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Leaders already know that the classic approach to strategy--analyze, plan, execute--is losing relevance. But they don't yet know what replaces it. As everyone and everything becomes more interconnected and digitized, how do you operate, compete, and win? Ming Zeng, the former Chief of Staff and strategy adviser to Alibaba Group's founder Jack Ma, explains how the latest tec Leaders already know that the classic approach to strategy--analyze, plan, execute--is losing relevance. But they don't yet know what replaces it. As everyone and everything becomes more interconnected and digitized, how do you operate, compete, and win? Ming Zeng, the former Chief of Staff and strategy adviser to Alibaba Group's founder Jack Ma, explains how the latest technological developments, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, the mobile internet, and cloud computing are redefining how value is created. Written especially for those outside the technology industry or the startup arena, this book introduces a simple, overarching framework to guide strategy formulation and execution in this data-rich and highly interactive environment. Revealing the revolutionary practices that he and his team have developed at Alibaba, Zeng shows how to: Automate decisions through machine learning Create products informed by real-time data from customers Determine the right strategic positioning to maximize value from platforms and suppliers Repurpose your organization to further human insight and enable creativity Lead your company's transformation into a smart business With insights into the strategies and tools used by leaders at Alibaba and other companies such as Ruhan and Red Collar, in a variety of industries from furniture making to banking to custom tailoring, Smart Business outlines a radically new approach to strategy that can be applied everywhe


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Leaders already know that the classic approach to strategy--analyze, plan, execute--is losing relevance. But they don't yet know what replaces it. As everyone and everything becomes more interconnected and digitized, how do you operate, compete, and win? Ming Zeng, the former Chief of Staff and strategy adviser to Alibaba Group's founder Jack Ma, explains how the latest tec Leaders already know that the classic approach to strategy--analyze, plan, execute--is losing relevance. But they don't yet know what replaces it. As everyone and everything becomes more interconnected and digitized, how do you operate, compete, and win? Ming Zeng, the former Chief of Staff and strategy adviser to Alibaba Group's founder Jack Ma, explains how the latest technological developments, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, the mobile internet, and cloud computing are redefining how value is created. Written especially for those outside the technology industry or the startup arena, this book introduces a simple, overarching framework to guide strategy formulation and execution in this data-rich and highly interactive environment. Revealing the revolutionary practices that he and his team have developed at Alibaba, Zeng shows how to: Automate decisions through machine learning Create products informed by real-time data from customers Determine the right strategic positioning to maximize value from platforms and suppliers Repurpose your organization to further human insight and enable creativity Lead your company's transformation into a smart business With insights into the strategies and tools used by leaders at Alibaba and other companies such as Ruhan and Red Collar, in a variety of industries from furniture making to banking to custom tailoring, Smart Business outlines a radically new approach to strategy that can be applied everywhe

30 review for Smart Business: What Alibaba's Success Reveals about the Future of Strategy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Pavel Annenkov

