Business –

Here Comes Everybody:
The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
– Clay Shirky – 2009

More free time and improved connectivity allow society to create new types of content.

People now have more free time and the ability to work on a number of user-based projects that include new types of collaboration and communication. Products such as Wikipedia, YouTube, blogs, and podcasts are forms of media that were not possible in the past and are often driven by user-generated content.

The lines have been blurred between professional and amateur media creation now that anyone can publish content and make money doing so.

Business, Media
Question: What new types of content will we as a society create in the future?

Trust Me, I’m Lying:
Confessions of a Media Manipulator
– Ryan Holiday – 2012

New media has different incentives and this can change the type of information we get.

Some blog writers for major news publications have incentives to create a dozen posts a day and do not have time to fact check the way some people expect. Through using services such as “Help a reporter out”, it is easier than ever to get a relatively legit news source to quote you on a topic that you know nothing about. We must take into consideration the fact that media is driven by page views and not fact-based journalism.

Business, Economics, Marketing, Media
Question: How is the news you read influenced by new media incentives?

The Filter Bubble:
What the Internet is Hiding from You
– Eli Pariser – 2011

Making guesses based on user signals can help companies give customers more of what they want whether for better or worse.

If you read a lot of online stories on basketball and someone else reads a lot of stories on Star Wars, each of you will start seeing related information in your news feed. You will see more basketball and sports articles and the other person will see more Star Wars and sci-fi related articles.

In some cases, this may be a welcome change and in other cases, it is not. This “better” content can shape how we see the world and may only show us content that we already agree with.

Business, Culture, Media, Technology
Question: Where have you noticed filter bubbles?

The Search:
How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture
– John Battelle – 2005

The way Google chooses to answer questions has an enormous impact on the type of information we find.

All algorithms have a bias of some sort. It is virtually impossible to expect Google to give us information without using some sort of clues or guesses at what we are looking for. These clues may be useful and necessary but we also must remember they are not perfect and that small changes in how it answers search queries can have a greater impact on business, society, and individuals.

Business, Media
Question: How might Google stop being the gateway for searching?

In The Plex:
How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives
– Steven Levy – 2011

Speed, experimentation, and willingness to take risks are core principles behind Google’s success.

The founders of Google understand that to stay competitive in the ever-changing technology industry, they must be willing to fail fast and learn from their mistakes. It is okay to try things that do not work as long as you learn from the process.

Question: How can you apply some of these values in your life to help reach new goals?

Groupon’s Biggest Deal Ever:
The Inside Story of How One Insane Gamble, Tons of Unbelievable Hype, and Millions of Wild Deals Made Billions for One Ballsy Joker
– Frank Sennett – 2012

Using ideas from one business can help you come up with ideas for others.

Groupon took ideas from one business and moved them to a different situation. The ability to draw on ideas from one situation and transfer them to another can be very useful in designing new business models.

Question: What innovative business ideas have you had that were sparked other companies?

The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs:
Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success
– Carmine Gallo – 2010

Say no to 1,000 things.

By being very deliberate in what you are working on and keeping focused on what is important, you will be able to do a few things well instead of a lot of things sub-par.

When Steve Jobs came back to Apple in the mid-90s, he narrowed down the product line. They kept only four products and focused all of the company’s energy into making these items great. They ended up with two laptops and two desktops, a consumer and professional version of each.

Question: What can I say no to?

The Future of a Radical Price
– Chris Anderson – 2009

Businesses can make a profit while giving away things of value for free in order to make money in other areas.

Google gives away free search results but makes money on ads. Musicians let radio stations play their music for free but charge for merchandise and concerts. Free on-line classes are available for anyone, but if you want certification, you must pay for that.

Question: What can you give away for free while earning money in some other way?

Your Portable Empire:
How to Make Money Anywhere While Doing What You Love
– Pat O’Bryan – 2007

Find information people want and curate it for them.

Curated information is useful when it saves time and employs other people’s knowledge to gain better results. If you can find a set of people willing to pay for information that is curated, it may be worth your time and money to create it. If you find valuable content that is time-consuming to organize, and a few customers who would be willing to pay for it, this would make it worth the effort to produce.

Business, Product
Question: What information would I like curated?

How the Data Explosion Makes Us Smarter
– Stefan Weitz – 2014

Searches can be more powerful when they add signals from images, sound, locations, video, and more.

Search engines use signals to help you find the best results. Adding more signals such can be helpful clues to determine what content is best to show or what situation the user is in.  The more useful signals that are used when searching, the better and more accurate our search results will be.

Business, Technology
Question: What specific signals could search engines use to provide better results?

How Google Works
– Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg – 2014

 The power has shifted from companies to the consumer in many online businesses.

