Review: What the Plus

Guy Kawasaki starts out What the Plus (his new ebook) with what may be a crucial question: is Google+ the next Facebook or the next MySpace? He’s betting that it will follow along Facebook’s path rather than pulling defeat out of the jaws of victory, the way MySpace managed to.

I agree. Google+ has the potential to grow. (Disclosure: not only do I run my business on Google’s products, but I’m also married to a Google employee.) It’s got baked in integration with the rest of the world — something that Facebook is still working hard to achieve. This is an astronomical opportunity for anyone willing to take hold with both hands.

The Handbook to Google+

Part of the corporate culture at Google is a drive to build tools that don’t need manuals. That’s one of the reasons the search engine is a mostly white page with just two control buttons. But the reality falls a little short of the ideal. A bunch of software engineers may not need a manual to access the full potential of Google Docs, but the rest of us do.

What the Plus is one of several recent books meant to fill that niche. Consider it a jump start: if you don’t know anything about Google+ today, you can know it pretty well by tomorrow if you read this ebook. But while the first couple of chapters may feel skippable if you’ve been using Google+ for a while, I’d actually recommend at least skimming them. I picked up a few details that I hadn’t found by clicking buttons randomly on the site (my usual learning method).

Kawasaki even ratchets up what could be boring instructions with details he’s picked up in his own experiences — like what kinds of photos make you more approachable on a social network like Google+.

Google+ with Goals in Mind

If you aren’t familiar with Kawasaki, it’s probably worth mentioning at this point that he writes a lot about business. What the Plus isn’t any different. Sure, anyone interested in using Google+ in general will find the ebook useful, but It’s slanted a little more towards people who aren’t just interested in the social aspect. While Kawasaki isn’t overwhelming about it, What the Plus has advice specifically for marketers and business owners. It’s business at a conceptual level — he’s not advocating that you ‘ALWAYS BE CLOSING’ on Google+ — but there’s discussion on how to establish yourself as an expert, build new connections and so on.

I could be described as something of a Guy Kawasaki fan girl. I reviewed his last book, Enchantment, last year. It was a warm review and it actually led directly to me getting a review copy of What the Plus. But set aside my fondness for Mr. Kawasaki and focus on what this review actually says.


  1. Caroline Leopold   •  

    I have enjoyed the fervent debates about Google + and it’s future. There is some skepticism among those of us who jumped aboard Google Wave, only to have it crash into the sand. With the word and debates about CISPA, I am heartened that Google isn’t about to sell out our privacy. I am a devotee of Google products (especially Chrome and my Droid), but I’m weary of Google. I am ready to diversify. Zoho is winning me over with their free CRM and other services & I am hoping that Diaspora takes off. I don’t want to be an adopter of Google+ when I don’t enjoy the experience. And so far, I don’t enjoy it at all.

    • thursday   •     Author

      That’s a fair assessment, Caroline. I’m generally a fan of Google+ so far, but I’d love to see Diaspora become successful. My main concern for Diaspora right now is that it’s not going to be an effective marketing tool for the sort of business I want to attract. It may certainly evolve, but as it currently exists, I just can’t see the same user base showing up. I expect that I might use it for my own enjoyment, while relying on tools like Google+ and Twitter for business.

  2. Shelley   •  

    And yet the late-night comedians are making jokes about google plus (?)
    But maybe that’s a good thing….

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