Category Archives: book reviews

More on Twitter… a free book and webinar!

Yesterday the post referred to Twitter, and just this morning I read the author of a new book on social media effectiveness is offering a webinar and his book free. I’ve already downloaded and began to read it, and have signed up to hear his presentation. From the website:

You’ll learn how to build your reach, engineer contagious ideas and measure your results, through data-backed, scientifically-proven best practices.

If you’re interested in learning more about the productivity and successes using Twitter, Facebook and other social media, check out the webinar today, and download his book for free from Amazon. (The bunny is for a reason!)

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Business Model Generation

I heard the author of Business Model Generation speak today. Alexander Osterwalder presented a talk on business models, so important since all businesses need one, but many have no clue to what it is.

In fact, the author asked the audience to define “business model”, and quite surprising, no two definitions were alike, and many were quite extreme in their similarities. He says this is because we do not have a shared language when discussing business models. He defines business model:

Describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value.

The method he presents in designing a business model works on understanding 9 building blocks that show the logic of how a company intends to make money: customer segments, value propositions, channels of delivery, customer relationships, revenue streams, key resources, key activities, key partnerships and cost structure.

His book offers a strategic and methodological way of defining, designing, and implementing a business model for any organization.

Guts, talent and luck!

Has someone ever recommended a good book to you and you know you have to read it?

I hate when that happens.

This time, the someone was a writer with Tech Crunch, and he suggested a book “Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky: How the Top 1% of Entrepreneurs Profit from Global Chaos”. Now I haven’t read Sarah Lacy’s first book, so I’m not sure of her writing style. But the article in Tech Crunch convinced me to at least go to Amazon, and check out what others have said about it.

BIG MISTAKE! Go to Amazon and just ‘shop’? Right; no way. It was available for the kindle and so in 2 seconds I downloaded it, and couldn’t put it down for the first hour of reading. Lacy spent forty weeks traveling through Asia, South America and Africa, from Rwanda to Brazil, from Israel to India, “looking for the most impressive up-and-comers the developed world has never heard of….yet. ” She tells stories of opportunity in the midst of chaos.

A student came to me yesterday and said he didn’t realize how many business opportunities he ‘didn’t see before’. He told me that when he tells his friends he is an entrepreneurship major, they jump and tell him their ideas. He remarked but they don’t know what to do with them. I told him to tell them that you do. But, I told him, “You have to do it!”

The difference between the entrepreneurs in Lacy’s book and the ones walking around campus in San Antonio Texas is only culture and language. “There are many paths to entrepreneurial success, but none of them are easy. Each requires a compelling and intoxicating combination of guts, hard work, talent, timing, and luck.”

A must read!!

Collaboration that builds breakthroughs!

If I say Thomas Edison, what comes to mind?

The light bulb.

You’d be right, and wrong. The light bulb was a product of a team: the dream by Edison, drawn by Batchelor, mathematically proved by Upton, built by Kruesi and Boehm, and tested by Lawson, Force, and Jehl. The reality is that as a genius, Edison built teams of great minds, with a passion for learning, and a commitment for excellence. He’d put together one great team, divide them into small teams with a goal and let them work independent. He is quoted as saying:

I generally instructed them on the general idea of what I wanted carried out, and when I came across an assistant who was particularly ingenious, I would sometimes refues to help him out in his experiments, telling him to see if he could not work it out himself, as as to encourage him.

Edison, the genius of all geniuses, accepted that he alone did not possess all the answers, but together, his team usually did.

I’m reading a book, The Orange Revolution: How One Great Team Can Transform an Entire Organization, and if you are in need of developing a work team, an exemplar team, or as the authors of the book call them “Breakthrough Teams”, you might like to read this book.

It’s not over, yet

The year is almost, but not quite over. You still have time to read and prepare for the new year. Not like resolutions for the new year, more like “planning”. I’ve got some new ideas I want to try, some things I’ve been thinking about, and now reading more about. So maybe you could be doing the same. A new business idea? A change? A new direction? Whatever it is, do some planning first.

Here are some suggestions of reading resources, that might lead you to the next year in a new frame of mind.

Blogs:
Upstart Boot Camp

docstock (for businesses)

Smashwords

The Startup MBA

How To Read a Balance Sheet

And for fun and creativity:
The future of print

This should be a beginning. So much more to read, but I’ll catch you on the upside of the year! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! May it bring you what you want!

Habits for an effective, productive person

If you haven’t read Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, now is the time. This book has sold 10 million copies and continues to be a best seller. Stephen Covey is an internationally respected leadership authority and promotes that true success encompasses a balance of personal and professional effectiveness. I’ve read the book 3 times and recommend it to students every semester since I’ve been teaching.

I recently read an article that supports the Seven Habits notion of being highly effective in everything one does. The article, Eight Habits of Highly Productive People, is also a must read.

The author states:

I think productivity is really how you manage yourself, and the habits you practice. By selectively practicing certain habits over others, you can get a lot more output for your time. Here, I’ll share with you my top 8 habits in productivity. Practice them and compare how your productivity changes afterward.

Read the article, but here is her take on productivity:

Habit 1: Ruthlessly cut away the unimportant (and focus on the important)
Habit 2: Allocate breaks strategically
Habit 3: Remove productivity pitstops (i.e. distractions)
Habit 4: Tap into your inspiration
Habit 5: Create barriers to entry
Habit 6: Optimize time pockets
Habit 7: Set timelines
Habit 8: Automate everything possible
Apply the 8 Habits of Productive People

Serendipitity while reading “Where good ideas come from”

The book Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation led me to music I had never heard before, a study on entrepreneurs from Stanford University, and another way of using Facebook. And that was just the beginning.

I’ll start with ideas.  Where do good ideas come from?  According to the author, they don’t materialize in a vacuum. Good ideas, he says, come from the social or informational interactions in diverse and unique settings.  He identifies seven “patterns” in which new ideas are formed and backs them up with examples. I haven’t finished, but the take aways so far are leading me on a new journey:

1. You don’t reach Serendip by plotting a course for it.  You have to set out in good faith for elsewhere and lose your bearings serendipitously. (A quote by J. Barth, a postmodernist writer)

2.Music. The author shares an example of how diversity in thinking led musicians Eno and Bryne to produce My Life in the Bush of Ghosts:

“Rather than featuring conventional pop or rock singing, most of the vocals are sampled from other sources, such as commercial recordings of Arabic singers, radio disc jockeys, and an exorcist. Musicians had previously used similar sampling techniques, but never before been used “to such cataclysmic effect” as on My Life.”

If you don’t buy the whole album on itunes, at least buy America is Waiting.

3. A study in the late 90s investigated the relationship between business innovation and diversity.  The results showed the most creative individuals consistently had broad social networks that extended outside their organization and involved people from diverse fields of expertise.

“Diverse, horizontal social netweorks were three times more innovative than uniform, vertical networks. Groups united by shared values and long-term familiarity, conformity and convention tended to dampen any potential creative sparks.”

4. Which leads me to Facebook, and any social networking site like LinkedIn. Not your friends, but acquaintances. Or people you hardly know because they are in another field or industry than yours.  As other studies have shown, building bridges outside your realm of existence, allows you access to new ideas that you can use in a new context. Looking at those “weak ties” of your social network allows information to travel back and forth throughout a network.  And it is not just the speed in which ideas and information travels across a network, it is the openness the information from one area triggers a connection that leads to a new breakthrough.

Obviously, I suggest your own journey of serendipity while reading this book.