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Digital Darwinism: Survival of the Fittest in the Age of Business Disruption

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The world today seems more complex than ever.

Change is happening faster than ever and the pace is accelerating.The lifespan of companies decreasing and the list of case studies of those that failed to adapt grows longer by the week.

Life seems more unpredictable than ever, we face a growing abundance of data to process, more decisions to make and new technologies that promise to be the next big thing.

In this book Tom Goodwin aims to provide CEO's and Business Executives across all industries with leadership through change.

A guiding hand through through the turbulence of the moment, a way to reimagine business and products leveraging the profound new opportunities that new technology, new behaviors and new thinking allow.

This is a practical guide, drawing on the past, with clear actionable steps on how leaders for the future can thrive today and tomorrow.

Published January 1, 2018

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Tom Goodwin

8 books16 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 37 reviews
Profile Image for Vanessa Princessa.
606 reviews56 followers
November 13, 2019
I read this book thanks to Blinkist.

The key message in these blinks:

Digital darwinism isn’t about being the strongest or wealthiest business. It’s about being agile and capable of quickly adapting to the changing global marketplace. Companies can stay ahead of the pack by putting innovation and a willingness to change at the core of their business plan. They can also concentrate on looking beyond accepted parameters toward new ways of doing things and helping people to live in the digital era in a more seamless way. 

Actionable advice:

Create new forms of value.

Often, when visiting his parents, the author is willing to take a slower train ride because it offers reliable wi-fi and plenty of places to plug in his devices. By providing these services, the train line created a new form of value by embracing the digital age. In other ways, businesses can create value by saving the customer time and effort, whether it’s a bank that stores all of a customer’s receipts digitally or an app that lets you skip the long checkout line at a store. So start thinking about how your business can create new forms of value for customers by being more integrated with the digital era and your customers’ needs.   

What to read next:

On the Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin

You’ve probably heard the term “Darwinism” before, and now you’ve heard it applied to the business world. But how familiar are you with the text that first brought the idea of Darwinism to the world? On the Origin of Species is a classic that forever changed the way people look at the natural world.

Darwinism is about more than just “survival of the fittest,” and there’s no better way to understand the principles of adaptation and evolution than to go to the source and discover the ideas of Charles Darwin himself.
April 8, 2018
Tom is well known in the world of marketing and advertising. I, like many others, have been continuously inspired by his posts, talks, and articles. Digital Darwinism is the culmination of years if not decades of enlightened thinking, questioning and learning; distilled into a single masterpiece. This book is a work of outstanding craft, skill, and creativity. A celebration of new thinking! At the very outset, it poses arguably the most important business question of all: What would your business look like if it was created today? The rest of the book answers: What can you do to get to that place? Perhaps most surprising of all, the book is backed by rigorous research, statistics and real-world case studies.

