From mining the best kind of insights from your customers to scaling up in the mobile space—these are some of the best summer holiday reads for any founder, or persons, in a startup.
By Eric Ries
Launch early and don’t waste your time on strategy. In his book, The Lean Startup, Eric Ries provides real-life examples of why 1) knowing what your customers want, 2) knowing what they’ll pay for, and 3) knowing this early on in your business journey is key for any startup to succeed. As an American entrepreneur with a startup background, Ries uses his experience to convince founders to shift away from lengthy strategies and business plans, and towards adopting a build-measure-learn feedback loop that has continuous innovation at its core. With many learnings and key takeaways, The Lean Startup is a masterclass in building your startup’s market advantage.
Who should read this? Innovators, entrepreneurs, and those entering the startup world.
In short, The Mum Test is a set of rules that enables founders to get the most business-critical pieces of information from customer conversations. Primarily geared towards startups, it sets the scene for how founders can unearth customer pain points, as well as own the solution to those pain points if careful listening and interviewing techniques are applied. Arguably, one of the best learnings from the book is how talking about your customers' lives, instead of your own business idea, can help founders get confirmation as to whether or not their business ideas are on the right track. Other useful learnings include how to navigate bad data, how to get closer to the truth, and how to guide customer conversations. A great summer read to help build foundational customer interviewing skills.
Who should read this? Researchers, product managers, product marketing manager and anyone whose focus within a startup is customer interviews.
Mobile development, when done at scale, is hard. To make it easier for engineers building iOS and/or Android apps, author Gergely Orosz collected some of the most common engineering challenges and solutions in this book. The book comes in five parts, with each part meticulous with is attention to detail. Orosz made sure to not to miss anything and covers everything from challenges faced when app complexity grows (e.g. non-deterministic event combinations, localising across several languages, and scaling automated and manual tests) to scaling large engineering teams (e.g. consistency in architecture, more code and slower build time) and cross-platform approaches (e.g. Flutter, ReactNative, Cordova). Even if you’re not a mobile engineer, it proves to be a great read in understanding the complexities of scaling.
Who should read this? Engineers building at scale, or scaling up, and those wanting to understand the complexities of mobile development at scale.
By Annie Duke
How can you make make better bets that will lead to better outcomes over the course of many years? Author Annie Duke has the answers; apply the principles of poker. As a professional poker player, Duke shares some insightful— and really interesting—takes on betting, the role of luck, and how to better determine outcomes when making decisions. Decisions, which according to Duke, are simply just bets. As startup founders, knowing what goes into a good decision, redefining opportunities of wrong and right, and admitting uncertainties are all principles of poker that that can prove to be a useful guide when facing uncertain futures.
Who should read this? Decision-makers.
You don’t have to be a Product Manager (PM) to gain value from this book. In Cracking the PM Career (the follow-up to Cracking the PM Interview), authors Jackie Bavaro and Gayle Laakmann McDowell take a deep dive into the product space and dissect everything from product skills, strategic skills, career goals and beyond. What I really liked about this book is the real life examples from the tech space that ties all the writing, frameworks, and advice given really nicely together. Having interviewed over 50 PMs and product leaders from big names like AirBnB, Apple, Google and more, the book carries an invaluable weight and is a definite must-read for anyone in the product space.
Who should read this? Job-seekers, Product Managers, hiring managers and anyone wanting a deeper dive into the product space.
So, when heading out to the beach, the airport lounge area, or onto your couch this summer holiday - be sure to read these books before re-entering the startup world after your break.