    О ЧЕМ КНИГА: Эта книга - мой новый фаворит 2019 года. Очень своевременная работа, которая на примере китайских IT лидеров показывает, как за последнее десятилетие произошла полная диджитализация бизнеса. То, что всё ушло в цифру, это не просто слова, а реальность. Те компании, которые не оцифруют свой бизнес и не построят "смарт компанию" рано или поздно уйдут с рынка. Процесс во многих отраслях только начинается и сейчас надо к нему присоединяться пока не поздно. Автор детально описывает, как у О ЧЕМ КНИГА: Эта книга - мой новый фаворит 2019 года. Очень своевременная работа, которая на примере китайских IT лидеров показывает, как за последнее десятилетие произошла полная диджитализация бизнеса. То, что всё ушло в цифру, это не просто слова, а реальность. Те компании, которые не оцифруют свой бизнес и не построят "смарт компанию" рано или поздно уйдут с рынка. Процесс во многих отраслях только начинается и сейчас надо к нему присоединяться пока не поздно. Автор детально описывает, как устроен бизнес китайских смарт-компаний и показывает, что из этого мы можем применить сейчас у себя. Очень важный момент в книге, где автор объясняет почему классический подход к стратегии больше не работает. И главное показывает какой подход будет работать сейчас. Стратегия теперь это не анализ и планирование, а процесс экспериментирования и привлечения клиентов в реальном времени. КАКАЯ БЫЛА ЦЕЛЬ ЧТЕНИЯ: - Разобраться во всех составляющих диджитализации бизнеса и понять, что я могу внедрить из этого в своих компаниях. ГЛАВНЫЕ ВЫВОДЫ: - Продукт будущего адаптируется под клиента и является результатом машинного обучения в ответ на проблему клиента. - На смену модели В2С на многих рынках приходит модель С2В. Это когда компания и ее продукт формируются самими потребителями. Всё больше товаров и услуг будут производиться под запрос по приемлемой цене. 'Клиент на первом месте" - это уже не лозунг, а стартовая точка бизнеса. - В сети компании делятся на три типа: точки, линии и плоскости. Задача предпринимателя, если он использует стратегию точки, искать новые линии и плоскости, которые появляются на рынках. Нужно всегда использовать сетевой эффект для роста и развития своего бизнеса. Новые возможности возникают непрерывно и важно не пропустить новое окно возможности. - Чем больше компания использует обратную связь от клиентов, тем больше она становится смарт-бизнесом. - Два главных вывода об успехе сейчас: 1. Правильность решений сегодня зависит от моего видения будущего. 2. Креативность - основной источник создания стоимости. - Каждый, кто обладает уникальной способностью создавать новую стоимость, найдет способ её реализовать. - Именно во времена стремительных изменений нам больше всего требуется ясное представление о будущем. ЧТО Я БУДУ ПРИМЕНЯТЬ: - Буду смотреть теперь на каждую компанию, как на один из трёх типов бизнеса: точка, линия или платформа. - Чаще буду проводить стратсессии в своих компаниях. ЕЩЕ НА ЭТУ ТЕМУ Кевин Келли «Неизбежно»

  2. 4 out of 5

    Denis Vasilev

    Приходит время привыкать к нынешнему китайскому стилю написания книг - напыщенному, многословному, передающему мысли между строк. Есть вкрапления интересных фактов и идей, на фоне длинных пассажей о плоскостях «совместного процветания». Впрочем американские бизнес книги 80х в период расцвета промышленного бизнеса были во многом похожи по риторике. Имеено эта книга - не лучший вариант понять реалии китайского бизнеса

  3. 5 out of 5

    Quintin Zimmermann

    I have ready many books regarding Google, Facebook and Apple, but Smart Business is the first regarding the Chinese behemoth, Alibaba. Smart Business embraces the innovative power of Chinese business which has a distinctly different approach to the West. Much like Google and Amazon, there are similar cutting-edge technologies that are applied within Alibaba's business framework, from highly sophisticated machine-learning algorithms to mobile internet and cloud computing, but Alibaba ethos has a d I have ready many books regarding Google, Facebook and Apple, but Smart Business is the first regarding the Chinese behemoth, Alibaba. Smart Business embraces the innovative power of Chinese business which has a distinctly different approach to the West. Much like Google and Amazon, there are similar cutting-edge technologies that are applied within Alibaba's business framework, from highly sophisticated machine-learning algorithms to mobile internet and cloud computing, but Alibaba ethos has a distinctive Eastern mindset. The peculiar incorporation of Chinese web celebs, the creation of Ant Financial and the flexibility and fortitude to continually engage in risky experimentation in order to remain on the forefront of a rapidly evolving e-commerce market. Imagine Amazon deciding one day to split its entire business into into three independent business units that literally compete against each other. Unimaginable, but that is exactly what Alibaba did in 2011 as an experiment to clarify which model served as the best way forward for e-commerce in China. As interesting as Smart Business was at times, there was a great deal of repetition and certain chapters were much weaker than others. I also felt that Smart Business was divorced from the human element as the focus was primarily on the innerworkings of Alibaba as opposed to exploring the people themselves, their personal struggles and their triumphs as they built a small, modest startup into the global powerhouse that it is today.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marks54

