Only the Paranoid Survive

Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points that Challenge Every Company

by Andrew S. Grove

“A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. The change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end.”

Andy Grove (1936-2016), former chairman of Intel, describes six categories of 10X changes: competition, technology, customers, suppliers, complementors, and regulation. “When a Wal-Mart moves into a small town, the environment changes for every retailer in that town. A 10X factor has arrived. When the technology for sound in movies became popular, every silent actor and actress personally experienced the 10X factor of technological change. When container shipping revolutionized sea transportation, a 10X factor reordered the major ports around the world.” Continue reading “Only the Paranoid Survive”

Don’t Sell Me, Tell Me

Don’t Sell Me, Tell Me: How to use storytelling to connect with the hearts and wallets of a hungry audience

by Greg Koorhan

Greg Koorhan’s main message is to “stop sounding like everyone else and tell your own, unique story.”

“A study by the Emory Institute in Atlanta… found that just thinking about an action triggers the same emotional and sensory area of the brain that performing the action does… So by telling a story associated with you or your business, you can trigger the emotions that make your customer feel, even for a brief moment, as if they’ve experienced the same benefit… Assuming it’s a good experience, don’t you think they’ll want more?”

“When looking at data, the language areas of the brain light up, but not the emotional and sensory areas. These areas are triggered only by stories. This means that your story can engage your audience in ways data can’t… When data and stories are used together, audiences are moved both emotionally and intellectually.”

“Your Story IS Your Brand… Your brand is actually tied closely to your values. And by nurturing your values, you develop a theme. And out of your theme grows your story… Start with your values, then your theme, character archetype and emotional tone. Once you’ve got the elements of your story in place, your entire marketing and advertising platform can grow out of it.”

Continue reading “Don’t Sell Me, Tell Me”

Fans Not Customers

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Fans Not Customers: How to Create Growth Companies in a No Growth World

by Vernon W. Hill II with Bob Andelman

Vernon W. Hill II founded Commerce Bank in 1973. In 2007, the bank “was sold to Toronto-based TD Bank for $8.5 billion, producing a 30-year, 23 percent annual shareholder return. Everyone profited, including shareholders and team members.” In 2010, he co-founded Metro Bank, bringing the same service culture to British banking. In Fans Not Customers he reveals the secret sauce of his business model. This book is about branding, differentiation, corporate culture, and organic growth, but the dominant theme is providing exceptional customer service. Continue reading “Fans Not Customers”

Managing the Unexpected

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Managing the Unexpected: Assuring High Performance in an Age of Complexity

by Karl E. Weick and Kathleen M. Sutcliffe

University of Michigan business school professors Weick and Sutcliffe studied common management attributes of “high reliability organizations” (HROs) such as aircraft carriers and nuclear power plants, where glitches can have deadly consequences. “The key difference between HROs and other organizations in managing the unexpected often occurs in the earliest stages, when the unexpected may give off only weak signals of trouble… Managing the unexpected is about alertness, sensemaking, updating, and staying in motion.” Continue reading “Managing the Unexpected”

The Unpublished David Ogilvy

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The Unpublished David Ogilvy: His secrets of management, creativity, and success—from private papers and public fulminations

This collection of David Ogilvy’s memos, letters, speech excerpts, and other documents was compiled by an Ogilvy & Mather executive to commemorate the founder’s 75th birthday. The writings span a 50-year period from 1935-1986. The cool thing about this book is that most of the contents were not written with the intent to be published, so it feels like a behind-the-scenes look at his management style as well as his thoughts on various subjects. Continue reading “The Unpublished David Ogilvy”

How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything…in Business (and in Life)

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How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything…in Business (and in Life)

by Dov Seidman

The book is about ethics and reputation, value-based cultures vs. rule-based cultures, and as the author likes to say, “getting your hows right.” There are some valuable messages in the book. Continue reading “How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything…in Business (and in Life)”