A big idea non-fiction book by an impatient three-time author and insomniac willing to bet on himself.
Check out the near-final cover here.
Project Background: Updated 08.04.11
I have completed the manuscript for my fourth book, The Age of the Platform. I believe that it's my best book so far and want to bring it to the masses. I also believe that I have written an important book that can help many people and companies in many ways. I just can't wait to get it out there.
Also, on a personal level, the sense of accomplishment that I feel when I hold one of my books in my hands is indescribable. So, what's the problem?
Traditional publishers have told me that they can "fast-track" the book for release in March or April of 2012. (It pains me to write these words.)
Publishing Challenges: A Broken Model
Waiting more than nine months might be fine if I were writing a book about the history of Las Vegas from 1970-1980 or some type of novel. But I'm not. I'm writing about things that are changing on a daily basis. More than ever, speed counts.
Plus, although I don't believe that anyone has published a book like this one, I'm hardly the only person noticing what's going on in the world today. Companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are constantly in the news. I would be astonished if other books aren't being written about the same theme and topics right now. Waiting upwards of a year maximizes the chance that The Age of the Platform is a "me-too" book.
I just won't let that happen.
And let's not forget that many traditional publishers are struggling to survive these days. I have spoken with authors who have had their books delayed or cancelled months after signing papers simply because the publisher couldn't make good on their promises. It's a legitimate risk, and I shudder to think about that happening to me.
Finally, I have a very clear vision for this book. (That's one reason that it took me only a little over two months to write the manuscript.) I know from personal experience that, when you write for traditional publishers, they own the material and have final cut. They decide things like:
- Book pricing
- Release date
- Editorial content
- Marketing efforts
This doesn't mean that I'm not a happy collaborator. I am. I want my editor to challenge me and make this book as good as it can be. At the same time, though, I wouldn't want the message of The Age of the Platform to be altered or diluted. Nor would I want the book to be priced at a number so high that no one will read it. That happened to me once before. Live and learn.
Brass tacks: I have what I believe to be an important statement to make with this book--and I'm very determined to make it on my own terms.
Solutions: When Whining is Not an Option
What to do?
"If there is no wind, row."
I've decided to take matters into my own hands. In his inspirational book Poke the Box, Seth Godin writes about the tyranny of being chosen. That stuck with me. Why not put your fate in your own hands? I don't have a good answer to that question, so I am choosing myself.
I am once again turning to Kickstarter to raise funds and awareness. I want to publish a high-quality book out in weeks, not months. With your help, I can do this.
What makes me think that I can do this?
Simple: It worked for me quite well last time.
How are you going to spend the money?
- A professional editor who has done more than 100 books. She rocks.
- A professional indexer.
- A professional cover designer.
- A production expert for the interiors of the book.
- A professional proofreader.
- A book trailer like the one for The New Small.
- A proper web developer for the book's site. It will ultimately look a bit like the one for The New Small.
It's really important to use good people--and good people aren't cheap.
In the interest of full disclosure, here's some more information on my costs. Copyright registration with the US Library of Congress and other administrative expenses also add up. I'll also be spending some money on press releases and general marketing.
Note that I put many other answers in the FAQ.
Sample Text from Manuscript
Here's a sample from the book's introduction.
“At electric speed, all forms are pushed to the limits of their potential.”
Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are growing at unprecedented rates and generating billions of dollars in revenue. They are the envy of many companies, both big and small.
Of course, you may already have known this. If you’re like me, then one natural question comes to mind: How are they routinely pulling this off?
At a high level, The Gang of Four is doing what top management gurus have been espousing for years. Specifically, they are embracing intelligent risk. They aren’t afraid of failure, experimentation, and change. Innovation depends upon this type of mentality. At least in part, each company has moved away from its original and core business model—often multiple times. They are sprouting in different and unexpected directions: horizontally, vertically, and even diagonally. They have entered new markets and, in some cases, created markets where none had previously existed.
