Innovator’s dilemma by Clayton Christensen

One of those books with several sticky findings. Disruptive vs incremental innovations and simple reason why big companies fail to disrupt – they are too big, their markets are big and shareholder expectations for growth are big. It’s almost impossible to target niche markets for them. This is why.

Now, the crazy part – the book was published in 1997. 19 years! Currently, I know massive amount of MBA studies, stuck with evangelizing sustaining innovations.

You can find author’s own description here.  And I found Book Video Club today. Wow!

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Strongly reminds “Next 100 years by George Friedman”. In a contrary sense. While Friedman predicts the future, Taleb simply points out that the biggest impact in the world comes from unpredictable events.

Here is Wikipedia page about this book is written nicely if you want to go deeper. You can buy this book on Amazon.

Takeaways:

  • Turkey life changes on a day 1001
  • Extremistan and Mediocristan and why Gaussian distribution (bell curve) does not work
  • Empty suites – experts
  • Narrative fallacy, confirmation bias and other foolish beliefs.

The black swan book mind map

Zapp! The Lightning of Empowerment by William Byham, Jeff Cox

Sounds like motivating and leading your colleagues is an easy task if aware about the needs.

NOT.

I like this book. It’s not outdated, even 20+ years since it was published. Written in M. Gladwell style it brings the leading education through simple storytelling. Zapp (the positive) vs Sapp fight kept me engaged for the whole day (yeap, it’s a day read).

Takeways:

There are three steps of Zapp (thanks to kevinb on this post)

  1. Maintain Self-Esteem. Help employees feel confident and satisfied in the work they do.
  2. Listen and Respond with Empathy. Understand their needs and concerns, and don’t assume that you know what they are.
  3. Ask for Help Solving Problems. Involve your employees in solutions. Seek ideas, suggestions, and information.

And the three steps lead to the Soul of Zapp: Offer Help without Taking Responsibility. Managers need to be there for their employees, being supportive and providing encouragement and help, but without taking the employees’ work on themselves or micro-managing them.

For Zapp to work, people need:
1. Direction, consisting of key result areas (the directions we want to go), measurements (ways we know we are moving in the right direction), and goals (something to tell us if we’re there yet).
2. Knowledge, including job skills, training, information, and specific goals.
3. Resources, such as tools, materials, facilities, and money.
4. Support, including approval, coaching, constant feedback, and encouragement.

It’s easy to “sapp” people. But having Zapped! employees is difficult: it takes time, energy and a belief that the organization is only as good as its people. If you truly desire continuous improvement and the opportunity to reach your loftiest goals, your organization needs to get Zapped!

Authors on what the Zapped means:

responsibility, a sense of ownership, satisfaction in accomplishments, power over what and how things are done, recognition for their ideas, and the knowledge that they’re important to the organization.”

Digital minds by WSI

Got this book during digital marketing seminar in Vilnius. A bit outdated. Not very recommended for anyone with more than 100 hours of reading about digital marketing. Very useful resource for any business manager to get a quick overview, learn definitions, concepts. There are 12 topics covered in the book:

  • Competitor Analysis: Your Road Map to Winning the Web War
  • Website Development: Seven Steps to Success
  • eCommerce: A Shopping Revolution
  • Content Marketing: Make An Impression
  • Social Media: Sales, Marketing, and Reputation Management
  • Digital Advertising: Expand Your Reach
  • Landing Page Optimization: It’s About Psychology, Not Technology
  • SEO: The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same
  • Mobile Devices: They Are Commanding Our Attention
  • Email Marketing: Evolving in a Social World
  • Marketing Automation: Dream or Reality?
  • Analytics: The Role of Data in Digital Marketing
  • Conclusion: Technology of the Future

 

The tipping point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

Definitely one of mandatory books for every marketer and entrepreneur. Three rules:

  • The Law of the Few. 80/20, or, Paretto, means there are capabilities of people to be/act as:
    • Connectors are the people in a community who know large numbers of people and who are in the habit of making introductions. Network hubs, if you will. I consider myself being one.
    • Mavens are “information specialists”. They are capable of collecting, analyzing and delivering the information about marketplace as well as other knowledge.
    • Salesmen are “persuaders”, charismatic people with powerful negotiation skills. Why? Because of empathy they own.
  • The Stickiness Factor.  Sesame Street is the lead example here.
  • The Power of Context. “Epidemics are sensitive to the conditions and circumstances of the times and places in which they occur”. This reminds me M. Porter’s market strengthening fit concept.

