If you cut off a spider's leg, it's crippled; if you cut off its head, it dies. But if you cut off a starfish's leg, it grows a new one, and the old leg can grow into an entirely new starfish.
What's the hidden power behind the success of Wikipedia, craigslist, and Skype? What do eBay and General Electric have in common with the abolitionist and women's rights movements? What fundamental choice put General Motors and Toyota on vastly different paths? How could winning a Supreme Court case be the biggest mistake MGM could have made?
After five years of ground-breaking research, Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom share some unexpected answers, gripping stories, and a tapestry of unlikely connections. The Starfish and the Spider argues that organizations fall into two categories: traditional "spiders", which have a rigid hierarchy and top-down leadership, and revolutionary "starfish", which rely on the power of peer relationships.
The Starfish and the Spider explores what happens when starfish take on spiders (such as the music industry vs. Napster, Kazaa, and the P2P services that followed). It reveals how established companies and institutions, from IBM to Intuit to the U.S. government, are also learning how to incorporate starfish principles to achieve success. This audiobook explores:
©2006 Decentralized Revolutions, LLC; (P)2007 Gildan Media Corp
Starfish -- decentralized communities or organizations, like the Apache tribes, Alcoholics Anonymous, P2P music sharing communities. (Starfish because starfish has no heads; if you cut a starfish into two, both will grow into new starfish)
Spider -- traditional hierarchical organizations with strong central control.
This book describes the various aspects of Starfish organisations / communities, and how such communities can pose a threat to traditional Spider businesses. While acknowledging the importance of Spider organizations for efficient resource utilization, the book discusses how we can look out for the emergence of Starfish business models, and even capitalize on them.
This book will be an interesting introduction to the idea of decentralized models for listeners / readers unfamiliar with the centralized-decentralized dichotomy. However, I finished the book with a "so what" feeling. I did not feel there was any takeaway I could readily apply. Nonetheless, it did provoke my thinking about current operations in my organization.
The book also talks about hybrid organizations like Amazon and Ebay. These are traditional organizations that have managed to tap on a wider starfish-like community to generate value for their businesses.
For those of you looking for precise methods and answers on how to change your business structure to incorporate a more de-centralized business system, this is not the book for you.
Having said that, if you are looking for a way to broaden your mind's eye view of how social structures directly and indirectly affect business and commerce in the past, present and future then this book will be an invaluable tool.
This book will really help set your mind racing and drawing colorations between the two types of structures in not just business but in all aspects of society. It is up to the reader to take the examples given, the pros and cons of the structures presented, what happens when the two structures go toe-to-toe and relate it to their specific business and industry.
I can tell you this though, if you read this book and grasp the concepts and your competition doesn't, then you will have a definite advantage in recognizing current and future opportunities that your competition would NOT even be aware of.
If for the above reason only, this is a MUST READ for any student of business.
mostly nonfiction listener
Academic technology organizations are "starfishes" - in that authority and knowledge are distributed - and that we are mission driven. Recommended to anyone who thinks about organizational effectiveness. This book fits beautifully within the genre of short works that communicate serious academic research by telling interesting stories and providing fascinating examples. We don't assign enough books like this in our college courses - thinking that since is a "popularizing" book it must therefore be "inferior". I'm starting to think that we've been too snobby....and that in privileging good writing and storytelling over total academic rigor we may be inhibiting our students from absorbing the central points.
The Starfish and the Spider offers a new look at how organizations run and what can make them successful (or not). Also the outlook on different leadership styles is telling. The real life examples from contemporary history and the present day are fascinating. It's a great book for people who are interested in organizational behaviors and attitudes, how to motivate people, and lovers of history. This is a well written and well read audiobook.
This would be an interesting book if its contents weren't so repetitive. I got bored and frustrated with it, and ended up not finishing it.
Software Designer & Armchair Philosopher
Skip all the first part. Most of it anyways--the bits that talk about the Apache, PETA, Napster, etc. So much of the book is wasted on things only marginally applicable to the main theme, at least what seemed to be the main thing--applying the leaderless approach to business. Also, holding up marginally legal/moral examples up as some of the prime examples wasn't a great strategy.
Spend more time on the business aspects, less on the general.
He was very understandable/clear voiced. Good balance of tone. Easy to listen to.
I would only recommend a cliff's notes for this one. Too much text, not enough substance.
Saying they are "unstoppable" in the title and then explaining how they can be stopped is kind of silly. Also, they seem to have very limited applicability in business--the promotion of the book makes it sound revolutionary, but it's just not that insightful, IMO.
Distinguishing between two types of organizational ideologies that both tend to exist in our blind spot was illuminating. Why impossible organizations like al Qaeda even exist, let alone thrive, is a fascinating look at the silent impact of our cultural way of working.
That said, where is the road map and workbook to roll up our collective sleeves and go to work on generating a similarly fantastic result? The rules are more like guidelines to point readers toward accidental results like creating eBay.
Best part about this book? The narrator is quite good.
That being said, this is the most repetitive book I have ever listened to. Each point is driven home so many times and with so many examples that it gives new meaning to the idea of beating a dead horse.
To be fair, there is some fascinating material in here. I probably enjoyed the first chapter the most, being that I love music and it discusses the changes that recently occurred in the music industry... but from there the redundant style of writing set in. I think I could have learned this stuff from someone's summaries of each chapter on the Internet (which someone has probably posted somewhere, right?).
The authors are clearly quite smart, and I'm sure the principles outlined here would be extremely meaningful to someone in the world of business.
"Open your mind to a new type of leadership"
Yes, great stories and a wonderful metaphor of how a non-led organisation can change the world...
Cut of the spider's head it dies... cut the starfish in two... you get two starfishes
Yes, very well read
"A MUST read"
An outstanding book that gives some great insight into decentralised organisations. The authors give you some great examples of how this works in some businesses today.
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