Category Archives: books

Books from last quarter – part one.

I read or listen at least one book per two weeks. I want to share the list with you. First of all it is always worth to recommend good book. Second I hope you could help me. Please write your suggestion into comments. Thanks and happy reading.

This quarter list:

Crossing the charm

The must read for everyone involved in high tech industry. From the book you will learn about five stages of technology adoption, and how you need to have different attitude for marketing and selling.

 

 

Key Takeaways:

  1. “Early adopters” want a change agent. “Early majority” looks for productivity improvement for existing operations (you need to be better somehow).
  2. Elevator Speech Template – “For …. (target customers)  , who are dissatisfied with  ……..(the current market alternative). Our product is a  ………….. (new product category) unlike ………………(the product alternative). We have assembled …………..(key whole product features).
  3. segmentation, segmentation and segmentation.
    1. Enthusiast – “Name it and frame it”
    2. Visionary – “Who for and what for”
    3. Pragmatist – “Competition and differentiation”
    4. Conservatism – “Financials and future plans”

What Got You Here – Won’t Get You There

Some time ago I had a training it was great and helped me get better. The most used phrase during this training was the title of Goldsmith book – “what got you here, won’t get you there”. This book is must have! I will just put one key takeaway here, because you have to read this book to get “Twenty Habits That Hold You Back”.

 

Key Takeaways: The only person who stops YOU from the being on the top is YOU.

Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used

This book is must read for consultants. Want to know how to deal effectively with clients? Read the book. Author by using illustrative examples and case studies help us understand all aspects of consultant job. The book is also for non consultant, as each of us is a consultant at some point in our lives. Finally “Flawless Consulting” is less about how to consult and more about how to communicate.

Key Takeaways:

  • You have to manage the relationship – it is essential to good implementation.
  • Ideas about contract and getting commitment
  • Watch out for unrealistic expectations! (people think you should transform everything overnight)
  • You need to learn them to be able to solve their own problems after you’re gone.

Kobe Bryant. Showman

Creator of the bestseller Michael Jordan. He wrote another great biography of Kobe, who broke into the best basketball league at the age of only 17. Kobe was not only proud of himself eg. when he was asked about Jordan he answered “I’m going to be better than him”, but also extremely hardworking. He always was first at gym, and finished as last one. His live wasn’t easy but through hard work he was one of the best NBA player.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hard work is very important to your success.
  • Shows how our decisions creates our opportunities.
  • Being on the top isn’t dream, you must work even harder.

Critical Business Skills for Success

This course have five parts:

  1. strategy,
  2. operations,
  3. finance and accounting,
  4. organizational behavior
  5. marketing.

Every part is led by business professors from top business schools. In each part you will learn about everything from key terms through methodologies and case studies.

Key Takeaways: It is 60 lessons so it very hard to get key takeaways gere. This course brings MBA experience for you.

Free: the future of radical price

The book is about pricing models which give products and services to customers for free (referred to as “freemium”). The strategy works to attract users and then up-sell them at  premium level. Chris Anderson explores this idea as business strategy for today’s  companies.

 

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Sooner or later every company need to figure out how to compete with “Free”.
  • If the price is zero, we all are irrational (it is proved in other books) and take decision much easier.
  • “Generation Free”: Growing up post-Napster, younger generations find copyright irrelevant.

Designing Bots – Creating Conversational Experience

This is very important book to me, as I’m in conversational interfaces business right now. Ideal for designers, product managers and entrepreneurs – you will find out  what works and what doesn’t on real-world bot examples. Author is co creator of Slack messanger so he guide us through different bot platforms based on his experience. If you are interested in conversional interfaces use for your business, than this book is must read.

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Personality is important, but more important is to keep it consistent across the experience.
  • First things first: Define your bot’s purpose and core functionality.
  • Mainly there are two types of conversations, task-led and topic-led.
  • Use platform specific rich interactions (buttons, images, audio …)
  • When possible do not fall into bot-amnesia.

Next Quarter

Next in Queue 🙂

  • Small Data(audiobook)
  • Meaningful
  • What’s Stopping You?
  • Principles (audiobook)
  • The Entrepreneur’s Toolkit.
  • Black Swan  (Andrzej suggestion)
  • … and … feel free to make your suggestions….. in the comments

Book review: The Business Value of Web Performance

Web performance is always very important to me. Browser need to download more and more resources to render full page. On one hand we want our pages look gorgeous on the other hand this means more images, more bandwidth and of course more time.

In todays mobile world this become even more important, we are in the hurry and if page didn’t show up in 1-2 second we’re swipe away. I read over a book  “Time is Money” by Tammy Everts. It is very short one (about 100 pages) you can read it in one day. I recommend you to get this book and read it.

