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The Power of Customer Misbehavior


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Table of Contents

1. Why is Viral Growth Important? 2. The Viral Model 3. Technological Factors 4. Demonstrating Skills, Proficiency, Taste and Accomplishments 5. Seeing and Being Seen 6. Getting It Right 7. Getting It Wrong 8. Conclusion

About the Author

Michael T. Fisher is a co-founding partner in the growth and scalability advisory firm AKF Partners. He was the former Chief Technology Officer of Quigo (acquired by AOL) and served as Vice President of Engineering & Architecture for PayPal. Michael received a PhD and MBA from Case Western Reserve University, an MS in Information Systems from Hawaii Pacific University and a BS in Computer Science from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Martin L. Abbott is a cofounding partner of the growth and scalability advisory firm AKF Partners. He was formerly the COO of Quigo and was the SVP of Technology/CTO at eBay. Martin has a Doctorate in Management from Case Western Reserve University, an MS in Computer Engineering from the University of Florida, a BS in Computer Science from the United States Military Academy and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School's Executive Education Program.

Kalle Lyytinen is the Iris S. Wolsstein Professor of Information Systems at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and the Director of CWRU's Doctorate and PhD in Management programs. Kalle currently serves on the editorial boards of several leading information systems journals and has been a consultant to several Fortune 500 companies including Nokia, IBM, and Daimler. He has also consulted several research organizations including National Science Foundation, the British Research Council and EU Directorate XII.


"Fisher, Abbott and Lyytinen have written a fascinating and engaging book on the new era of customer empowerment. Executives are now more challenged than ever to understand customer behavior and the drivers for market growth. This book offers key insights for executives who desire to embark on a journey of discovery with customers, as they innovate on behalf of customers to transform their organizations and industries." - Lynda Applegate, Sarofim-Rock Professor of Business Administration at Harvard -Business School

"Finally, we have a book that breaks the mould by bringing the type of thinking on innovation that is most appropriate for today's information-intensive and networked world. The authors provide insight through illustration in a highly readable and compelling prose. It is a must-read for executives who want to their companies to compete and win." - Varun Grover, Distinguished Professor of Information Systems, Clemson University

"While we can't depend on customers to tell us what to build, we can provide them with the tools necessary to use technology in new and unanticipated ways, and we can learn a great deal by observing their actual use. This book will show you how to enable and nurture the power of your customers to innovate." - Marty Cagan, Partner, Silicon Valley Product Group

"If you ever thought that listening to your customers only served to increase customer satisfaction scores, think again. This book definitively argues that customers' misuse of products often has pronounced effects on the growth rates of product adoption and can lead to viral growth." - Doug Leone, General Partner at Sequoia Capital

"A book grounded in both the realm of higher learning and the school of hard knocks; it provides a simple but powerful model for success in information-intensive ventures... It explains the success of some of the most spectacular successes of the past generation, and provides valuable guidance on how to do it and what to avoid." - John Leslie King, W.W. Professor of Information at University of Michigan

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