Archive for the 'Technology Industry' Category

Competing Against Luck: The story of innovation and customer choice. Clayton M Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, & David S. Duncan.

Photo I took in Rochester, Minnesota 2005-12-3...

Competing Against Luck: The story of innovation and customer choice.  Clayton M Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, & David S. Duncan. .2016. ISBN  9780062435637.   As ever any book from Christensen is a delight to read. This one fleshes out the concept of a Job to Be Done as the driving force behind successful innovation.  Many successful and  innovative companies start out with a clear focus on the users job to be done and they are wildly successful. Later as this focus gets muddied by all the reams of data coming from the marketplace, many companies lose their way.   Using experience gained from the numerous companies they  have worked with over the years, the authors clearly show how the successful companies like Amazon, Intuit, The Khan Academy ,  The Mayo Clinic and others continue to stay focused on their North Star.  I recommend this book to anyone in a position of leadership to read, ponder , reread and implement.

A Truck Full Of Money. Tracey Kidder.

Soul of a New Machine

A Truck Full Of Money.  One man’s quest to recover from great success. Tracey Kidder. 2016.  ISBN 9780399589553.  I read Kidders seminal book , The Soul of a New Machine when I was first selling computer hardware.  It was a book that changed and then reinforced my outlook to these wonderful machines.  This  book takes a look at the career of Paul English – who co created Kayak and then struck big time money.  With his easy to read, cogent style, Kidder makes this into a novel that pulls you along English’s career track.  You will come away, knowing much more about the challengers and pull of programming/software engineering and the mindset of these very creative often difficult folks.  I recommend this book to anyone in the software industry today as well as those contemplating a career in it.

Innovation Tools. The most successful techniques to innovate cheaply and effectively. Evan Shellshear.

English: Open Innovation Model of the book

Innovation Tools. The most successful techniques to innovate cheaply and effectively.  Evan Shellshear.  2016.   Very current and well researched, this is a valuable book on Innovation tools from a thoughtful Aussie. Also there are numerous tools and guides on his website innovationtoolsbook.com.  The author has really wrapped up the bulk of innovation trends and momentum in this recent book. His case studies are bang on and directly applicable.  I suggest this is the book for any organization thinking and working on whole scale innovation.

Strictly Mobile. How the largest man-made platform in history is changing our world. Kevin Talbot ed.

English: New Mobile Cell Phone Technology

Strictly Mobile. How the largest man-made platform in history is changing our world. Kevin Talbot ed.  2016. ISBN 9781619614307. I like this type of anthologies. The author has collected the thoughts on leaders in the use of mobile technology on the future of what will be used.  Many thoughts are presented on AI,  medicine, education, autonomous self driving cars, robots, the moon/space travel, payments,  VR, AI/robotic  interactions enough that you will have your eyes opened on uses to today and in the immediate future.  Something for everybody in these short essays.

 

Beyond the Sales Process. 12 Proven Strategies for a Customer- Driven World. Stve Anderson & Dave Stein

English: Porter Generic Strategies

Beyond the Sales Process. 12 Proven Strategies for a Customer- Driven World.  Steve Anderson & Dave Stein.  2016.   ISBn 081443715X.  Another excellent Amacom  sales book. This book continues the current thoughts on selling value for high performance sales. Anyone from the field will recognize that this is just a much better way of doing things.   These authors show you how to spend the time in Discovery, Diagnosis, Design and Deliver they then go on to help you execute and sell the follow on value.  They have 12 Strategies on how to make this work.  I appreciate the practical and achievable steps they point out.  So once you finish Mastering  the Complex Sale – this is the next book to cement and extend your learning.  Essential for all top performers and Sales Managers.

30-Second Quantum Theory. The 50 most important thought provoking quantum concepts. Brian Clegg ed.

Classical and quantum fields and particles (sp...

30-Second Quantum Theory. The 50 most  important thought provoking quantum concepts. Brian Clegg ed.2014. ISBN 9781552679050. I was lent this by a friend, Brian,  and  I am so glad he did. It takes the Brits to be able to clearly write about what could be a complex subject(s).   I tried reading it each evening, with some success  but found that it truly hung together if I just sat down one Saturday and read it front to back.  My engineering school  during the late ’60s and early 70s gave me  an “education” on these topics, but I did not really “learn it” .  The strength of this book is to give you just enough glossary to understand a section (There are 7 sections) . to lay out each building block of theory in a section and if there is areal world example – quickly show you.  The final sections really flow as more and more applications come forward.  These reinforce what up to then seemed just theories into real products we use every day.  As an aside The Nazi persecution of Jewish scientists worked to their fleeing to the US , which gave their physics program such a boost.  But, the xenophobia of the MacCarthy era in the US drove much of the talent elsewhere away from the US.   Its a lesson we should learn from.

