Book Review: Inspired

Worth Reading?

Yes.


Inspired- Marty Cagan.

Why?

This book was embedded somewhere in my “To Be Read” pile for several years. It should have been closer to the top. Marty Cagan, founding partner of the Silicon Valley Product Group, former VP, Product at eBay, and other things… has provided a really great group of insights in this work. [Read more…]

Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business

Worth Reading?

Yes.

Why?

In the buzzword compliant world of business we so often hear about the importance of the customer. Seems obvious. After all, that’s where the money comes in, right? And yet even with better tools like customer journey maps and user personas, as consumers or business customers we still experience challenging interactions with business from brand and product level information seeking through purchase and so on.

I think this is because even when companies, (through senior management, brand or product managers), WANT to have a customer focus, they might not necessarily have frameworks, roadmaps or tools to take them from strategy to execution. This book offers ideas to do all of this. While I like to think that I’ve had a good customer focus as a product manager, the ideas here – though concept and example – offer solid methods for doing a better job in both understanding and execution.

Book Review: Beautiful Visualization

Worth Reading?

Yes.

Why?

First Word: If you get this book, I don’t suggest doing so for a black & white device or a handheld. (So small Kindle is likely a bad idea. iPad would be fine.) There’s a lot of graphics and meaningful color use, so I think small screen or b&w would be a bad experience.

As to the content…

If you’re doing anything with big data, designing dashboards, or otherwise dealing with info graphics, this is a great read. We’ve had the cliche of “Death by PowerPoint” for awhile now, but the reality is solid presentations and graphical representations of data can show us patterns and clarity in data not typically available from raw tables. (Even if a lot of the weaker efforts have resulted in serious audience abuse via PowerPoint.)
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Book Review: Why We Buy – Updated 2009 Edition

Worth Reading?

Yes.

Why?


It’s been years since I’ve read the original. This book is a must read if you have anything to do with marketing products of any sort to just about anyone. Does that seem a bit strong of an endorsement? Perhaps.

Underhill may have written this book primarily to offer up insights into the retail marketplace and the mind and behavior of retail shoppers, (as well as promote his own business), but the insights are useful beyond these goals. One basic tenet for just about anyone marketing or selling anything is to “Know Your Customer.” Underhill’s depth of experience in this area is amazing. From simple day-to-day observations to the insights he draws from them, you can get a real feel for what’s going on inside a consumer’s decision making process.
[Read more…]