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With social networking layer, Amazon flexes digital-disruption muscle

In this week's Searchlight: Amazon plays disruptor once again with its buy of social networking site Goodreads, cyberattacks get scarier and more.

Social networking: It was the one aspect missing from Amazon's plan for world domination. Now they have it. You can almost hear Jeff Bezos' "Muahaha!" echoing through the streets of Seattle.

Karen GoulartKaren Goulart

OK, I'm being slightly dramatic. But with the acquisition of Goodreads, the top social networking site for book sharing, Amazon, the purveyor of everything, can now add "community" to that A-to-Z list. It's not just a minor add-on; it's a ready-made captive audience of 16 million consumers.

In this week's lead Searchlight story, writer Jeff Bercovici ponders whether the acquisition is a strike against fledgling site Bookish. Launched in February by publishers Penguin, Hachette and Simon & Schuster after two years in the making, Bookish is sort of like Goodreads, but with publishing house clout behind it. Amazon's acquisition certainly doesn't help Bookish, but it seems to me more like a general strike against the industry.

It's like déjà vu: Amazon is the original king of digital disruption, having gained its crown by toppling brick-and-mortar booksellers and bringing publishers to their knees. And here they are, doing it again. Besides potentially pushing down Bookish before it finds its legs, Amazon is now poised to set itself apart from e-book-selling foes like Apple and the already beleaguered Barnes and Noble.

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It's a "disrupt or be disrupted" world. And your company doesn't have to have the most money (like an Amazon) or the most technology to succeed. As Forrester Research Inc. analyst and digital disruption evangelist James McQuivey puts it, all it requires is using your digital resources to provide more value to more people in more contexts than everybody else. See? Simple. Recommendation for you: Get to it before someone else does.

Also in this week's Searchlight: a look at why DDoS attacks on Spamhaus should be everyone's concern, a skeptic's view of the ballyhoo around unstructured data, and more.

  • Amazon bets you might also like social networking with your books, appliances, shoes, wine, camping gear, etc.
  • There are conflicting opinions about the severity of this week's cyberattack on Spamhaus, but the last two paragraphs of this piece in The Guardian sums up why everyone should care anyway.
  • If your eyebrow is tired from being raised at all the unchecked enthusiasm surrounding the possibilities of unstructured data, check out this blog of a fellow skeptic.
  • Those looking for the next big thing in technology, start by looking at your own business strategy.
  • If the CDO (chief digital officer) is rising as the cool guy in the C-suite, where does that leave the CIO and CMO? Buying their own drinks, apparently.
  • They say 'tis better to give than to receive -- and, hey, if it happens to boost your career, all the better.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Karen Goulart, Features Writer.

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