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BOOK REVIEW: Six Billion Shoppers
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Six Billion Shoppers
Author: Porter Erisman
BT 201711 BOOK 02 编辑      或许你不知道Porter Erisman是谁,但你一定知道马云,甚至他的一个专属标签“扬子江大鳄”。不错,这个标签来源于一部叫做《扬子江大鳄》的纪实电影,这位电影的制作人正是Porter Erisman。虽然已经离开了阿里,但是在后来记者采访他时,他依然反复用“我们”指代阿里,语气中对自己曾战斗过的公司充满了感情,“我为自己曾是那个团队一员而骄傲,也为他们坚持初心取得的成就高兴。”Erisman如是形容自己对阿里的情感。

      如今,除了做电影,他还出版了自己的新书《Six Billion Shoppers》。

      Porter Erisman是一个土生土长的美国人,2000年加入阿里巴巴,担任负责媒体关系和市场的副总裁,曾陪伴公司经历互联网泡沫破灭,亲历公司取胜Ebay一战,见证公司在香港上市。离开阿里后,他也没有停下自己的脚步。他将自己的见闻、观察与思考总结成《Six Billion Shoppers》一书。Erisman对电子商务的热情继续燃烧着,他访问了印度、东南亚、拉丁美洲和非洲,会见了不少行业领袖,并总结了他们各个国家和地区的“趋势与预测”。在印度,他拜访了Flipkart、Snapdeal和Paytm等大公司; 在马来西亚和泰国时,他看到电子商务发展缓慢,很少有国内公司与德国Rocket公司进行竞争;在拉丁美洲,阿根廷的Mercado Libre公司覆盖拉美区域,这多少归功于eBay的投资; 在非洲,他会见了尼日利亚公司Konga首席执行官Sim Shagaya先生。除了会见高管,他也观察到了当地人的生活状况,很多地区的人民依然生活在低效率的生产环境和劣质的服务中。这本书无疑将为身在中国和电商带来的便捷生活中的我们打开了解世界其他地区的大门。

BT 201711 BOOK 01Porter Erisman served as vice-president at Alibaba Group from 2000 to 2008 as one of the first foreign employees. His previous book, Alibaba’s World, covered the company’s foundation and rise with insider tales making it an interesting and useful read. Now, armed with a key insight from Alibaba - that shortcomings in infrastructure and commercial development are opportunities for e-commerce rather than impeding it – Six Billion Shoppers is a whirlwind tour of the developing world and it’s rising digital retailers.

Erisman visits India, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa, meeting industry leaders and summarizing his “Trends and Predictions” from each country and region. In India he meets Flipkart, Snapdeal and Paytm; in Malaysia and Thailand he shows e-commerce has had a slow start with few domestic companies managing to compete against the German firm Rocket, which clones “mini-Amazons” in new markets. In Latin America Argentina’s Mercado Libre dominates the continent, thanks in part to investment by eBay while in Mexico, Rocket’s Linio was spun off into an independent company and is now a deadly rival of Mercado Libre. In Africa, he meets Sim Shagaya, the CEO of Nigerian firm Konga.

There’s plenty of good business sense in Six Billion Shoppers: Erisman has a passion for e-commerce, he understands it and he thinks its success benefits mankind. He shows how trust is the basis of commerce and what e-commerce companies must do to advance it, from escrow payment systems to online chats between buyers and sellers.

But Erisman’s experience and knowledge of each market seem to be based on the executives whom he meets. He adds occasional color by narrating anecdotes from his travels (getting mugged in Bogota, Mumbai bazaars, dreadful services offered by hotels in Lagos), but there’s not enough about user experience on each platform, nor is there anything at all about people making these platforms work – delivery men on scooters, distribution staff toiling in warehouses, IT staff struggling to deliver a service with inferior tech and so on. All this makes the book feel like a significant missed opportunity.


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