Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers

A must read for anyone in the hi tech industry. Not just for sales and marketing folks, but for product managers and developers. This is an eye opener in how to best sell high tech products.  I only first read this a couple years ago.

Some key takeaways for me:

  • When the company is crossing the chasm, everyone in the company must be focused on crossing, not just the Sales & Marketing groups. You need company unity.
  • Have to show your new technology enables strategic leap forward for your customer.
  • Learned the term Whole Product, The minimum set of products and services needed to fulfill the compelling reason to buy for the target customer. Every high tech company needs to define their œwhole product
  • If the bug report and product enhancement list are not managed properly it will bring the entire development organization to it knees. The whole product manager needs to own the list. Everyday the enhancements list is in the hands of the original pioneers, the company risks making additional development commitments to un-strategic ends. I’ve seen this happen.”

Win – Language that works Today

One of the top 5% of the books I’ve read. Very timely book about the language of business that works today, not 5 years ago. Win is full of learning experiences. It’s a book I keep within reach. I review it often.

Words are a weapon. Used right, they greatly enhance ability to persuade the listener. Luntz provides examples of words & phrases that work today. He also provides popular words & phrases that worked pre-recession which are no longer valued with the post recession population.

One the better quotes I like from Win is “You can accomplish the right thing, in the right order, and the right time, only when the entire organization understands what is important and why.”

If the language your business uses to communicate matters, I highly recommend you read this.

Follow the author at @FrankLuntz

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brain (with hyperlinks)

The Shallows was an excellent read.  It was also a heavy read.  There were a few chapters that dove into how the brain works.  I wouldn’t classify The Shallows as a pop culture book.

The author walks the reader through many forms of communication and provides an interesting perspective along the way.

CD cover of book

I learned that books, as we know them today (sentences, paragraphs, chapters combined into a book) didn’t come into existence until ~1500s (the written word existed for a preceding 1000-2000 years).  Until then, the written word was a long long continuous run of words, no punctuation, no sentence structure, no paragraph structure.  The innovation of those structures hadn’t yet been envisioned. Books were originally believed to “dumb down” (my words) society; until then we were largely a verbal society.  Magazines were originally believed to replace books.  The disruptive Edison phonograph was also thought to eliminate books as people could conveniently listen to books.  There have been a lot of potential book-displacement technologies over the centuries, but the written book prevails.  Interestingly, I “read” this book via a streaming book service, audiobooks.com, using my smart phone + bluetooth headset in the car.

Will the internet displace the book?  One great quote: the internet isn’t a learning enrichment tool, but an interruption system.  One component of the title’s premise of the book, “Is the internet making us dumb?” speaks towards hyperlinks.  How instead of providing value, hyperlinks cause such a distraction to reading on-line, that we’re unable to extract deep meaning from the text.  Instead of focusing the brain on deep understanding of the material, it’s continually asked to perform mini-evaluations along the way. Example, “should I click that link?”  When we do click, we’ve potentially shifted our brain again into first gear to read some related content. Then again and again, never submerging ourselves into the deep reading mode where we (apparently) comprehend and retain the most. Don’t believe the author, read the same book review here without any hyperlinks – which was easier to read?

The Shallows deserves a second read.

Who should read this book: Internet content creators

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brain

The Shallows was an excellent read.  It was also a heavy read.  There were a few chapters that dove into how the brain works.  I wouldn’t classify The Shallows as a pop culture book.

The author walks the reader through many forms of communication and provides an interesting perspective along the way.

I learned that books, as we know them today (sentences, paragraphs, chapters combined into a book) didn’t come into existence until ~1500s (the written word existed for a preceding 1000-2000 years).  Until then, the written word was a long long continuous run of words, no punctuation, no sentence structure, no paragraph structure.  The innovation of those structures hadn’t yet been envisioned. Books were originally believed to “dumb down” (my words) society; until then we were largely a verbal society.  Magazines were originally believed to replace books.  The disruptive phonograph was also thought to eliminate books as people could conveniently listen to books.  There have been a lot of potential book-displacement technologies over the centuries, but the written book prevails.  Interestingly, I “read” this book via a streaming book service, audiobooks.com, using my smart phone + bluetooth headset in the car.

Will the internet displace the book?  One great quote: the internet isn’t a learning enrichment tool, but an interruption system.  One component of the title’s premise of the book, “Is the internet making us dumb” speaks towards hyperlinks.  How instead of providing value, hyperlinks cause such a distraction to reading on-line, that we’re unable to extract deep meaning from the text.  Instead of focusing the brain on deep understanding of the material, it’s continually asked to perform mini-evaluations along the way. Example, “should I click that link?”  When we do click, we’ve potentially shifted our brain again into first gear to read some related content. Then again and again, never submerging ourselves into the deep reading mode where we (apparently) comprehend and retain the most. Don’t believe the author, read the same book (URL listed below) embedded with hyperlinks and pictures – which was easier to read?

https://stomphorst.ca/2012/07/26/the-shallows-what-the-internet-is-doing-to-our-brain-with-hyperlinks/

The Shallows deserves a second read.

Who should read this book: Internet content creators

Hot, Flat, and Crowded – pass the green energy please

I really enjoyed Thomas L. Friedman’s last book, The World Is Flat.  Friedman has a great perspective and way of stitching seemingly unrelated facts together to create a compelling argument.  Friedman has done the same in Hot, Flat, and Crowded.

