The Art of Online War (infographic)

NOTE: the Link Roundup is beneath this post.

The Art of Online WarSun-Tzu wrote his classic, “The Art of War” over 2000 years ago.

Since then, his lessons have been applied to many areas of endeavor including leadership and business.

Do the lessons from the “Art of War” apply to business on the web today? I think so and to show you how, I’ve re-interpreted 6 of the lessons from the book for the Internet age.

Do you agree with my interpretations? If not, what’s your view? I would love to hear your comments below!

To download a more printable version of the infographic below, click here. If you just want the text from the infographic, click here.

Feel free to use this image on your own site. All you need to do is link the image to this web address:

The Art of War Online

Weekly Link Roundup

Weekly Link RoundupEach week, I collect the 10 best posts that I’ve read and share them with you here.

These posts focus on web-based solutions, online resources and up-to-date news for small businesses.


Google Fuses Google+ Into Search — And There Are Bigger Changes Afoot: Lots of changes and tweaks over at Google these past two weeks. Get the 411 here.

22 Social Media Sites For Businesses That Are Not Facebook: Yes, there are social media sites beyond Facebook and many of them are focused on helping your business.

Why ‘Community’ is NOT the Holy Grail of Blogging and Online Success: AMEN! It’s all about business goals people!

The Fractured Foundation of Social Business: A good look at how a business needs to fundamentally change the way it views and rewards soft skills before it can adopt and succeed using social business practices.

Three Ways to Bring Lead Nurturing into Your Social Media Plan: Some solid advice on how to assure that your social media marketing efforts result in sales leads.

101 Examples of Social Business ROI: Not convinced that social media is worth your time? Here are 101 convincing reasons, based on real-world results, why you may want think again.

How to Fail at Content Marketing: A great list of “uh-ohs” to avoid when utilizing content marketing.

Google Goes After Your Local Small Business : Some good news for small businesses – Google finally decided that you’re worth their time! Look for easier-to-use tools and programs.

CES 2012: What’s Coming Next to Small Business: What’s the hottest new technology for small businesses? Get a preview here.

Smaller Social Sites See Significant Boost in Usage: If you spend all your social media efforts on the big sites, you may be missing some great opportunities to reach an engaged and targeted audience.


  1. A (respectfully submitted) thought, Matt – two possible things: 1. written copy of these would be nice – to print out. Save, absorb – plant into the playbook and 2. a graphic layout that would format in such a way that it would be easier to print on its own, as well.

    Presently, this graphic has be manipulated to print out in a readable form and this post does not print the graphic on two my computers….

    Nice encapsulation of wisdom from a master into today……

  2. Well, I normally charge $125/hr to answer questions like that, Matt – but for you?……..


    Seriously, with your ability to research and come up with top-shelf information and this blog’s keen ability to *curate* in the most literal terms, some kind of ‘best practices’ product for small biz orientation makes logical sense.

    While there’s tons of IM-oriented products on list building, product development, productivity(one of my new biz areas evolving in 2012, though I’ve been working on the music business for almost 25 yrs), etc, few really pull together *well* the information of what *really* works, can work *fast* and will cultivate long-term skills applicable for a long life of doing yr own thing….

    In other words, culling the best information out there in the public realm(books, blogs, web sites, seminars), from inside available products(physical and digital), best practices and putting it together in a fresh design that is action-oriented, would leverage your strengths, be a lot of fun(from what I can tell) and kick-ass!

    If I was as good as you with pulling all this great info together, hell, I’d do it! ;-P

    Have you read “Curation Nation” yet? If not, you should – I read 40/50 books a year, but as I recall w/ this one, the first half of it was the core and I only skimmed the last part(examples, as I recall) – the book, though, will help w/ a strategic orientation for a natural-born assimilitator like yrself and help you see more clearly the value you could provide at a higher, more product-oriented level quite possibly.

    I didn’t realize it was what I’ve done(curation) in my business for the last 20 yrs but curators find, organize, contextualize and repackage information to make it more digestable and, ulimately, create more value to the info/product/service they offer – More Saleable.

    Matt, you do that, by nature, by inbred talent. It’s obviously(well, to me, at least) it’s a big part of who you are. How freakin’ cool!

    We’re all completely overwhelmed w/ the data being pushed into our slowly evolving, wee little brains(read “The Shallows” for more on this) and people who can bring together the most relevant information to their crowd are gonna have a head of steam, credibility and leverage when it comes time to ask for money – because they are doing the work, most are incapable of doing themselves. (I’m in the middle a full-on experiment w/ this at one of my sites at – – it’s only a few months old so the jury is out but the data is coming in….)

    Curators blend the left and right brain orientations of the marketplace(uh, another good on here is “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink – quick read this one) and make sense of enough of the information to allow people to feel less stressed and overwhelmed.

    Hey, it’s a theory! ;-P

    One suggestion: when you finish this book, which I look forward to reading, tweak it to fit for some specific markets that normally are not looking for this kind of information. regional restaurants, insurance companies, small law firms, engineering companies – I don’t know, but since you’ve done the work, a bit more work to customize it to an industry would allow you to get a foothold in there and get some consulting work. And, by all means, do NOT make it just an e-book!

    I wrote and published 3 (physical)books in the past 8 months in my small, specialized music niche at $40/each- for you, print ’em up, give ’em away to potential clients and send yr buddy Bruce one! ;-P

    I give my books away in the my music business (my books are in my specialized music niche) but I read one of THE best business books a few weeks ago that is an a great example of that. It’s called “The Perfection Of Marketing” – it’s on Amazon and it’s self published b/c this firm uses as it as a (effective, I’m assuming) tool to prospects. (Their clients are $5-$20 million dollar companies, his name is James Conner of The James Group) After finishing it, I wanted to man-hug James – I’m convinced this one will be one of those classics like Eugene Schwartz’ “Breakthrough Advertising” and be lifted up, sadly, decades after its being published.

    Seriously, this book, which came out 3 yrs ago and hardly anyone knows about it, is one of the best EVER on ‘branding’ – ‘a must read’ is an understatement. (I got the recommendation from Rich Schefren for this one)

    Anyway, I’m in full ramble mode b/c I’m in task avoidance mode this afternoon and it appears I’m ready for some football this weekend! ;-P (I’ve lived in Colorado for almost 25 yrs but I’m Boston born so I’m a lifer when it comes to the New England Patriots)

    • Wow – that is A LOT to think about – thanks Bruce!

      The family and I are in wedding mode this weekend (a cousin of mine), but I will be working my way back through your comment as soon as I return next week!

      Thanks again!!!


  3. Matt,

    Great post, as always. Here are a couple from the great warrior general that apply now, as surely as then:

    “the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to w in or lose.”

    Translation: Develop a solid business plan, and sick to it, making adjustments as markets or other factors change.

    “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

    Translation: Know both yourself and your customer. Customer knowledge is one of the most critical, yet oft-ignored success principles in business and marketing.


  1. says:

    The Art of Online War (infographic)…

    Do the lessons from the “Art of War” apply to business on the web today? I think so and to show you how, I’ve re-interpreted 6 of the lessons for the Internet age….

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