At its very heart, Digital Darwinism exposes the difference between superficial "Innovation" focused on appearance and true disruption which can often be a painful but necessary process. The book introduces the concept of a Paradigm Leap: a new way of thinking which completely changes the game through re-imagination. Tom uses examples of scientific revolution including transport, energy, and currency to prove his point that true disruption occurs when we have new and radical ways of thinking rather than incremental change. In fact, it's companies with no experience or legacy who are best placed to imagine new possibilities; just like Amazon and Tesla have done. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to flourish in this new digital age!
Profile Image for Boni Aditya.
303 reviews886 followers
May 6, 2019
The author was able to analyze the adoption stages of new technologies and his examples of electricity followed by internet and how we try to get progressively incremental with technologies instead of trying to take a sharp jump has been captured very well with incredible examples. There is definitely some value addition done through this book and it explained very well about the advantages that startup that begin from scratch have over the big whale MNCs that fail to shake off their clout of experience and re-imagine products with a fresh perspective. The authors take on innovation in big companies i.e. the name sake show off innovation facilities, placed there to impress people rather than produce anything worth while, is precisely right. The requirement for an innovation officer is an oxymoron because innovation does not happen in silos, it ought to happen everywhere. The book is well written and well edited. But, towards the end the book became kind of chiche! Because that is where the author starts predicting the future. He considered four skills paramount i.e. Curiosity, Creativity, Emotions (Empathy), Networking (Relationships) - which the author believes are going to be relevant for many centuries. The author considers that he does not really need to code - because in the future, code will start writing its own code. The author also considers learning Chinese, not a wise idea since, Google Translate. This is where the book has lost its lusture. I am not sure if computers can ever produce code that would write its own code. That is an extremely dangerous barrier to cross, once that happens, the AI starts becoming conscious and can outpace development and growth exponentially. A machines that produces more machines begins with a thought that can build more thoughts i.e. an algorithm that can produce more algorithms without any human intervention! That would be a few minutes before Singularity i.e. a algorithm that can write another Algorithm will obviously create another algorithm that can produce more algorithms, thus in a few minutes the algorithms would expand exponentially, over crowding the computational space, searching for any and every space that they can hijack. That is where they will start becoming conscious and start producing their own digital space i.e. silicon wafers where than can reside. What the author fails to understand is that code that can write code, is an inflection point, i.e. such an intelligent code would wipe out 99% of earth's population. Thus not learning code because some day code will start producing code is funny! Similarly Google Translate is no where near perfection, forget about perfection, it can't properly translate sentence with more than 10 words. That is because the number of permutations and combinations of a word being placed in a different location with respect to other words determines its meaning and the combinations become a very huge number for each sentence. Not just that, the sound that I produce with a TTS reader does not understand, when to pause and when to speed up or how to change intonation of the words. i.e. it does not understand the meaning of the sentence of a whole, it could only speak it out loud, one or two words at a time. It cannot exclaim or it cannot ask a question! It can only robotically read one or two words at a time. Thus not learning a new language because someday Google Translate will be able to speak/translate the language in real time, isn't wise.
Profile Image for Kym Hamer.
815 reviews35 followers
April 5, 2020
"Digital isn't a thing, it's everything."

This quote sums up the fundamental principle behind Tom Goodwin's book: that we're not 'going' digital, we ARE digital. In Digital Darwinism Goodwin pulls aside the curtain to examine where we are and why, offering a cross section of provocation, controversy, admonishment and hope about developing our modern society into a population that is resilient, happy and fit-for-the-future.
Adding tech at the fringes is not the answer he says, but playing well with each other is. Inspiring, thought-provoking and a great opportunity to reflect and to consider what disruption and crisis can teach us. 5-stars.
Profile Image for Michael Tenev.
47 reviews1 follower
November 12, 2019
Digital darwinism isn’t about being the strongest or wealthiest business. It’s about being agile and capable of quickly adapting to the changing global marketplace. Companies can stay ahead of the pack by putting innovation and a willingness to change at the core of their business plan. They can also concentrate on looking beyond accepted parameters toward new ways of doing things and helping people to live in the digital era in a more seamless way.
181 reviews3 followers
April 4, 2018
An informative and entertaining look at at how businesses need to adapt to face the future. Tom Goodwin does three things that I love: He knows his history, and draws on this knowledge to explain how technology is changing the world. He backs up his ideas with lots of stats, and provides sources. He loves examples, and illustrates his points using companies as diverse as Mondo, Lemonade, Dropbox, BMW and Tesco. Finally, he doesn’t believe the hype, and calls out bad customer experiences and naff marketing stunts.
It’s a very dense 200 pages and it should sell incredibly well; All killer, no filler.
Profile Image for Tim Hughes.
Author 3 books55 followers
April 29, 2018
I've read a number of books on Digital Disruption and Digital Transformation and Tom's is probably the best. Please note this is a "why" and not a "how" book.