    This is an informed and up-to-date review of the strategies of the Alibaba group written by the former Chief Strategy Officer who currently runs the company business school/university. As a business trade book, this is fairly well done and readable although as an HBS volume, do not expect a gripping style. Alibaba is a huge firm that dominates Chinese E-Commerce. It boast capabilities to handle unheard of scale and scope in its sales and fulfillment activities, of which its Singles Day is a major This is an informed and up-to-date review of the strategies of the Alibaba group written by the former Chief Strategy Officer who currently runs the company business school/university. As a business trade book, this is fairly well done and readable although as an HBS volume, do not expect a gripping style. Alibaba is a huge firm that dominates Chinese E-Commerce. It boast capabilities to handle unheard of scale and scope in its sales and fulfillment activities, of which its Singles Day is a major example. There is lots about Alibaba that can be better understood with various popular frameworks, but the size of the enterprise and the particular history of the Chinese economy place limits on understanding the story well. This is a related problem to attempts to understand Wal-Mart’s particular history in China and its competition in E-Commerce with Amazon. Ming Zeng is an interesting combination of executive and academic/consultant. He was actually trained in the US for his doctorate before joining Alibaba. His particular “punchline” for the story of Alibaba is that the firm’s strategy effectively combines aggressive network coordination along supply channels with substantial and well integrated approaches to using “Big Data” platforms across the firm. Yes, I realize that combining networks and “big data” for a single firm origin story risks joining the business buzzword hall of fame for a while, but for Alibaba, the story rings true and is reasonable as a current account of Jack Ma’s empire. The style is fine and some of the subplots (TaoBao) are especially interesting. There are also lots of references if more reading is desired. The Alibaba websites are also lots of fun. As books on Chinese business strategy go, this is fairly good and worth the effort to read if this is where one’s interest lie.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sebastian Gebski

    Very hard to assess and review properly. On one hand there's plenty of valuable content - regarding business model, strategy, market approach, value generation, even culture. But the form sucks - the book is incredibly "dry", like written by robots. I'd even call it "mechanical". As a result, in my case listening to this audiobook was nothing else than 10 hours long, monotonous monologue that felt like a recording of Amazon Alexa. The fact that the book lacks "human touch" has deeper consequences Very hard to assess and review properly. On one hand there's plenty of valuable content - regarding business model, strategy, market approach, value generation, even culture. But the form sucks - the book is incredibly "dry", like written by robots. I'd even call it "mechanical". As a result, in my case listening to this audiobook was nothing else than 10 hours long, monotonous monologue that felt like a recording of Amazon Alexa. The fact that the book lacks "human touch" has deeper consequences - at moments it felt like propaganda: there were no struggles, no mistakes, no "journey" in search of the answers. Just the disruption, success, scaling and supremacy. In the end I find it an interesting learning experience and a rare oppotunity to learn more about Alibaba, Taobao, etc., but if I had to read it again, I'd probably rather strangle myself instead ...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vadim

    Alibaba сегодня уже не просто китайский аналог Amazon. Это конгломерат, включающий в себя банк, логистическую компанию, облачные сервисы и более 20 других бизнесов. Построенный за 20 лет школьным учителем, он продает больше товаров чем Walmart, хотя персонала в нем в десятки раз меньше. Во многом это заслуга автоматизированных облачных решений, активно использующих искусственный интеллект. Вообщем, нам есть чему поучиться у Джека Ма.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stevo Brock

    This book was Stevo's Business Book of the Week for the week of 9/30, as selected by Stevo's Book Reviews on the Internet. http://forums.delphiforums.com/stevo1 https://amzn.to/2DSQaxl This book was Stevo's Business Book of the Week for the week of 9/30, as selected by Stevo's Book Reviews on the Internet. http://forums.delphiforums.com/stevo1 https://amzn.to/2DSQaxl

