You don't have to look far to see that technology is driving today's economy. Turn on CNBC, open The Economist, scan the Wall Street Journal--you'll find that technology is the prime force creating growth in almost every industry. In Unleashing the Killer App, authors Larry Downes and Chunka Mui look at the dynamics of technological change and its potential to create "killer apps." The authors describe a killer app as a product or service that "wind up displacing unrelated older offerings, destroying and re-creating industries far from their immediate use, and throwing into disarray the complex relationships between business partners, competitors, customers, and regulators of markets." Examples of killer apps throughout history include the Welsh longbow, the pulley, the compass, moveable type, and the Apple Macintosh. And today, with our increasingly networked economy (for example, the World Wide Web), killer apps are appearing all around us.
Downes and Mui argue that the dominant trend behind the proliferation of killer apps is a combination of Moore's Law, which states that the processing power of the CPU doubles every 18 months, and Metcalfe's Law, which observes that the value of a network increases dramatically with each node that's added to it. These two laws are fundamentally changing how businesses interact with each other and with their customers. To exploit these changes, the authors outline 12 points for designing a digital strategy to help you identify and create killer apps in your own organization. The book includes dozens of examples of how killer apps were discovered and implemented.
Unleashing the Killer App provides an excellent framework for rethinking the nature of business in today's wired economy. No matter the size of your company or what it does--health care, publishing, or fast food--there's probably a killer app lurking somewhere. This book will help you find it. Highly recommended. --Harry C. Edwards