The beginners guide to Online marketing by Neil Patel & Ritika Puri

I’ve found myself the very epicenter of Neil’s target audience while putting lots of effort to understand and realize the universe of digital marketing. I’ve done dozens of courses, starting with Google Analytics and AdWords academy, Avinash Kaushik, Coursera’s academic stuff on marketing, strategy and management – got quite a fragmented picture of what are the tools. But I lacked the bigger picture – how they are interconnected, how they form the whole system. There were several findings at the same time, and one of them was this course.

It all seems pretty nice and logical. When you do finish the course. But it takes guts and repetition to automate the skills – focus, understand your client, get the traffic, optimize everything to convert better, nurture and retain your client. And then it does split, connect and interconnect – SEO, PPC, affiliate and social networks, page speed and clarity gets to the best possible outcomes.

Yes, recommended. Before taking serious course (live or online). It just puts the layer base, lists the tools and options so you can start digging even deeper.

Landing page conversion course

Unbounce does a lot of content marketing. I believe, vast majority of their clients are looking for quality traffic and high conversion rates, so this course – Landing page conversion course – makes a big sense to all of their leads and prospects. Step by step explanations and clear structure made it really a joyful read to me.

Main takeaways?

Clear understanding what the landing page is, how it differs from home pages and types of landing page itself. It also brought me the checklist (which, using repetition, comes as a handy technique when brainstorming digital strategy):

  1. Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
    1. The main headline
    2. A supporting headline
    3. A reinforcement statement
    4. A closing argument
  2. The hero shot (images/video showing context of use)
  3. The benefits of your offering
    1. A bullet point list summary of benefits
    2. Benefit and features in detail
  4. Proof
    1. Social proof (I’ll have what she’s having)
    2. Trust indicators
  5. A single conversion goal – your Call-To-Action (CTA) (with or without a form)

It also nicely puts the consistency – colors, pictures, message and other details across funnel stages, metrics, bit of psychology when offering choices, optimization and some technical stuff. Totally recommended for anyone looking how to build landing page or start with digital marketing from the scratch.

Wireframe of blueprint landing page

Strategy Implementation by Copenhagen Business School, a Coursera course

Wow, this course is really wow. We all are “strategists” – check our LinkedIN profiles :). But, in essence, we lack doers, who could implement the strategies. And this ability, I think, is the main separator for being extremely successful vs mediocre leader.

  • Structures:
    • Goals and measures: Balanced Score Cards cascading, OKRs, stretching objectives and how to measure Immeasurables and Intangibles
    • Organizational structure
      • Dimensions: Centralization, Formalization, Complexity
      • Mechanistic VS Organic
      • Functional structure vs divisional structure vs Matrix structure VS Network structure, autonomous units
    • Organizational culture
      • core values, beliefs and traditions within the organization
        • that have worked well in the past
        • are considered valid for resolving problems
      • layers of culture
        • espoused values
        • practiced values
  • Managerial skills:
    • Communication and knowledge sharing
      • repeated, main message standing out, backed by data, real stories
      • self organizing teams
      • tools: surveys, suggestion boxes, focus groups
      • Building trust to be comfortable sharing bad news
    • Managing resistance to change
      • Layers of resistance (lack of agreement on the problem, lack of agreement on the initiative to solve the problem, lack of action)
      • models:
        • Kurt Lewin (Unfreeze, change, refreeze)
        • John Kotter (Establish sense of urgency, form a coalition, create a vision, communicate the vision, empower to act, create short-term wins, produce more change, institutuinalize new approaches)
      • Assets for strategy implementation:
        • Short and medium term actions
        • Metrics
        • New ofranizational structure
        • Communication activities
        • Pillars of organizational culture
        • Influential actors
    • Power and informal networks
      • structural sources of power:
        • formal authority
        • relevance of the person, department or initiative (to strategic objectives)
        • autonomy
        • physical location
        • position in organizational networks
      • Personal skills of power
        • skills
        • past performance
        • knowledge of the organization and its social system
        • physical characteristics
      • communication network, advice network, trust network, centrality – they have some common element, which is the link in between the structures
      • establishing new connections in informal networks:
        • assigning tasks to groups, not individuals
        • rotate employees among offices
        • internal conference
        • communities of practice
        • lunches for interaction