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ali

    it was an okay book, mainly about the 2 secret of a smart business

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sỹ Hiếu

    Complicated book both in the writing way and the content. Will need more time to understand

  10. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    For someone like me who is just only starting getting familiar to the nuances of the business world, this book provides a lot of information on how the Chinese behemoth Alibaba works. You will really learn a great deal in terms of the strategies employed by this company to make it successful today. I learned about web celebs who espoused entrepreneurship in modern China and fuel the success of of Taobao. There are so many things to learn in this book that I would certainly buy a copy of this one For someone like me who is just only starting getting familiar to the nuances of the business world, this book provides a lot of information on how the Chinese behemoth Alibaba works. You will really learn a great deal in terms of the strategies employed by this company to make it successful today. I learned about web celebs who espoused entrepreneurship in modern China and fuel the success of of Taobao. There are so many things to learn in this book that I would certainly buy a copy of this one someday and put it on my online bookshelves. Thanks to Netgalley and Harvard Business Review Press for letting me read and post my views on this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rasmus

    It brings up a lot of good points about business and technology for which I find it very interesting - however it suffers from the common problem of overexplaining concepts to boost page numbers. I'd recommend this book for anyone who's interested in business, and technology, and want to see how they can work together to optimize each other. It brings up a lot of good points about business and technology for which I find it very interesting - however it suffers from the common problem of overexplaining concepts to boost page numbers. I'd recommend this book for anyone who's interested in business, and technology, and want to see how they can work together to optimize each other.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Austin Gaghadar

    This book did a great job at highlighting important aspects of strategy in the internet age in a way that was both easy to digest and implement. This was largely facilitated through the connections between more amorphous and general principles and the experience of Alibaba. This structure allowed me to learn a lot more about how the core relevant capabilities could develop in practice as well as shine a direct light on the business practices of Alibaba, a company that I did not previously now mu This book did a great job at highlighting important aspects of strategy in the internet age in a way that was both easy to digest and implement. This was largely facilitated through the connections between more amorphous and general principles and the experience of Alibaba. This structure allowed me to learn a lot more about how the core relevant capabilities could develop in practice as well as shine a direct light on the business practices of Alibaba, a company that I did not previously now much about. Beyond the company itself I appreciated the willingness of the author to engage with and describe all the related businesses and entrepreneurs that have been necessary to enable the company itself to be successful. Finally I felt the book was generally well organized with a clear structure prevalent and well adhered-to throughout. This made it easy to follow the authors line of reasoning and understand the material being presented. The appendices which allowed for reorganization of the information to supplement the main text was also very effective in providing a reference for important background information and context to ground the main text. This book also had a number of limitations that I felt could have been improved upon. In particular while it was useful at times to draw the ideas being discussed back to the main thesis of the importance of network co-ordination and data intelligence the degree of explicit connections made caused the book to seem very repetitive at times. This made it more monotonous and thus detracted from the degree to which I was engaged with the materials. In addition, this book could have touched on some of the limitations of the strategies that were being espoused. Specifically, there could have been more discussion of the shortfalls that are wont to arise when relying on algorithmic decision making. While this was engaged in to some extent through the discussion of the importance of creativity this did not seem sufficient given the high degree to responsibility for algorithms that the book seemed to be advocating for. Overall this provided practical and relevant commentary on new ways of doing business, elucidated a fascinating business and business model in Alibaba and fostered interesting thoughts on the future of business in the internet age. Ideas that I will continue to draw from and become increasingly relevant as technology continues to progress.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Wojtek

