My review attempts to focus narrowly on this book and how it relates to my internet website only. I state this because there are so many tangents that a person can follow from Gerry's thinking, from political and sociological, from commercial to one's personal life. To me, the core concept is a multi-faceted prism through which I now view many aspects of life. I'm not sure Gerry realizes the potential applications of his thinking, but that's good. "The Stranger's Long Neck" is about website success and failure - how to achieve the former and minimize the latter.
I read Gerry's (1st?) book "Killer Content" several times, over a year ago. His core concept fascinated me and resonated with my beliefs, but I still couldn't figure out how to apply them to my small B2B brochure-type website. I worked and reworked a new home page design with my web designer many times over the past year but couldn't hit my target. I knew I didn't have killer content so we never got past changing graphics and navigation and keywords, blah, blah, blase. Finally decided that Gerry's concepts were for the big boys and didn't apply to a 5-7 page site. So nothing was ever settled - until a few days ago when "The Stranger's Long Neck" arrived by mail.
Overall, it's still aimed at really big budget websites, and I skimmed quickly over the data and statistics with blurry eyes. But something big happened to little-old-me when I acted on one of his tips. I discovered that even my little company had top tasks. They finally took a distinct shape that I could characterize as my company's long neck. I was then able to identify and discard the tiny tasks. Now I'm focusing successfully on the second step, as important as the first, creating the right links for visitors' successful completion of the top tasks. This is, as Gerry warns, hard and somewhat boring work, psychological not technological. But what a great feeling when that light bulb finally flips on. The rewards, until you achieve them, are inconceivable, literally.
My industry is highly competitive and 100% of my competitors' websites are failures, when measured against Gerry's work. I am going to have one of the first really small websites utilizing long neck strategies. I'm considering getting into the website design business due to the tremendous power I feel as a result of my realizations. Every site I visit now, I look at as if through Gerry's eyes. And I see enormous opportunity to help small businesses develop websites that really "do" work for them.
Here's the payoff for me from this book. Important to understand that I run a two person B2B service business with billing of under $200k annually. Ironically, 75% of the words and characters on the pages of "The Stranger's Long Neck" seemingly, didn't apply to me, and seemingly, weren't helpful, so you could say that "The Stranger's Long Neck" had a long tail for me. However, like watching a foreign film without subtitles, somehow I "got" the story and both my heart and mind were touched. "The Stranger's Long Neck" indeed does have a long neck, even for me.
Buy this book with it's companion, "Killer Content", also by Gerry McGovern. "Killer Content" wired the bulb. This book flipped the switch to "ON". Don't give up, and don't be put off by the illusory disconnect between the size and type of your project to the ones illustrated in these two books. If you don't get it first time, wait some time and then re-read. There's something of great value for every English reading human being in each of these books.