Tom's book takes us back to the beginning of the last industrial revolution in terms of the introduction of electricity and draws a parallel with the way digital is being / or isn't being adopted. Certainly we can learn from the past to predict the future. How people want to digitise analogue things rather than develop from scratch. Also how many people struggle to understand or create a business case for change.

If you are in the business of digital and digital transformation, it's worth a read.
Profile Image for Walter Adamson.
61 reviews6 followers
December 29, 2018
Digital Darwinism by Tom Goodwin is pleasantly irreverent and cuts to the point on the half-baked experiences that are daily thrust upon us under the guise of digital disruption. In the midst of enormous excitement and potential, organisations continue to serve us up digital fluff which executives sport as campaign medals to their bedazzled Boards of Directors (just back from their Silicon Valley bootcamp). Make this one your business bible for 2019.
Profile Image for Aya.
26 reviews5 followers
August 29, 2020
I just wish it was less repetitive. I was excited by the ideas he presented but found no depth.
Profile Image for BCS.
218 reviews27 followers
July 25, 2018
Digital Darwinism is the first book to be written by Tom Goodwin. The author already has something of a reputation as an industry provocateur, social media blogger and marketing guru. Some might even go so far as to describe him as an evangelist (in the non-religious sense).

The key premise of the book is that most companies have evolved slowly over a long period of time and that this traditional growth model no longer works in the 21st century.

New companies (including, for example: Uber and Airbnb) have managed to grow at a phenomenal rate by utilising new technology, but with little or no investment in physical assets.

The lessons for business owners are stark - “...those with key roles in business face two choices: manage the decline or rebuild and prosper”.

The book is split into three sections - the past, present and future.

The past examines the pre-digital age.

The present covers digital transformation, disruption and business dynamics.

The future looks at how and what companies need to do to survive in the new world.

Yes it’s a controversial publication, and as the author alludes to in the preface of the book “It is deliberately irritating, because ...we need to challenge conventional thinking...”.

So, like marmite, you will either love this book or hate it. Your reviewer fell into the former camp, as evidenced by the top rating.

Because of the thought-provoking content, it should be mandatory reading for all directors, managers and employees. Students and aspiring entrepreneurs will also find the material useful.

The style of the book has a faintly “bloggy” feel to it, perhaps because the author does most of his writing in the blogosphere.

The book is just over 200 pages, and there is a reference section at the end of each chapter, but no overall index at the end of the book.

At £12-14, this publication represents good value.

Review by Mike Rees MBCS CITP, IT Consultant
Originally published: https://www.bcs.org/content/conWebDoc...
Profile Image for Andy.
5 reviews2 followers
April 20, 2018
I have limited space to write this review, so I will start by saying this is most important business book you will read in 2018. Digital Darwinism is readable. Tom Goodwin cuts through the hubris, hyperbole, buzzwords, and conventional wisdom. He uses straight talk and concrete examples about surviving and thriving in the age of disruption. This book is about shifting paradigms. Reading it is a significant emotional event.

This book is written with humility and humanity as it provides insight and ideas without any pontification. There aren’t many business books that keep you on the edge of your chair. I was riveted and had difficulty putting it down.

Tom Goodwin is successful at peeling back the layers of the onion (a metaphor he uses) to explain complex concepts. He shakes the kaleidoscope and gets the world we live in to come into focus. He paints an artist’s conception of what the future might look like. I admire his reticence about looking ahead. He says we’re not very good at predicting the future. He shares great examples that proves that thesis. He then takes a risk and shares his ideas about the future.

I believe that most important part of this book is Tom Goodwin’s focus on people, creativity and the importance of empathy. I can’t think of a single business/technology book written in the last 20 years that discusses empathy. I found this section validating and reading it is emotionally motivating. This section should not be overlooked by you, the reader.

