Crowd Surfing

Not satisfied that blogging, twittering and facebooking were getting enough of my view across I am inflicting upon the world a book. Crowd Surfing, surviving and thriving in the age of consumer empowerment, is published by A&C Black, a division of Bloomsbury, on September 25th. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon (at an alarmingly discounted price already). I wrote it with an old mate and ex PR and brand/channel planner type, Martin Thomas, and the blurb on the back says:

Welcome to the world of the crowd surfer: a world in which a new generation of business and political leaders have learned how to harness the energy, ideas and enthusiasm of today’s empowered consumers. Crowd surfers have been smart enough to recognise that people all over the world – emboldened by a new spirit of enquiry and self expression, and powered by the internet – have changed the rules of the game. They realise that surrendering complete control, by giving their customer, partners and employees a greater say in the way that their organisation’s operate, is actually the most effective way to manage their destiny.

In Crowd Surfing, Martin Thomas and David Brain explore the lessons we can all learn from the corporate and political surfers, including Barack Obama’s campaign for the Democratic Party nomination in the US presidential election, why Dell went to hell and back before learning how to embrace the crowd, and why a Blue Monster has come to symbolise Microsoft’s new spirit of openness. They also analyse the leadership skills required in this new era of participation and dialogue and ask what these changes mean for marketers and managers everywhere.

There is a blog inevitably, that we will both contribute to, but mainly Martin as I have this one. Some of the examples will be familiar and some will be new, but most come from original interviews with those involved and we were most keen to look at how big organisations that are basically structured to command and control cope with having to surrender some of that command and control to the crowd. We were more interested in the organisations and the people inside the organisations than the bloggers and activists and empowered consumers as much has already been written on them.

It’s an odd thing writing a book if you have not tried it. The phrase; “I write so I know what to think” (AJP Taylor I believe) is apposite we discovered. And of course a book is so quintessentially ‘old media’ it seems an odd method of delivery when your subject matter is so intimately bound up in the new digital ways of communicating and ‘dialoguing’. We finished the writing in March and so agonise now that content is getting older and new examples appear daily and the thing is not published until end of September. But such is the publishing world it seems. The idea came out of presentation we made to an Edelman group in April last year that we then hocked around a few publishers here and in New York more in hope than in expectation. We’re still slightly puzzled that Bloomsbury / AC Black thought it worth a punt and so here we are now introducing it, or the idea of it, to you. I will be shamelessly plugging it in the weeks to come I warn you.

[tags] Crowd Surfing, Martin Thomas, A&C Black, Bloomsbury, Books on Social Media [/tags]

Categories Technology

13 thoughts on “Crowd Surfing

  1. Congrats & will there be a book tour? 🙂


  2. Look forward to reading it!


  3. Great stuff Mate!
    Hey, is there a section on the greatest football team and stand the world has ever seen?
    The Kop at Anfield is all about innovation and crowd support of a leading brand!


  4. Suki…ha ha and signings of course, yes!
    Stephen . . see what you started mate.
    Mark….much reference to your work in it you will notice.
    Adam. Damn, knew I missed something. Apologies.


  5. Definitely looking forward to reading this. Just finishing Microtrends at the moment.


  6. Stuart I thought Microtrends was v useful . . .


  7. good stuff! we will have to get you to come to vccp towers and do a book talk!



  8. Congratulations on getting published I hope it sells well as it does sound interesting.


  9. Hey David! Wowsers – a book as well! Look forward to reading that one!


  10. Congrats on the book…where did you get the bloody time?! Anyway, looking forward to reading it.



  11. Congratulations David, and Martin too, it certainly does sound interesting. I think it is a great thrill being able to write a book – and a great endorsement of your product. I have one up my sleeve too, and have been commissioned by a publisher to write 80,000 words by Xmas. I’m hoping for a miracle…


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