Wikinomics: How companies become successful

This week in class, we discussed the theory behind Wikinomics (Yes that’s right, I Wikipedia-ed Wikinomics), a book written by by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams.

Basically, Wikinomics can be broken up into four main principles in which enterprises can become successful through their online presence through mass collaboration (exploiting the mass online social community). Below is my breakdown of these four ideas in a few short sentences (thanks to the guys at TechTarget):

  1. Openness: having open content to readers/consumers but also having financial transparency and an open attitude towards resources, ideas, concepts and knowledge.
  2. Peering: Having a collaborative environment where peers interact with each other (p2p)
  3. Sharing: Sharing of products, intellectual property, knowledge, and ideas.
  4. Acting Globally: embracing globalization and ignoring any ‘physical/geographical’ boundaries that individuals may have during interaction.

So what do these ideas mean for the world’s enterprises? Let’s have a look at a couple companies that are using these concepts and how they are becoming ever so successful.


(Image courtesy of Engadget)

Paradoxically, one of the most secretive companies in the world when it comes to new product releases, Apple is actually more open than it seems at first glance. Openness can be seen through sharing and collaboration as Fox points out, such as their API where they have allowed consumers and software developers to build applications on apple platforms. This opened up the world of application designers and is where we get our great apps today. As a result of this, many innovative applications have been released, and consumers are consistently downloading more and more applications.

Furthermore, through the use of apple forums, rating systems on products/apps, (and even the brand itself) users have been collaborating and sharing thoughts, ideas, and opinions on products and services. Sharing of information (such as software development kits) of their application interfaces has promoted developers to work together (collaborate) and to rely on each other’s knowledge and learning from other application designs.

In addition to this, Apple’s strong consumer community creates a peered/shared environment. For example, if I like an apple product, then there is a chance that I might recommend it to my friends or family, or if I like an app, I might give it a good rating or review so that others can be more contentious when downloading new applications. Consequently, this feedback from users has transformed the way in which Apple has designed/marketed its products, such as realizing the potential for the iPhone IOS (iPhone operating system) to be incorporated in their design of their computing Mountain Lion OS.

Acting globally, has been one of Apple’s strong suits, their online presence as well as their great retail reputation has allowed people from all over the world to purchase items online with great ease and satisfaction (not to mention the free shipping that arrives within a few business days). The apple cult online has also strengthened Apple as a brand, with websites and other blogging sites such as MacRumors or Gizmodo to share ideas and thoughts on Apple.

This is Wikinomics at work, allowing Apple to be continuously innovative in their products.

(Image courtesy of

Perhaps less known to people outside of the body building community, came to fame with the help of their open forum, where users in a peer to peer environment are free to ask questions and review products, training techniques etc. Their online store, similarly set up to Amazon allows users to openly critique products and place ratings and reviews. By acting globally, this online bodybuilding community has attracted a wide audience, where their strong online presence, has allowed them to develop their brand and deliver their goods internationally.

Furthermore, with frequent articles and advice given on their website, the sharing of ideas and knowledge has maintained their strong customer base, creating an arena where people can learn from each other, an innovative form of supplement shopping combined with training advice forum.

Through this interactivity online whilst providing a large cyber store for goods has allowed the website to grown over 25000 pages and has allowed them to be ranked the no. 1 most visited bodybuilding and fitness website in the world (source:

Final thoughts

It is clear that Enterprises that have realized the need to leverage the power of wider-reaching collaborative environments can allow for further innovation and knowledge attainment. Through the ideas prescribed in Wikinomics, users are quickly growing to vast numbers allowing for market penetration to be achieved at an increasingly fast rate globally.

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15 thoughts on “Wikinomics: How companies become successful

  1. FC says:

    Hi Xavier,

    Apple is a very interesting company, and as you mentioned as very secretive one when it comes to product releases.

    An interesting thought is the fact that Apple has been able to conquer a legion of devout followers without using social media. That’s right, Apple has not registered an official Facebook or Twitter account.

    It’s difficult to understand how companies like Goldman Sachs are active in the social media spectrum but an innovative technology company like Apple is not. Yet, Apple is incredibly popular, their reputation is primarily enhance through word of mouth from person to person.


    • xavier1610 says:

      Hey Felipe, completely agree! They have done so well consumer wise they allow their users spread their word through their own means of social media rather than depending on their own fb or Instagram page etc

    • juwujuliewu says:

      Hey FC, Xavier,
      Look like even though Apple don’t have their officail FB page, someone still registered a page using its name (
      Got a mixed of good and bad comments on it. I think they should still monitor sites talking about them to avoid serious social media disasters.

      • xavier1610 says:

        totally agree Julie, and I have mentioned this in my latest post as well. Measures still need to be done to protect apple’s identity, and even if it means moderating these pages or asking facebook to take them down.

      • juwujuliewu says:

        Hey Xavier,
        do companies have right to ask FB take non-official company pages down?

      • xavier1610 says:

        They always have the right to request abuse of their brand or defamation. Whether Facebook responds or not is entirely up to them, but I am sure that both Facebook wouldn’t want to get into a lawsuit with apple haha

      • xavier1610 says:

        Yes of course they have a right to request Facebook to put down any pages that may defame their brand or anything that may cause customers to be mislead. Of course whether or not Facebook would act on this request is entirely up to them, but I think it’s in their interests that companies are not hurt by what is posted on FB. And I’m sure they don’t want a lawsuit from apple haha

      • juwujuliewu says:

        Good point, Xavier! Companies are liable for inappropriate comments posted on their social media sites, and they should closely monitor social media interactions. It got me curious to look up how FB protects itself from disputes. In the service agreement for using FB:
        “If anyone brings a claim against us related to your actions, content or information on Facebook, you will indemnify and hold us harmless from and against all damages, losses, and expenses of any kind (including reasonable legal fees and costs) related to such claim. Although we provide rules for user conduct, we do not control or direct users’ actions on Facebook and are not responsible for the content or information users transmit or share on Facebook. We are not responsible for any offensive, inappropriate, obscene, unlawful or otherwise objectionable content or information you may encounter on Facebook. We are not responsible for the conduct, whether online or offline, or any user of Facebook.”

        I guess it depends on each companies’ business nature, but they could probably use a disclaimer to avoide nasty disputes in the future.

      • xavier1610 says:

        A disclaimer is definitely helpful in disputing any slanderous comments against apple, but irrespective of this, people can still view negative comments on facebook pages, meaning people can still see view apple in different ways, both positive and negative.

  2. […] Wikinomics: How companies become successful ( […]

  3. nvivanco says:

    Great read as usual Xavier. Just wondering, which feature of do you think contributes the most to their success; their user services (detailed articles/information and their online store) or their social networking components (BodySpace and their online forum)? Or is a combination of these features?

    Looking forward to the next post!

    • xavier1610 says:

      Thanks for the comment Nick, I think its probably as you said a combination of these features, however my personal opinion is that it was their forum, where they have had their most amount of social success which has driven their online business to a greater potential, with articles etc definitely helped support their online presence and as always its the people who have contributed to the website making it such a hit. 😀

  4. Well written post Xavier,
    I have used a bit and find it to be a fantastic resource for not only your professionals but also your beginners. Its great to see they are number one in their niche market. Seeing as seems to mimic the Wikinomics business model to the bone do you see this as a further promotion for their online storefront?

    Keep up the great posts!

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