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5.0 out of 5 stars Winning Web Ways!, 2 Aug 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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Clicks and Mortar is one of the ten best business books of 2000, and worth more than five stars!
I highly recommend this book for its people-centered approach to electronic distribution and services.
The book is also a great value because you get the contents of five excellent books for the price of one with Clicks and Mortar. Let me explain.
This is the first book that I have read about innovating with e-commerce that truly straddles the divide between existing business principles and the new economy. Unlike many of the books on e-commerce which are written by consultants, pundits, Web site designers, and technologists, this book is written by business people who have successfully made the transition into using the Internet to enable all their stakeholders. That perspective alone makes this book a valuable contribution to the literature, because it allows everyone to understand the overall business perspective of how to think about this new technology.
Beyond that benefit, the book also serves as a fine best practice example of developing e-commerce businesses based on the successful experiences of Charles Schwab. The details of this example are much more complete than I have read elsewhere, and Charles Schwab is one of a handful of firms that have successfully changed their business models to embrace the Internet. In fact, the company has appeared on my annual CEO 100 list more times in the last ten years than any company other than Clear Channel Communications and Tellabs.
Third, this book is valuable for focusing on all stakeholders (customers, employees, suppliers, partners, regulators, shareholders, and the communities served) as the basis for thinking about technology and new business opportunities. The book does so in a sound and thoughtful way that will be helpful to companies that are not challenged by new technologies, as well as those that are. If you are a humanist, or someone who believes that business starts with creating a customer (as Peter Drucker urges), you will find that this book expands your perspective on great ways to do that. The authors understand that passion for a larger purpose is the glue (the mortar of the title) to bring people together to advance service for customers (using clicks, in this case, through computer technology).
Fourth, this book also has value in filling in gaps in the perspective of what to think about for most business people, technologists, and new business developers. The beauty of the book is that it does so in a way that will encourage the dialogue and community across narrow perspectives to build something better.
Finally, the book transcends its narrow example base of Charles Schwab by referring to other books, studies, and companies to provide a full perspective on effective ways to drive innovation and improvement in a large or small organization.
The book is easy to read and interesting. Although financial services is not my favorite subject, I enjoyed what the authors had to say about Charles Schwab. The rest of the material was even more compelling and useful. I subsequently became a customer to better understand what is being done, and am very impressed with what I have observed.
The book is also very well organized. Summaries of key points are interspaced with more fully developed arguments and examples. The authors alternate in presenting their ideas and experiences, so you also get the benefit and the interest inherent in two voices and speakers. That was very well done. It is a device that more co-authors should consider using.
Finally, the book did something that almost no case history books ever do. It took a moment to look ahead for the next 20 years. The final section is a roundtable discussion with 8 experts in the field. I would give the book 5 stars, just for the idea of including this section. The execution is also excellent.
Get this book right now! Read it immediately!! Live it every day!!! Talk about it with everyone who is a stakeholder!!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Build passion to gain your employees and customers' loyalty., 19 May 2003
In their book "Blown to Bits" Philip Evans and Thomas S. Wurster were concluding that hierarchical leadership is becoming obsolete in an Internet driven world. They were pleading for new leaders able to create culture and strategy. For them only a rich culture joined with a shared strategy can resist deconstruction. The corporation has to become a purposeful community in a world where business boundaries and organizational structures are melting in transience.
"Clicks and Mortar" from David S. Pottruck and Terry Pearce is the book to illustrate these ideas. Mortar, there, does not mean the physical assets as in "bricks and mortar", but means a new mortar that holds an extended company together: passion. "Passion is built. . . by making good promises, making good on those promises, and by giving people a chance to collectively and individually respond to their impulse to serve, to make a difference for others". "People hate change, but they love progress. The difference between the two is a sense of purpose-a shared purpose-provided by a culture that is intentionally built. This idea, which was a good one before the Internet world is becoming an operational imperative in the Internet world."
In the new economy under continuous change, only passionate people committed to a compelling cause or purpose can produce necessary innovation. It is the leaders' responsibility to build commitment and loyalty around a strong corporate culture, which needs to be communicated explicitly. Such a culture has to be anchored with service and customer experience to succeed and not to be centered on the company itself.
"The driving force is the customer experience: our desire and ability to create it, and the customers' satisfaction with it. Serving, serving, serving. It is the heartbeat of a company that works." This message coming directly from Charles Schwab's experience of David S. Pottruck is clear: culture must be centered on customer experience to become the DNA of a company.
As Internet creates interdependence and asks for transparency, living the culture every day is the only way to reinforce commitment and mutual trust.
In the first part of the book we learn how to build such a culture, how to live it every day through stories, images and rituals, and how to cultivate people commitment. An interesting idea is that people serving in a company must be a mirror of the customers to serve. Diversity of employees with different points of view is becoming an important asset in the Internet world for final decision makers.
In the second part we learn how leaders have to communicate and manage others perceptions to create an atmosphere of encouragement rather than competition and to inspire people working with them. Their mission is to make information useful and meaningful to others, in a two-way communication with more responds to people than answers to questions. These conditions and acceptance of failures, as a learning process, must lead to innovation the only true measurement for knowledge workers.
In Internet environment, business heads must be entrepreneurial and team players and must demonstrate a good understanding of technology, which can be no more considered as a simple tool but as the lifeblood to compete.
Technology is used to serve customers who are driving innovation and new product development and gives opportunity to your employees to serve them with passion, the new mortar of a competitive Internet organization.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice introduction, 24 April 2002
Good introduction to the world of e-commerce, and shows the way to integrate the traditional way of business with technology. They should create synergy rather than conflicts in the organizations.
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Clicks and Mortar Audiobook: Passion-driven Growth in an Internet-driven World (Wiley Audio)
Clicks and Mortar Audiobook: Passion-driven Growth in an Internet-driven World (Wiley Audio) by Written and Read by David S Pottruck and Terry Pearce (Audio Cassette - 1 Aug 2000)
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