Archive for April, 2012

Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing.Neil Schaffer.

Nederlands: Linked In icon

Nederlands: Linked In icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing.Neil Schaffer.  2011. ISBN 9781463685805.  The unofficial practical guide to selling and developing B2b business on LinkedIn. This is a good book. We have been developing LinkedIn based strategies for some time now, but there is always something new to learn. Schaeffer is adept with this tool and gave me some great heads up . Eg LinkedInlabs Signal is a deep little known analytic tool we all should be using.   I learned about of the Premium professional offer that he found on the site – sweet. Lots more on getting better  searches, groups, feeds, company pages and so on. Good writer. Lots  of relevant case studies

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What the Plus! Google + for the rest of us. Guy Kawasaki

guy kawasaki

What the Plus!  Google + for the rest of us. Guy Kawasaki.  2012.   Guy takes you from the bare basics up to some  very valuable tips for the expert as well as extensions and software that will support you.  An unabashed G+ advocate, his easy reading style allows the arguments to take root. If you want to extend your use of G+ this s the one book to get you started , plus he provides sufficient resource links to keep your knowledge growing.   I enjoyed the book and it is a quick read.

Common NonSense. Andy Rooney.

Andy Rooney, photographed by Stephenson Brown.

Common Non/Sense. Andy Rooney.2002. ISBN 1586482009. When Andy Rooney passed away the world lost a very good writer.  This “collection” is a series of loosely affiliated comments on a very wide range of topics.  It is a sheer delight of straight talking prose. (The fastest thing a computer does it become obsolete) . Do not look for political correctness ( although he does apologize after the fact) but do enjoy his endearing style and endless wit.

Update on River Cruises in Europe

Deutsch: Ein Binnen-Kreuzfahrtschiff auf der D...

I wrote last year about a great idea for a river cruise in Europe this year. http://www.regnordman.com/2011/05/20/very-good-value-for-a-fall-european-river-cruise-package-for-two-is-going-going/

Here is a comment from a friend who took this cruise

  • The trip was great.
  • We were impressed with the boat, the crew & staff, the tours and the tour guides.
  • Rating  4 out of 5.

Europe is getting lots of attention  these days for travel , ( Strong loonie, Mexico uggh, growing desires for a bit more luxury in a trip – our backpacking days seem behind us) .    These trips are full usually 12 months in advance.   As  a result river cruise firms  do not often offer incentives.  One came by today to my wife ([email protected]) for next year  where Viking are offering some  shipboard credits  on a new boats cruise bookings to Russia, Ukraine and China Itineraries.( If you book by June 30, 2012.)

Here are the Russian itinerary:

http://www.vikingrivercruises.com/regions/russia_ukraine/index.aspx

Here are the Asian itinerary:

http://www.vikingrivercruises.com/regions/asia/index.aspx

The Russian boats sound quite intriguing

http://www.vikingrivercruises.com/russia-river-cruises/news/

The new ship for the Yangtze tour is pretty spiffy

http://www.vikingrivercruises.com/cruiseships/asia/viking-emerald/shipinfo.aspx

Enjoy!

Thank you for Arguing. What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson can teach us about the art of persuasion. Jay Heinrichs.

Cover of "Thank You for Arguing: What Ari...

Cover via Amazon

Thank you for Arguing. What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson can teach us about the art of persuasion. Jay Heinrichs.  2007. ISBN 9780307341440. I heard about this book and Heinrich’s from a recent BusinessWeek article about his booming consulting business (March 31) . The book is a treat and a trip. through self deprecating humour and great examples he draws you into the world of rhetoric.  I like this material so much that I have become addicted to his blog http://www.figarospeech.com/.  If you are in sales and or marketing this is a foundational book. But do not stop there, we can all learn from this delightful book. Its a quick easy read that could change your life.

Beyond the Lean Revolution. Achieving successful and sustainable enterprise transformation. Deborah J. Nightingale & Jayakanth Srinivasan.

