Archive for August, 2007

New Ideas From Dead CEOs. Lasting lessons from the corner office. Todd G. Buchholz

New Ideas From Dead CEOs. Lasting lessons from the corner office. Todd G. Buchholz. 2007. ISBN 978006119628. You may have read the stories of these folks before . A.P.Giannini (Bank of America), David Sarnoff ( RCA) Tom Watson Sr & Jr., Akio Morita (Sony), Sam Walton, Estee’ Lauder, Ray Kroc, Mary Kay Ash, Walt Disney. Buchholz gives us fresh insights into their very different backgrounds, shaping moments, relationships and ultimate contributions. Lessons learned for me. The Open Source movement is built on a major technology sharing forum, well Sarnoff did that and more with building TV technology in the US a long time ago. We see that same sharing culture displayed by major firms today such as Herman Miller. I did not know the angst that Thomas Watson Sr put Tommy (Jr) through, nor really how crazy John Patterson of NCR , who single handedly invented professional sales in America, was yet he shaped Tom Sr into one successful salesman. Quick, easy read written by an economist who writes well and clearly. Lots to learn here. Did you hear the one from Seth Godin, ” I do no consulting. If I did, I would need to think I could help my clients. No one helps you change, change comes from within.’ This book could help start the change from within.

The Marketing Mavens. Noel Capon.

The Marketing Mavens. Noel Capon. 2007. isbn 9780307354099. Another valuable text from Crown Business. I was prepared for yet another academic view of “the old regular big companies.” Yet Capon really does deliver an easy to read and very useful marketing analysis book. It is fascinating and useful to read how th every large companie slike Samsung, Amazon, Vodaphone , Dell and Toyota made dramatic shifts in their market approach and learned from their customers. I was particularly interested in the steps SAP took to recover from the MySAP and E-City initiatives which resulted in their corporate messaging move away from the technology and toward customer benefits. Did you know Dell is now no. 2 in PC sales in China and is hurting Lenovo on their home turf? How about Oracle using the Oracle Technology network as their primary marketing channel, resulting in significant uptick in sales and a decrease in marketing expense? The author has done us all a great favor through his depth of research.

Spook Country. William Gibson.

Spook Country. William Gibson.2007. ISBN 9780399154300. Possibly the easiest book to read that Gibson has written. The first of his stories which has used Vancouver, and that’s cool. I keep trying to locate the characters in what street and building they were talking about. A few characters from Pattern Recognition have returned, which I thnk is also a first for him. Once you understand the various interplays of the characters, the book races right along.  There  truly is a spook country. But you never know what the story is really about until the final pages. If you like his work, this book does not disappoint. I look forward to when locator art is available. Good book for the geek in you.

Pattern Recognition. William Gibson.

Pattern Recognition. William Gibson. 2003. ISBN 0425192938. Vancouver’s most famous SF author paints some pretty incredible scenes with this one based in London, Tokyo, and Moscow, not that far in the future, The heroine is a coolhunter, someone who recognizes trends and patterns of behavior before anyone else and sells advice to marketing companies for big bucks. Oh and she has negative reactions to labels so she lives in generic clothes and lodgings. He grabs your attention from behind and before you know it you care about this mystery she is drawn to solve and all the ancillary characters involved. Great summer read and he nails how some companies are trying to manipulate word of mouth marketing.  OK Spook country has been released (And its location is  Vancouver)

The New Influencers. A marketers guide to the new social media. Paul Gillin

The New Influencers. A marketers’ guide to the new social media. Paul Gillin. 2007. ISBN 1884956653. This title is a tad misleading, because the book is pretty well focussed on blogging, blogs, tagging and podcasts. The explosive nature of social media, means that much more has happened since he sent this book to the press. However it is still a good resource. The foreword by Geoffrey Moore is a treasure. Also the small stories about influencers etc in this area are very useful. (Do you know what Dan Bricklin is up to these days? ) Gillin sends you to some applicable resources. E.g. Podsafe music is “free” music that you can use on your podcast, provided the artist gets attribution. It will date pretty fast, but if you can get it from the library etc. it is a worthwhile read.

Pyro Marketing. The four step strategy to ignite customer evangelists and keep them for life. Greg Stielstra

Pyro Marketing. The four step strategy to ignite customer evangelists and keep them for life. Greg Stielstra. 2005. ISBN 9780060776701. A short well written book that really delivers what it promised. Did you ever wonder how Mel Gibson was able to be so successful with the Passion of Christ movie ($500M on a $45M budget) or how Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life became the best selling hardcover of all time? This book uses the campaigns of these products to lay out a plan for any break out marketing campaign, that fits todays marketplace, in record time. Traditional mass market ad practitioners will not like this book. It is pragmatic, easy to follow and due to our research at Rocket Builders, we know it works. It reaffirms that if you do the work, build a great product , put it in front of those who really want to buy it and make it easy for them to spread the word to others, you will be successful. For a business book, the author has done a very good job on his bibliography and annotations. These words did not just spring from the authors mind, he did the research. Buy it and enjoy the read.