That’s one explanation—and there is certainly more than a grain of truth to it. But it’s actually not the underlying reason for the massive and sustained success of these companies. Rather, they are winning (to use Charlie Sheen’s now infamous term) because they are following an entirely new blueprint and business model. They have spent a great deal of time and money building extremely powerful and valuable ecosystems, partnerships, and communities. This new model hinges upon powerful ecosystems that, in turn, fuel astounding levels of innovation, profits, and growth. In the understated words of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt at the 2011 D9 Conference, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google “are exploiting platform strategies really well.”
To be sure, these four companies today have built very powerful platforms. However, they are certainly not the only ones that have embraced the platform as their business model. Thousands of companies have either:
- Built their own platforms.
- Created valuable planks that complement existing platforms.
- Modified their business models to incorporate platforms.
- Served as partners to existing platforms.
Welcome to The Age of the Platform.
Thank you for checking out the project and your potential contribution.
Funny you should ask. The book is an entirely new model of doing business: the platform. Companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have built very robust and vibrant ecosystems--embracing partners and different users in extremely innovative ways. The book also provides many tips and examples on how to build your own platform.
Around 250, give or take.
I have submitted my manuscript to my editor. The book will contain 12 chapters.
Mitch Joel of Twist Image and author of http://www.amazon.com/Six-Pixels-Separation-Connected-Everyone/dp/0446548227/ref=sr_1_1… has agreed to write the foreword.
Yes, but the quickest way to get the book is to back it. After the book is published, it usually takes about two weeks to submit to sites like Amazon.com and bn.com. The e-book version will come a few weeks after that.
No. The current cover image is just a mockup for now. I'll be soliciting input and feedback from projects backers about subjects like this. By backing the project, you'll be able to contribute to the formation of the book. I am set with the title, though, and will be using some of the funds to build http://www.theageoftheplatform.com. I already registered the domain.
This time last year, I created my own publishing company, http://www.motionpub.com to publish my third book. It turned out really well and, at the risk of being immodest, received quite a few compliments on the book's production, design, and cover.
Good question. I am hiring a proper web developer for the book's site. I am also paying for a professional editor, cover designer, production person, and proofreader. Copyright registration with the US Library of Congress and other administrative costs also add up. I'll also be spending some money on press releases and general marketing.
Yes, but I honestly don't need them. After a few conversations, it became obvious to me that I should run the book through my own company like I did with my third book. The Age of the Platform will be out much sooner this way. Given the book's topical subject matter, time is of the essence.
In the book, I contend that companies of all sizes (from solopreneurs to Fortune 500 companies--and all in between) stand to benefit from embracing this notion of a platform. Partnerships, communities, and ecosystems matter now more than ever.
To my knowledge, no book looks at the platform as a new, critically important business model. I am unaware of any book that examined Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google--and other emerging platforms like Foursquare, Twitter, and LinkedIn from this standpoint.
This is a management text, not a technical one. Yes, technology matters, but there's no software code in the book. No confusing diagrams or jargon. This is a straight-ahead business book.
Far from it. I'm big on humor where appropriate. Some of the quotes in the book are from Voltaire, Mark Twain, Joel Coen, Bob Dylan, Gordon Gekko (ok, he's not a real person), and Bugs Bunny (ok, he's really not a person). Beyond quotes, I believe in using interesting examples that illustrate my points. I can't stand reading preachy books and wouldn't want to write one. I prefer to show, not tell.
5.5" x 8.5" paperback.
In a word, no. Building an effective platform today certainly involves different planks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the like. But The Age of the Platform is about so much more. At the risk of being immodest, I think that the book is similar to The Long Tail by Chris Anderson in the sense that it's about a fundamentally different way of doing business.
I am targeting late September of 2011 or early October. I am very passionate about this project and am working hard to get it out as soon as possible. That's one of the benefits of circumventing traditional publishers.
Yes. The band is back together. Call it Team Simon. I have my editor, proofreader, cover person, and all of the other resources in place. The book is going to look fantastic.