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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.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
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.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to The Starfish and the Spider again? Why?
Yes, great stories and a wonderful metaphor of how a non-led organisation can change the world...
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Starfish and the Spider?
Cut of the spider's head it dies... cut the starfish in two... you get two starfishes
What does Sean Pratt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
Yes, very well 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.