Accomplishments in 2019:

Books Read in 2019

In a quest for continuous learning I set the ambitious goal of read 40 books. While I was diverted by numerous educational rabbit holes (the amount of information available on the internet is limitless), I fortunately finished 42 books during 2019.  Most books were business-oriented, many with a marketing and/or story-telling focus.

  1. Blitzscaling, The Lightning-Fast Path To Building Massively Valuable Companies, by Reid Hoffman and Chris YehMy thoughts on Blitzscaling.
  2. Creative Selection, Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs, by Ken KociendaMy thoughts on Creative Selection.
  3. Ninja Future: Secrets to Success in the World of Innovation, by Gary Shapiro
  4. This is Marketing: You Cannot Be Seen Until You See, by Seth Godin
  5. Industry e-book for a sustainability project I am working on.
  6. Building a Story Brand, by Donald Miller
  7. The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking, by Saifedean Ammous
  8. Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins, by Mark Schaefer
  9. Scrum: A Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction, by Chris Sims & Hillary Louise Johnson
  10. The Customer Centricity Playbook: Implement a Winning Strategy Driven By Customer Lifetime Value, by Peter Fader and Sarah Toms
  11. Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces That Shape Behavior, by Jonah Berger
  12. Mensch Marks: Life Lessons of a Human Rabbi, Wisdom For Untethered Times, by Joshua Hammerman
  13. Loonshots: How To Nurture The Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, And Transform Industries, by Safi Bahcall
  14. Turning The Flywheel: Why Some Companies Build Momentum… And Other Don’t, by Jim Collins
  15. Cribsheet: a data-driven guide to better, more relaxed parenting from birth to pre-school, by Emily Oster
  16. Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, by Steven Johnson
  17. Triggers: 30 Sales Tools You Can Use to Control The Mind of Your Prospect to Motivate, Influence and Persuade, by Joseph Sugarman
  18. Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption, by Ben Mezrich
  19. Overdeliver: Build a Business for a Lifetime Playing the Long Game in Direct Response Marketing, by Brian Kurtz
  20. How To Hire People Who Give A Sh*T: The Golden Rules, by Erika Weinstein
  21. Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life, by Rory Sutherland
  22. The Tangled Mind: Unraveling the Origin of Human Nature, by Nick Kolenda
  23. Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models, by Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren McCann
  24. Covert Cows and Chick-fil-A: How Faith, Cows and Chicken Built an Iconic Brandby Steve Robinson
  25. Think Like Amazon: 50 1/2 Ideas To Become A Digital Leader, by John Rossman
  26. Digital Transformation: Survive and Thrive in an Era of Mass Extinction, by Thomas Siebel.  My thoughts on Digital Transformation
  27. Superfans: The Easy Way To Stand Out, Grow Your Tribe, And Build A Successful Business, by Pat Flynn
  28. Crushing It: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business And Influence – And How You Can, Too, by Gary Vaynerchuk
  29. How To Talk To Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships, by Leil Lowndes
  30. Seeing Around Corners: How To Spot Inflection Points Before They Happen, by Rita McGrath
  31. Game-Time Decision Making: High-Scoring Business Strategies from the Biggest Names in Sports, by David Meltzer
  32. Break Through The Noise: The Nine Rules To Capture Global Attention, by Tim Staples
  33. The Great Mental Models: General Thinking Concepts, by Shane Parrish
  34. Stories That Stick: How Storytelling Can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences, and Transform Your Business, by Kindra Hall
  35. Everything is Figureoutable, by Marie Forleo
  36. Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change, by Marc Benioff
  37. Almost Alchemy: Make Any Business of Any Size Produce More With Fewer and Less, by Dan Kennedy
  38. The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years As CEO of the Walt Disney Company, by Robert Iger
  39. Finding Genius: Venture Capitalists and the Future They Are Betting On, by Kunal Mehta
  40. The Amazon Management System: The Ultimate Digital Business Engine That Creates Extraordinary Value for Both Customers and Shareholders, by Ram Charan and Julia Yang
  41. Million Dollar Story: Secrets of Entrepreneurs Who Had To Lose a Pivot To Profit & Win With Purpose
  42. Instabrain: The New Rules for Marketing to Generation Z, by Sarah Weise

Digital Marketing Professional Certificate from Wharton Online

The Digital Marketing Professional Certificate program consisted of four courses:

Each course consisted of four or five units, each unit is three to five hours, and the program recommends one unit per week.  While much of the material was reiteration of previous knowledge, overall it was time well spent as often marketing aspects were presented from a different perspective.  New ways of thinking and new viewpoints are priceless.  I am a strong believer in the analytics of digital marketing, and the courses were a solid mix of ‘new digital’, its growth from variations of “old-world” direct response, and an overall online-offline mixture.

The course I enjoyed most was Customer Centricity, Managing the Value of Customer Relationships which discusses marketing philosophies that I have believed since my very first entrepreneurial venture: not all customers are created equal.  The majority of profits come from a company’s top ten or twenty percent of its customers, as well as the lesser customers which can be moved-up into this high value group.  The remaining customers are still important, as they help amortize substantial fixed costs, but enhanced service efforts should be focused on top tier customers.  Professor Fader, in Customer Centricity, also interwove marketing and finance in Customer Based Corporate Valuations.  I am a big proponent of the similarity in analytical aspects of data-driven marketing to finance, as has been demonstrated in the crisscrossing of the two throughout my career.

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Alexa Apps

For the past forty years, nearly everyone has interacted with computers through The Graphical User Interface.  GUI still controls 95+% of the market versus only a minimal amount for the Voice User Interface.  However, it seems pretty obvious that VUI’s share will grow at the expense of GUI in the near, as well as further out, future.  Often the best way to learn is by doing, therefore I set out to create a couple of Alexa Skills (apps).  Both Alexa Apps, What Occurred First and We All Love Superheroes, are very basic but they have been helped me obtain a better understanding of the Voice market, and the nuances/difficulties in current specific speech understanding, as well as, the current absence of an efficient discovery search engine for Voice applications.

What Occurred First

We All Love Superheroes