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Business - Written by on Monday, December 15, 2008 17:11 - 0 Comments

Denis Hancock
Wikinomics hits the consulting business: $39.95 a month for Zappos Insights

“There are management consulting firms that charge really high rates. We wanted to come up with something that’s accessible to almost any business.”

This quote will ring true for many different people that have employed management consulting firms. In the worst cases, it appears that certain types of such companies merely send people in to work at company X for awhile, learn everything they are up to, and then go to company Y (& Z, etc.), looking to sell their insights for a stunningly high amount. Wikinomics and the “age of transparency” is clearly a direct threat to that model, and where this quote comes from is a remarkably good example of why.

The quote is from Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, as reported in this AdWeek article. For many years companies have been invited to trek down to Las Vegas and check out how the company does business. Now, companies that don’t want to make such a trek (travel freeze anyone?) have another option to learn a thing or two about Zappos – pay $39.95 per month for a subscription to the forthcoming Zappos Insights, a subscription video service that lets companies ask questions about the Zappos way and get answers from actual Zappos employees. At such a price point, it’s easy to see why the company is targeting the “Fortune 1 Million”, instead of a much smaller range of targets.

It will be interesting to see how this service plays out when it officially launches (I learned about it from this mashable post, where a number of people were complaining about not being able to sign in, and Tony Hsieh chimed in to note they didn’t realize the Adweek article was going up so soon, so the site has been shut down until the official launch). But regardless of whether it turns out to be a bit gimmicky or not, it should at least provide people a reminder of the intense pressure certain business models are under as certain wikinomics principles continue to gain traction – yellow pages anyone?

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