Logo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Logo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beyond the Lean Revolution. Achieving successful and sustainable enterprise transformation.  Deborah J. Nightingale & Jayakanth Srinivasan. 2011. ISBN 9780814417096.  The third in a quartet of lean books I am reviewing.  Much  of the good stuff covered  in The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership by Levitt & Conviss is replicated here. And that makes sense. The tools and templates that these MIT folks provide would be very useful to those needing to do the base analysis of new lean initiatives and or failed ones. Like other fine Amacom books this is well researched and useful.  The writing style is a bit more challenging than others , but the content may have some impact on that.

Running Lean. Iterate from plan A to a plan that works. Ash Maurya.

A business ideally is continually seeking feed...

Running Lean. Iterate from plan A to a plan that works. Ash Maurya.2012. ISBN 9781449305178.  Part of the LEAN series which started with The Lean Start-up. This is the workbook for the The Lean Start-up and more. Lean development rose out of the AGILE camp and remains a major POV for the technology development sector.  My interest comes from experience with companies that start into AGILE but, fail to implement it in their management structure/style.  This LEAN series is a good way to start on changing how to manage companies who are innovators.  A very few folks are writing about adopting AGILE techniques in sales and marketing , but it will come.   A few key bullets for me from this very clear and well written book.

  • Build only the Minimum Value Product – always testing customer response.
  • Look for Minimum Marketing Features (what customers value – and you would write up)
  • Use Kanban charts ( from The Toyota Way ) to organize and constrain workflow
  • Done = validated with learning from customers
  • Measure product marketing fit all the time.

On Freemium (he is not a fan) :

  • Delays learning about what price buyers will pay
  • Low or no conversion – give away too much
  • Lengthens validation cycle
  • Shift focus to wrong metric – signups vs retention
  • Low signal to noise ration – what is important feedback
  • Free users are not free – account for free users as a marketing expense

Mailchimp started with a paid version and after much time backed into a free one. Users should easily outgrow a free plan.  This is LinkedIn’s issue. IMHO.  Buy this book and The Lean Startup.

The Lean Startup. How today’s entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses. Eric Ries.

Eric Ries - The Lean Startup, London Edition

Eric Ries - The Lean Startup, London Edition (Photo credit: betsyweber)

The Lean Startup. How today’s entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses. Eric Ries.  20111. ISBN 9780307887894.  Absolutely spot on book.  I have lived through just about everything Eric talks about in this book. Especially when he comes to companies that fail.  I wish I had this book fifteen years ago.  However dear reader you can benefit from this book now. Our firm is meeting way to many companies who go lean in development (agile) without adjusting their management style. Ries gives these folks a process and  systems that can be used to dig themselves out of their holes. Most of the points are not new, we have been using them for decades. What is new is how they are strung together to dramatically improve a start ups chance to get traction , break out into huge income territory and prevent “the fail”.    For example:

  • Startups must be and can be managed
  • Use learning milestones vs goods produced
  • A hundred tests is preferred to one big launch
  • look for positive improvements in core metrics = market what the buyer will buy
  • stay away from vanity metrics
  • test your assumptions as you separate them from facts
  • be thorough and thoughtful

In technology a must read for all leaders.  Other leaders will benefit from this as well.

The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership. Jeffrey K. Liker & Gary L. Convis.

Toyota trumpet-playing robot

Toyota trumpet-playing robot

The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership. Achieving and sustaining excellence through leadership development. Jeffrey K. Liker & Gary L. Convis. 2012. ISBN 9780071780780.  The two authors are very experienced in the Toyota Way and how it applies to American workers.  The effectiveness of Toyota’s responses to whatever comes its way is amazing – and the profits show it..    My takeaways are:

  • There are no quick fixes
  • Top leaders need to commit to continuous improvement ( their operations and themselves)
  • Top leaders develop others – continuously teaching (discovery method)
  • Commit to long term R&D at the floor level.
  • Leaders position teams to win
  • The approach is contextually dependent – people, division, plant, country
  • Metrics are used as a tool for self improvement – not a basis for rewards
  • You don’t go home until the problem is fixed.
  • The company commits to leadership development
  • The desire to want to be excellent is in us all.

This book is essential management reading.  A must have on your shelf.