    Well, this one is tricky, as Ming Zeng very dangerously dances between stating the obvious while repeating the importance of combining data intelligence and network effects and unveiling the fascinating world of Alibaba to the reader. It took me over two months of reading the book one chapter every couple days - it doesn't read that lightly and could use some editing, but the parts that do are simply fascinating. The book provides many stories, business cases and economic models surrounding the Well, this one is tricky, as Ming Zeng very dangerously dances between stating the obvious while repeating the importance of combining data intelligence and network effects and unveiling the fascinating world of Alibaba to the reader. It took me over two months of reading the book one chapter every couple days - it doesn't read that lightly and could use some editing, but the parts that do are simply fascinating. The book provides many stories, business cases and economic models surrounding the Alibaba Group and its companies, which are simply stunning to a western reader and that's a good enough reason to explore this book. It is a bit repetitive but you will surely enjoy it more than most of the traditional Silicon Valley success story records.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Vinh Khang Nguyen

    The relationship between point (点), line (线), side (面) and body (体). Numerous points form a line, numerous line form a side, and numerous sides form a body. The books share how Alibaba is now a body that is contributed by a various points, and this whole body also grants the power for its points. Key learning : if a point chooses the body wrong, no matter how much effort it put in, it won't be as successful as just a normal point choosing the right body. The relationship between point (点), line (线), side (面) and body (体). Numerous points form a line, numerous line form a side, and numerous sides form a body. The books share how Alibaba is now a body that is contributed by a various points, and this whole body also grants the power for its points. Key learning : if a point chooses the body wrong, no matter how much effort it put in, it won't be as successful as just a normal point choosing the right body.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Xiang Yang Ng

    A great book that tells the story of the rise of one of the most innovative tech companies in the world: Alibaba. To be honest this book is technically like the book by Eric Schmidt on Google’s success. So does that mean that successful internet companies all follow similar cultures and ways of doing business? Apparently, yes.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alvin Soh

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Smart business = Network Coordination + Data Inteligence. Automating Decisions = Datafy, Software, API, Live data, Machine Learning C to B business model = Enhanced demand pull model Positioning in the new world = Point (niche), line (differentiation), or plane (cost efficiency)? Agility and learning in running smart business.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Easy-to-read view into the Alibaba companies and the growth of e-commerce in China written by their chief strategy officer. Definitely gives a sense of one possible future for the rest of the world, especially with the rise in power of social media influencers. Other countries and companies have some catching up to do.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Zombie

    Step by step guide to set up a modern day internet (and others too) business. He talks about how business should be build around 'Network Coordination' and 'Data Intelligence'. Amazing read on Alibaba. Writer has an academic, text-book type approach throughout the book. Step by step guide to set up a modern day internet (and others too) business. He talks about how business should be build around 'Network Coordination' and 'Data Intelligence'. Amazing read on Alibaba. Writer has an academic, text-book type approach throughout the book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Martin Au

    Must read: if you want to understand innovation and strategy in the east

  20. 5 out of 5

    Francisco Prado

    Livro muito bem escrito, de fácil compreensão e essencial para quem está no mercado e precisa garantir a empregabilidade.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Very insightful for both a good look at China's business culture to the amazing story of Alibaba and its affiliated companies to a perspective on a network business and the principles that entails. Very insightful for both a good look at China's business culture to the amazing story of Alibaba and its affiliated companies to a perspective on a network business and the principles that entails.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nahian Iftekhar

    An insightful book that describes the progress of Alibaba's transformation from a small business to a retail behemoth. An insightful book that describes the progress of Alibaba's transformation from a small business to a retail behemoth.

  23. 4 out of 5

    ΔRT

    Book of the year.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Book Chui

    Best book I have read this year. Read some books with similar themes but this is the only one that put it in an applicable framework.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Davide

    The book tries to explain how, owing to recent technology advances, a new theory of value creation can be defined, developed and implemented. This new strategic view diverge from traditional strategic approach. The key concepts presented in this book are network coordination and machine learning and they have to be applied to be competitive. To better clarify the theory, the authr provided several examples: the story of Alibaba (througout the whole book), web celeb, ...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Richard

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jm

  28. 4 out of 5

    Orla Eastwood

  29. 5 out of 5

    M D

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tim

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