. It gives new meaning to the concept of voting with your pocket book.

Alibaba’s spin off Taobao claims to have developed a system that can deliver to rural China (with minimal infrastructure) same day. (Amazon, and I LOVE Amazon, can’t deliver next day to me, a Prime customer, in the heart of commercial Bradenton unless I pay extra.)

Something’s going on here. Zeng tells us that it’s inspired. He says that Alibaba’s algorithms are created to search for small businesses that are successful (answering the Mom-and-Pop question I started with), not just the businesses with the highest numbers. He says it’s redefining the idea of an ecosystem. It’s exciting. I hope he’s on to something here. I hope that it’s something that can’t be high-jacked by silo-style competitors.

This is a book that truly changed my mindset about participating in the world. Despite the overwhelming amount of information Zeng presents, this is a highly readable book even for entry-level techies. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

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