Hiroshi Mikitani, founder of e-commerce giant Rakuten, has seen the next battleground in the fight for the future of the Internet. Today's major e-commerce players are quietly building borderless platforms that are overturning the global brick-and-mortar model, and changing the way local businesses think about their customers. But is this good or bad?
Rejecting the zero-sum model practiced by some global retailers, who view the Internet purely as a facilitator of speed and profit, Mikitani argues for an alternate model that benefits vendors, customers, and communities alike by empowering players at every step in the process. He envisions retail "ecosystems," where brick-and-mortar businesses around the world partner with e-retailers to maximize their customer bases and service capabilities, and he shows why emphasizing collaboration over competition, customization over top-down control, and long-term growth over short-term revenue is by far the best use of the Internet's power.
Rakuten is already pioneering this new model, and Marketplace 3.0 offers colorful examples of its success in Japan and around the world. Mikitani reveals how the company enforces a global mindset (for instance, by requiring all its employees to speak English, even in Tokyo); how it incorporates new acquisitions rather than seeking to sell them for a quick profit; and how it competes with other retailers on speed and quality, without sacrificing the public good.
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