Foreword for E-Volve-or-Die.com
September 25, 2000
Rob Wrubel, CEO, Ask Jeeves, Inc.
the last decade, business has adopted the mantra of putting customers at the center
of everything we do. But the Internet has challenged us to live up to this pledge
in ways that we never expected. Today, we're closer to our customers than we've
ever been before: we have the opportunity to listen to and know them with an immediacy
that was unimaginable only a few years ago.
managers may find themselves thinking of the old adage to be careful what you
E-Commerce leaders, however,
will recognize a vast opportunity to rethink and reorganize how they respond to
changing customer needs and expectations. We've seen, for example, that some of
the greatest opportunities appear in less-than-obvious places. Dell completely
reinvented the supply chain model and came out of nowhere to conquer the giants
of computer manufacturing. eBay stitched together an international marketplace
from the totally improbable fabric of garage sales and swap meets. And at Ask
Jeeves, we looked at the Internet's phenomenal store of information and decided
to make it accessible to anyone who had a question. By leveraging what we discovered
about people's concerns and needs, we expanded into a service helping companies
listen to and learn from the questions their customers ask.
business mantra may be that all the rules have changed. Like a lot of slogans,
this saying contains an important element of truth. But the most successful companies
in the Internet age will balance a rapid adaptation to change with a solid commitment
to core values. Revolutionary rethinking has to be backed up with careful planning
and flawless execution. And, yes, the customer should be at the center of our
offices, our supply chains, our product design and marketing sessions, our board
meetings, and our Web sites.
In this demanding
and exhilarating environment, Mitchell Levy's book offers valuable, practical
steps to understanding how to build and manage an e-commerce company.