I’m not sure if Tom Goodwin set out to write a book that is inspirational. You would have to ask him. I was amazed and delighted by it. I found Digital Darwinism illuminating, inspirational, and empowering. I think you will find it valuable, too.
Profile Image for Synthia Salomon.
640 reviews13 followers
November 12, 2019
The world of business has changed. Now it’s mostly about convenience for customers... “strongest or wealthiest business. It’s about being agile and capable of quickly adapting to the changing global marketplace. Companies can stay ahead of the pack by putting innovation and a willingness to change at the core of their business plan. They can also concentrate on looking beyond accepted parameters toward new ways of doing things and helping people to live in the digital era in a more seamless way. 
Actionable advice:
Create new forms of value.
Often, when visiting his parents, the author is willing to take a slower train ride because it offers reliable wi-fi and plenty of places to plug in his devices. By providing these services, the train line created a new form of value by embracing the digital age. In other ways, businesses can create value by saving the customer time and effort, whether it’s a bank that stores all of a customer’s receipts digitally or an app that lets you skip the long checkout line at a store. So start thinking about how your business can create new forms of value for customers by being more integrated with the digital era and your customers’ needs.”
298 reviews1 follower
May 6, 2020
Değişmeyen, dijital dönüşüme ayak uyduramayan firmalar yok olacaklar. Darwin'e göre en güçlü, en akıllı olanlar değil değişime en çok adapte olanlar, evrilebilenler ayakta kaldı. Dijital dönüşümün merkezinde müşteri vardır. Mühim olan ürünümüzü müşteriye satmak değil, müşterinin ürünümüzü almasını sağlamaktır. Dijital dönüşüm sadece dijitalleşme değildir. Alpler'de kayak tatili veya bir ütü satın aldıktan sonra önüme hala benzer reklamların geliyor olması dijitalleşmeye bir örnek; ancak artık uzunca bir süre bunlara ihtiyacımın olmayacağını analiz ederek bu tür reklamları benim önüme çıkmamasını sağlamayı ise dijital dönüşüme örnek olarak verebiliriz. Heves olan ile dönüşüm olanı ayırdedebilmeliyiz. Öz-yıkım, kendini sürekli baştan yaratma, ölçülü adımlar ve start-up satın almaları olarak değişimi dört farklı şekilde görebiliriz. Müşteri deneyimi çok önemlidir. Teknolojiye değil insana, yazılıma değil etik ve ahlaka öncelik vermeliyiz. Akıl, değer bilme, yaratıcılık ve empati biz insanları teknolojiden daha üstün yapacak unsurlar.
Profile Image for Antonio.
67 reviews2 followers
August 13, 2019
Este libro contextualiza el mundo digital (aunque ya con un par de años) haciendo comparativas de tecnologías del pasado, como la adopción de la electricidad y como esta idea principal de que la tecnología cambia los parámetros para el éxito de los negocios. Me parece acertada la comparativa de como se han ido desensibilizando las personas, perdiendo mucha empatía y atención personalizada en la automatización de procesos digitales y como estos valores adquieren un nuevo significado, convirtiéndose en herramientas que pueden ser factores diferenciadores ahora y a futuro. No esperes una receta secreta o formulas precisas de la era y negocios digitales, simplemente es un panorama general del tema.
Profile Image for Lee.
180 reviews15 followers
March 1, 2018
I received an advance copy in return for an honest review.

In summary, this book is an enjoyable read. The author collates an excellent collection of viewpoints and presents them in an interesting way. Unfortunately, based on the title of the book, it will probably only be read by those who have a real interest in the topic (through job role) and those will likely know most of the information contained in the book. The book is good reading for all mid level management and not just those with an IT or Digital role. Perhaps a different title would have been beneficial.
Profile Image for Atila Santos.
130 reviews4 followers
December 8, 2020
Excelente leitura para falarmos de transformação digital, reinvenção de negócios, novos paradigmas de inovação. O autor explora suas teorias apoiadas em números e nas mudanças históricas dos mercados. Não se trata de mais tecnologia, não se trata novas interfaces, não se trata somente da desintermediação. Estamos falando mesmo de novos conceitos e experiências. Geração de valor que deve ser constantemente avaliada e renovada.
Ele cita quatro aptidões primordiais: curiosidade, criatividade, empatia, relações (pessoas), segundo o mesmo, farão diferença nos profissionais por muito tempo.
Profile Image for Jeff Parry.
128 reviews
July 16, 2018
Great Read

I have been waiting for this book, as I follow Tom on LinkedIn and love his outlook. He provokes us to thing about what we can do better and how we can improve, both ourselves and customer experiences. This doesn't set out to answer what will happen but to start the discussions and set people thinking.