Fooled by Randomness. The hidden role of chance in life and markets. Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Fooled by Randomness. Nassim Nicholas Taleb. 2004. ISBN 0812975219. Wow! a quant who is an entertaining writer. You may howl with laughter at one point, turn the page and then come face to face with your own sobering human foibles reading this book. You may never trust a broker/traders track record every again. Taleb just makes so much sense in light of his life experience. Most of us end up confusing pur luck for skill. Many of us have had to work for his “empty suits” (CEO/leaders who look good, are tall and can really use power point, yet they bring so little to the table). What if all the major “leaders” in our world are only recognized as successful because they have been in the right place at the right time? There are as many or more who are their equals or betters who made different choices. What if present day institutions are no wiser than those we ridicule from the 18th century? What proof do we have not to remain classical skeptics? As someone who loved probability and stats all my life this writer is a kindred spirit. I chuckled through his rationale as to why he does not read the paper nor use the media for news. The news reports the noise so that we miss the significant event. In recent months I have really worked to rise above the noise, and it has made quite a difference in my point of view. This is a must buy book.

All Tomorrow’s Parties. William Gibson

All Tomorrow’s Parties. William Gibson. 1999. ISBN 0441007554. Summer reading looks like more Gibson, Vancouvers resident sci fi specialist.. So its not that far into the future after Neuromancer. Those who are in the know are plugged into the Net. Some have taken, a since withdrawn ,drug that greatly improves their discernment powers of major nodal changes in the fabric of the Ne. The action jumps between Tokyo and San Francisco. The Bay bridge has been condemned and a host of homeless people have built homes and businesses on it ala London Bridge in the 1700’s. Fast paced as Gibson does it, the world may or may not end, perhaps change for the good or the worse, but its an entertaining filled chronicle replete with different characters and semi familiar settings. He gives us good guys, bad guys and lots of grey people in between. You may never look at a 7-11 the same again! His new book Spook Country, located in Vancouver, comes out this week.

The Shockwave Rider. John Brunner

The Shockwave Rider. John Brunner. 1975. ISBN 0345274725. In my pursuit of prescient authors, I discovered John Brunner, a big hit in the 70s who passed away in ’95. He invented the term “worm” It was a chore to find this book ( Use but well worth it. Imagine a world where the arms race is replaced by the brain race. Individuals with the promise of high intellect are taken to a special “school” and trained to be the wisest of them all for $3M a year each by the govt. What happens if none of the “brightest” ones breaks out and rebels? This takes place in a society that is increasingly “dumber” and the “Net” /govt is becoming more controlling over individual lives. Plus the population is evermore “on the move” having adopted a “plug in” life style which has led to multiple life style crisis, heavy drug use and teenagers roaming in vicious tribes. This book is 32 yrs old, but it is relevant. The authors style may throw you, but it holds your interest. I recommend it.

Wikipedia says ” His 1968 novel Stand on Zanzibar won the 1969 Hugo Award for best science fiction novel, and is now considered a classic of the genre. The Jagged Orbit won the British SF Award in 1971. His novel The Sheep Look Up (1972) was a prophetic warning of ecological disaster. Brunner’s best-known work is perhaps 1975‘s proto-Cyberpunk The Shockwave Rider, in which he coined the term “worm“, used to describe software which reproduces itself across a computer network.”

Word of Mouth Marketing. How smart companies get people talking. Andy Sernovitz

Word of Mouth Marketing. How smart companies get people talking. Andy Sernovitz. 2007. ISBN978-1-195-9333-8. The founder of the Word of Mouth Marketing Assoc. ( this author has done everything he writes about, and continues to do so. It is a real treasure house of activities to drive discussion and customers to your company. We are advocates of getting prospects to put up their hand. As a long time sales guy I know that my chances of a sale are greatly increased if the prospect contacts me first. Here is a book with hundreds of ideas to get that to happen. WOMMarketing is not a fast process, but it is the momentum builder which beats any advertising hands down in cost and effectiveness. The best part of the book, he has placed all the ideas in a systematic, proven, ethical and logical process that any company can follow. Lesson reinforced, its all about the details in execution that spell success or failure in a company. A must buy., regular read for all sales/marketing/CEO types