The Connected Company

The Connected Company – Book Review

By: Dave Gray and Thomas Vander Wal

Focus on Service:

In the era of the service economy, products are tools within a service experience. The authors advocate for a shift in perspective, emphasizing co-creation with customers. Services must prioritize customer convenience and accessibility, connecting businesses directly to the evolving needs of their customer base.

Focus on Customers:

Despite the common-sense importance of customer attention, distractions often pull businesses away from their core consumer base. The lesson underscores the significance of staying attuned to market shifts, avoiding both greed-driven expansion and excessive focus, to remain agile and customer-centric.

Focus on Learning: 

The challenge lies in transitioning from information processing to genuine learning. Companies must engage with their environment, relying on continuous improvement through experimentation and feedback. Learning, distinct from training, involves adapting to new situations, fostering innovation, and responding effectively to customer feedback.

Be Organic:

Traditional business structures are akin to trains on fixed tracks, optimized for control and efficiency. The authors propose embracing a more organic, podular organization. Connected companies operate as complex, adaptable systems, with each part functioning independently yet contributing to the overall synergy of the business.

Focus on PODS: 

The podular organization model divides labor into independent “businesses within business,” enhancing flexibility and adaptability. This podular design, similar to a franchise model, enables scalability, resilience, and autonomy. However, it comes with added costs due to redundancy, betting that the increased value to customers will offset these expenses.

Focus on Platforms and Networks:

Podular organizations require support structures that connect the pods, facilitating coordination, knowledge sharing, and overall effectiveness. Platforms play a crucial role, reducing friction and increasing cohesion among pods. Striking a balance between flexibility and stability is vital in choosing and implementing platforms.

Focus on Measuring:

Connected leaders, leading a networked company, must stimulate ideas, energy, and emotion. The temperature of the company, symbolizing its adaptability to the pace of change in the business environment, serves as a unique metric. Companies must find the Goldilocks zone—neither too cold with rigid rules nor too hot with constant reinvention.

POD Cultivation:

Creating pods involves a strategic approach, focusing on growing in a podular manner. This includes starting new initiatives with dedicated pods, maintaining tacit knowledge through seeding new pods with individuals from existing ones, and fostering teamwork with a clear common goal. Launching pilot pods as experimental, independent entities can drive real innovation within the organization.


The Connected Company offers a compelling manifesto for businesses navigating the evolving landscape. Embracing a service-centric, customer-focused, and learning-oriented approach within an organic, podular structure can pave the way for adaptability, innovation, and sustained success in the interconnected business world.

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