This is well written, humorous, thought provoking and communicates clearly. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Ivaylo Durmonski.
148 reviews33 followers
June 21, 2018
Nowadays going digital isn't a choice, is a necessity if you want to be up to speed with what is happening in the world. Tom Goodwin helps us see how the future might look like and gives ideas about how to tweak our business, and life, in order to stay competitive in this world of constant progress. I was amazed by the facts shared in the book Digital Darwinism. See more in my detailed review: https://corehustle.com/digital-darwin...
Profile Image for Ko Matsuo.
527 reviews2 followers
May 21, 2019
I’m a big fan of Tom Goodwin’s articles. His way of articulating how the technology world is changing is second to none. The book is somewhat different from his usual writing. The first 3rd of the book highlights historically why change takes time and lays the foundation for the 2nd half of the book, which culminates with Goodwin’s paradigm shift framework which is very helpful. The last 3rd of the book highlights patience and empathy as key characteristics for future success.

Many insights brought up in the book are not new. However they are weaved together in a helpful narrative.
Profile Image for Juan Castro.
160 reviews3 followers
December 26, 2020
Digital darwinism isn’t about being the strongest or wealthiest business. It’s about being agile and capable of quickly adapting to the changing global marketplace. Companies can stay ahead of the pack by putting innovation and a willingness to change at the core of their business plan. They can also concentrate on looking beyond accepted parameters toward new ways of doing things and helping people to live in the digital era in a more seamless way. 
17 reviews
June 1, 2020
Nice to read. I liked the parts about the history of technological shifts and how they took far longer then we think and what this means for our current digital world. A lot of great quotes can be pulled from this book. But he last section about the future and how to handle it felt half-hearted and filled with platitudes.
Profile Image for Neil Krikul.
23 reviews
October 24, 2021
The content and ideas in this book are great but I find that they will become outdated as the time goes by, especially after 2020 when we saw the exponential growth in the digital disruption. So because I read this in 2021, it didn’t really give me much to think about compared to if I were to read it when it came out.
Profile Image for Felipe CZ.
514 reviews33 followers
November 14, 2019
Insights on what focus should be for business to succeed nowadays. Companies have to be agile and adapt to changing marketplaces, by innovating and concentrate on looking beyond the usual parameters to face the digital era.
Profile Image for Banda Mann Singh Lamba.
4 reviews1 follower
January 14, 2022
An interesting book that, even though was written in 2018, is very relevant to today.

Full of insights on what digital has brought about, how we’re underutilising its potential and perhaps what we can expect in the future.

Profile Image for Vicky.
875 reviews34 followers
September 3, 2018
This was an overwhelmingly important book that I want to recommend to many. Regardless where we work or what we do, this is an important insight into the future that is already happening right now.
Profile Image for Dominik.
44 reviews38 followers
November 12, 2019
Nie była to dla mnie bardzo odkrywcza lektura, ale uważam że prezentuje i tak bardziej realistyczne i wnikliwe podejście do tego, jak zachodzi technologiczna zmiana. Dlatego daje 4-
Profile Image for Anna Hui.
84 reviews2 followers
February 3, 2020
Rereading this Blinkist to prepare for my research on related subject - how to prepare for the future.
7 reviews
December 1, 2021
Superb. Tom Goodwin has such a unique view on tech and business; he needs to write another book.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 37 reviews

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