For example, I learned that the CO2 emissions from Indonesia and Brazil (from clear cutting forests) account for 20% of global CO emissions.  This exceeds all the emissions from cars, trucks, trains, and boats in the world.  Even if we were to park every last car in North America, it seems like we woundn’t make a dent in reducing CO emissions.

The UN predicts by 2053 we will have 9 billion people on the planet.  That translates in to a lot of energy needs.  How much?  For example, at the time of the book’s writing, China alone is bringing online one coal fired powered electricity generating plant every two weeks.  That’s is 2GW of power, enough to power all the homes in Minneapolis, every two weeks.  It’s clear why air polution was such a grave concern during the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing.  If fact, Friedman sites a fact that 25% of the poluted air in L.A. comes from China.  Now that’s crazy importing.

At the time of this blog, the Ontario Government announced approval for a wind farm.  Obviously the wind farm won’t be located conviently beside where it is needed, GTA, nor likely be situated beside an existing hydro transmission line corridor, so we’ll have to construct everything.  Friedman sites a windfarm development in California that’s taking 13years from approval-to-supplying power.  That will bring Ontario’s 1st wind farm on-line in 2023.  We need the power now.

Friedman argues that by transforming the US in to green power leader, we could create a new economic engine.  However, Denmark has a high-efficiency policy for at least 2 decades (Gas is $8-9 gallon and 60% of their energy comes from renewables), yet what have I bought that’s manufactured in Demark because they have renewable engergy?  Nada.

Friedman argues a lot to reduce our oil dependency on middle-east countries as our dependency results with us indirectly funding the extremist’s war against us.  Seems logical.

Friedman made a convincing argument for what he call “electricity poverty”.  Peoples in development nations don’t have electricity, and therefore, simply, can’t learn after sunset.  No light, no reading, no learning.  It seems logical that that fact alone should significantly stifle their development.

Friedman made a convincing argument for what he call “electricity poverty”.  Peoples in development nations don’t have electricity, and therefore, simply, can’t learn after sunset.  No light, no reading, no learning.  It seems logical that that fact alone should significantly stifle their development.

What I learned

While one can’t watch TV, listen to the radio, read a blog or tech magazine without reading about greening something.  I wouldn’t consider myself a green-belt, and I’m still not after reading the Hot, Flat, and Crowded, but have a much clearer idea of what’s going on.  Lastly, I’m a big proponent of starting.  Too often we get bogged down in analysis paralysis.  Give me efficient and resonably priced tools to save energy, and I’ll use them, like my car that gets 35mpg.

The Cult of the Amateur – now I’m really scared

The Cult of the Amateur
by Andrew Keen
Link to book

There’s no way to make this brief.

Admittedly and ironically, this very book review is EXACTLY the type of amateurish dribble Cult of the Amateur states is saturating the Internet, watering-down our culture. I’m NOT a professional book reviewer, yet you’re reading this and based on how well I wrote it (did I actually write this?) or my hidden motives (the author could be my friend) you’ll choose to read it or not (which could be my intention). Also, I’ve spent my valuable time writing this book review for no monetary value to myself (at least that you’re aware of).

Cult of the Amateur provides an awakening perspective in to the underbelly of Web 2.0. Keen’s prime argument is the presumed collective intelligence of the masses DOESN’T outweigh that of an accredited expert, that Web 2.0 allows us to circumvent our practices of allowing experts and talent to bubble to the top, that *anyone* now can be perceived as being an expert, that the line between online consumer and publisher is now indistinguishable (1 unique channel for everyone), and that the potential loss of experts will have long-term damaging effect on our economy, culture and society.

The most striking example was of a renowned international global warming expert (by traditional standards), Dr. William Connolley, banished from Wikipedia after he repeatedly tried to correct inaccuracies in the global warming entry posted by an aggressive anonymous wikipedia editor. The Doctor was accused of “strongly pushing his POV (point of view) with systematic removal of any POV that does not match his own”. Dr. Connelley was put on editorial parole (limited to one entry per day). When Connelley challenged this with Wikipedia, the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee gave no weight to his international recognized credibility. For all we know, his anonymous foe was me (disclaimer: my SMEise on the topic is solely derived from An Inconvenient Truth). Everyone can now be an expert. How do we balance the necessity of having SMEs against the need for everyone to be heard? In the Web 2.0 world, the crowd has become the authority over what is true or not. Stephen Colbert did a wonderful satire on the democracy of truth of Wikipedia here: http://bit.ly/7A3ULz

I learned a significant amount of blogs are being programmatically created to support one persons perspective, repeatedly hyperlinking or cross-linking back to the original blog/story, therefore elevating that “story” to the top of the search engine’s findings, thereby manipulating Google’s search results (“Google bombing”). Don’t believe it? Insert “miserable failure” in to Google.

Cable/sat/TiVo companies are recording every movie you’re ever ordered, watched on their boxes, or searched for on their boxes. LinkedIn knows all your business relationships, Facebook is recording all your friends and conversations between them, Twitter knows the type of people you like to associate with, Google is recording *every* search you every conducted. Is the big brother of Orwell’s 1984 Web 2.0?

Read this. You need this perspective.

Stephen Colbert interviews Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales: http://bit.ly/7i4Mmg