Thursday, February 26, 2009

The starfish and the spider

The starfish and the spider is on lots of people's 'best-reads ever' so I decided to read it. It is basically a book about decentralized leadership, the internet, letting go of control and the power of community.

At the start of the book a contrast is made between the Spanish Army and the Apache indians. One is high control with a clear command and control structure (a Spider) the other is the opposite (a Starfish). The majority of the case studies are fascinating- AA, Wikipedia, Ebay, Napster and Skype.- starfish organizations.

My main takeout was the distinction made between a catalyst and a CEO (page 130).  The CEO is 'The Boss' and is all about command and control and power However, the catalyst is a peer, is emotionally intelligent, collaborative and about connecting. The case studies are not entirely 'leaderless' as the books title suggests- but they are empowering. 

This is a quick read and worth the trouble if only as a primer on the impact of the internet on commerce and leadership.

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