Mastering the Complex Sale, Exceptional Selling , The Prime Solution , by Jeff Thull.

 

 

Cover of "Mastering the Complex Sale: How...

 

Mastering the Complex Sale, Exceptional Selling , The Prime Solution , by Jeff Thull.  2010,  2006,  2005.  This set of books which detail the Complex Sale process from the point of view of  delivering value are easily the most completely thought out approach I have read to date on selling value.

 

Thull starts with a a simple idea, that sellers /solutions need to tie their offer into solving valuable real measurable business problems , from the customers point of view to enable real measurable value outcomes .  Like any simple idea, the details of delivery have far reaching impacts on sellers and customers.  He has many phrases which stick with you,  like always going for the no,  spectacular success comes from unspectacular  preparation,  no problem/pain no sale,  no surprises, the salesperson is like a doctor.

 

Thulls four separate steps are

 

  1. Discovery
  2. Diagnosis
  3. Design
  4. Deliver

 

But the devil is  in the details.   Thull provides the details needed tofill in this framework.   This approach has the potential to set any seller far away from the pack of competitors as well as making  customer relationships very competitor proof.   Of any approach, this one truly recognizes the uniqueness of very customer and how to ensure the customer gets that value as well as recognizes it. This is a  transformative process not only for the customer but the sellers organization as well.   A must have for if you are the complex sales marketplace.

 

Drive. Henry Ford, George Selden and the race to invent the auto car. Lawrence Goldstone.

Portrait of Henry Ford (ca. 1919)

Drive. Henry Ford, George Selden and the race to invent the auto car. Lawrence Goldstone. 2017. ISBN 9780553394184.  A well researched,  extensively footnoted and thorough work on what were very tumultuous times.  The author leads you back to how steam engines were first developed and then eventually what lead to “motorized” carriages.  You will see many parallels to other roads to invention in this book , including what Eldon Musk is trying to do with electric cars.  Selden would today be a master patent troll and Ford was not the only builder who ran counter to the “patent war”. The author stays well away from Fords “eccentricities” which might appear similar to Trump today.  The book holds your interest as the story builds.  Of great interest is just how far Europe was and remained ahead of the US in all this.  Once again the desire to have a monopoly was foremost in this industry early one as was the negative reputation of financiers.  Well worth the time ~ 4 hours.

7 Steps for Success for Sales Manager. A strategic guide to creating a winning sales team through collaboration. Max Cates.

English: Journal of Personal Selling & Sales M... 7 Steps for Success for Sales Manager. A strategic guide to creating a winning sales team through collaboration. Max Cates. 2015. ISBN 9780134212500.  Oh I wish I had this book a long time ago.  Much of my hard won learning would have come so much sooner. This is The Book for sales managers. It wraps up much of the current thought on leading teams while not forgetting these are sales teams.   If you are a sales manager, VP sales, CEO or aspire to be in that roles, this is a must buy book for you and you have to read it.  The style is easy going, realistic and you just know its useful content. What are you waiting for?

Merchants in the Temple. Inside Pope Francis’s secret battle against corruption in the Vatican. Gianluigi Nuzzi.

Gianluigi Nuzzi @cecilia

Merchants in the Temple. Inside Pope Francis’s secret battle against corruption in the Vatican. Gianluigi Nuzzi.  2015. ISBN 9781627798648.  This book ( and Journalist author) caused quite an uproar in Italy and the secular press when it came out. It is a basic description of how Pope Francis is determined to once and for all clean out the centuries of inefficient and corrupt practices that have crept int the Vatican.   It is fitting that the author fears for Francis’s life as it is intimated that the Mafia  has a deep hand in the Vatican bank and other areas and in past has reached out to protect its interests. You will read about the many and varied misuses of funds, assets , real estate and adopted privileged  that run rampant through the Holy See and how many noble men and clergy are committed to risk their reputations to help Francis in this task.  But there as many or more who vigorously resist any changes.  You will find out why Benedict retired and the years of discussion, reports on problems  and inaction well before  Francis.