In first two chapters, author shows a lot of case studies and scientific background to convince us that performance is important. Fast websites create happy users – lot of  case studies proves that we perceive slow webpage even slower than it is. Research show that there are two really important aspects of our brains:

  • Short term memory – which is very poor and decays quickly
  • Need to feel we are in control – if we have to wait, we feel powerless, so we’re starting to frustrate.

That means that 0.1 second give us illusion of instantaneousness; after 10 seconds we lose focus. We need fast application to gain “Flow”, otherwise we are getting tired.

100ms is Google stated goal to page load times

In the book there are plenty of examples how few seconds can change conversion rates of our site. So finally I think this quote get to the point.

“First and foremost, we believe that speed is more than a feature. Speed is the most important feature. If your application is slow, people won’t use it.”

– Fred Wilson, VC, Union Square Ventures.

Digging deeper we find out that the problem is latency and bandwidth. Important thing to know is that increasing bandwidth by 1000% we improve page load time by about 50%. We should consider that many browser has limit of simultaneous connection, and this limits may vary depending on version and OS. That means latency is what we should care about. The big problem with latency is that it’s unpredictable and inconsistent. It can be affected by almost everything from the weather 🙂 to what your neighbours are downloading.

Regardless how much money we invest in building out the infrastructure – latency will continue to be one of the greatest obstacles in web performance.

Next we are moving to optimisation layers, where we can measure and optimise response times. These layers are:

  • Servers
  • Load Balancers
  • Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)
  • Frontend Optimalization (FEO)

This layers has different optimization purposes, but the rule of thumb says that 80%-90% of the end user response time is spent in frontend, so it is good idea to start there. Mobile optimisation are VIP here, so we should always figure out how to decrease request count and how to minimise response size.

To know where we should put our effort, to optimise proper page, or part of our application we have to measure it and we need to know which pages are more important from the customer conversion point of view. There are a lot of different measurement tools available: mainly two types Application Performance Management (APM) and Digital Performance Management (DPM)

It might happen that cart page is not so important than welcome page or vice versa. We should figure out what impact does web performance have on Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).

The very important question is “How Fast is Fast Enough?” and let me cite the author:

“optimising performance is like painting the Golden Gate Bridge: it never ends.”

Let summary this, performance is very important. Carrying about performance gives us better conversion rates from our customers and makes them happy. It is very important to build culture of performance in your company. To do this, it is good to show them use cases to demonstrate the value of performance – and the best are your own case. Building such wide knowledge on both business and technical side.

Finally everyone who touches a web page from people on the business side – looking to add third-party analytics tags; to people from the marketing team, wanting – to add high-resolution hero images ; needs to know that their decisions has impact on performance. Impact on performance is the same as on revenue – we can increase or decrease it.

And one final quote:

Remember that performance is a journey, not a destination.

Fearless Change – book review

On the flight to San Francisco I had plenty of time to read a book. Fearless Change by Manns Rising is about introducing new ideas. They recognize patterns which are described in the book, with idea introducing process studied (which pattern may be applied on actual process step. Book consist of two part, first is process description with this steps

Organizations and Change
shows that innovation are hard. We can divide people regarding their engage into “new things”: Innovators (2.5%), Early Adopters (13.5%), Early Majority (33%), Late Majority (33%), Laggards (18%). We should convince proper groups but also we should be open for critique, it may improve our innovation. This chapter also recognize three different roles: Maven, Salesman and Connector.
Strategies or Patterns
This chapter introduce patterns, and how they add value .
Where Do I Start?
This is truly the first chapter, the previous two was introduction. It guide us, what we should do when we start. I like two quotes :

  • The longest journey begins with a single step by Lao Tsu

  • Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together by Vincent van Gogh

What Do I Do Next?
We should ask for help, involve others (people easier adapt innovation if they are part of it). And always say “Thanks” after all!
Meetings and More
is about, how to make your meeting more rememberable (eg. Do Food pattern).
Take Action!
Don’t procrastinate, just do it.
It’s All About People
People are most important in every innovation.
A New Role: Now You’re Dedicated!
is how important is time for innovation, we cannot introduce innovation only through our spear time.
Convince the Masses
is how to convince more and more people
More Influence Strategies
some more tricks to convince more people.
Keep it Going
once we “convert” a lot of people it is important to keep things going.
Dealing with Resistance
The last chapter is how to deal with resistance, take opportunity to improve innovation and find a way to overcome people resistance.

The second part of the book are experiences descriptions and description for all the patterns. Really interesting book for reading. Breakfast was awful (coffee, tee, muffins – choose from that three and make yours breakfast), I’m going to WWDC registration desk.