Lower barriers to entry when starting a business, new networks and globalization have each increased the number of product and service options shoppers have. There is no longer only one store that sells running shoes. There are dozens within driving distance and hundreds more online. Marketing efforts are unable to beat bad reviews when alternative options are a click away.

Question: How does the customer/company power shift affect your business?

Smarter Faster Cheaper:
Non-Boring, Fluff-Free Strategies for Marketing and Promoting Your Business
– David Siteman Garland – 2011

 Being helpful is fun, selling is not.

Everyone likes it when you help them solve a problem but no one wants to be sold. Frame your business interaction so that you are trying to help someone, not trick them into choosing you. This can make a big difference in how both you and the customer feel about the transaction.

Question: How can you frame business transactions in such a way that you are helping the customer and they are not only excited about the product but glad you talked to them?

Naked Statistics:
Stripping the Dread from the Data
– Charles Wheelan – 2013

Correlation and causation are not the same, but both can be useful when making business decisions.

It is important to understand the difference between correlation and causation but that does not mean we should ignore correlation. It can still be useful in making business decisions.

Question: What are some examples in which correlation is useful?

How to Measure Anything:
Finding the Value of “Intangibles” in Business
– Douglas W. Hubbard – 2011

 Many intangible things have a value that should be counted.

We must take into consideration all things of value including things that are hard to put a clear number value on. If we want an accurate account of a situation, all value must be considered. It is not necessary to have the same confidence level as with something tangible but it may be useful to make value guesses with different levels of certainty.

Business, Economics, Psychology
Question: What are some intangible things of value you could start counting?

Smart Pricing:
How Google, Priceline, and Leading Businesses Use Pricing Innovation for Profitability
– Jagmohan Raju, Z. John Zhang – 2010

Different pricing strategies work for different business models.

Some companies make a profit on all sales while others lose on some and gain on others. Some have low margins and others have high margins. It is not uncommon to give away a portion of your products for free and charge a premium for others. Intellectuals give away blog posts but may charge for books, speeches or consulting. Musicians give away music but charge different prices to fans depending on whether they want back row seats, good seats or a VIP meet-and-greet weekend package. It is important to understand what strategies work in your industry and business model and not rely on one pricing strategy for all situations.

Business, Economics
Questions: What are some innovative price strategies?

Platform Revolution:
How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy–And How to Make Them Work for You
– Geoffrey G. Parker, Marshall W. Van Alstyne, Sangeet Paul Choudary – 2016

Platforms often create value using resources they do not own.

Platforms can create value for the participants and themselves by successfully creating win-win connections. Ebay does not need to buy a lot of products but connects buyers and sellers. They provide an user-friendly experience for both parties, product and seller curation, and a brand that people trust.

By providing the platform, eBay is profits by connecting people, not by creating or owning any of the objects they sell.

Business, Economics
Question: What platforms do you wish existed?

Poke the Box:
When Was the Last Time You Did Something for the First Time?
– Seth Godin – 2015

Connections, intelligence, reputation, and experience are all types of value that are not represented by money.

Each of these brings value to your business but are not as easily translated into value when looking at your bank balance. What is the value of great company culture? How much is your brand reputation worth? These are important aspects for any business to look at but they are not always as easy to quantify as products sold or money made this quarter, even if they will lead to increased profit in the future.

Business, Economics
Question: How can you build multiple types of value in your day-to-day life or business?

Marketing in the Age of Google:
Your Online Strategy IS Your Business Strategy
– Vanessa Fox – 2010

Data from Google can be used to understand your market, not just to acquire customers.

As marketers, we often think of Google as a place where a business or product can be found but it is also a tool that helps us learn what our audience is looking for and can help us craft our business accordingly. Looking at popular searches, trending topics, “searches related to” recommendations and auto-complete can be clues about what people are interested in or looking for or buying online.

Business, Commerce, Marketing
Question: What data can you get from Google to help understand your customers?

How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth
– Gabriel Weinberg, Justin Mares – 2015

You need a great product as well as great distribution.

Having a great product is necessary for any business for which its customers have alternative options, but a great product alone is not enough. You also need to let your target audience know your product exists, position it correctly and get it to them in an economically profitable way.

Not all distribution channels work equally well for all businesses and finding even one profitable channel can be difficult, even if you have a great product. After you find one that works for your business, you can test tactics through that channel and try others as well.

Question: What products would fail without effective distribution?

The Upstarts:
How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World
– Brad Stone – 2017

A business can be very powerful and grow quickly if it connects people instead of building new things.

AirBnB does not build rooms but found an unused resource in people’s current homes. Uber is able to use the previously untapped resources of the average person’s car and free time. Both of these companies create value for people by incentivizing and connecting people in new ways. They did not build more hotels or buy new vehicles, but used the untapped resources to give the user a potentially new and better service along with an additional way for people to make money.

Business, Innovation
Question: What untapped resources have you observed?