Weekly reads, week of January 18 2016

The FANG Playbook by Ben Thompson

  • Each of the FANG companies was technically innovative in their own way […] but each of them […]depended to an incredible degree on products and infrastructure that already existed
  • ‘By owning the consumer entry point — the primary choke point — […] the FANG companies have been able to modularize and commoditize their suppliers’
  • ‘they are “aggregators” who start with the best customers and don’t really compete with incumbent companies, at least in the beginning. In fact, incumbents nearly universally benefit from the presence of aggregators, at least at first’

Nobody Wants To Use Your Product by Goran Peuc

  • ‘People are not really into using products. Any time spent by a user operating an interface, twisting knobs, pulling levers or tapping buttons is time wasted. Rather, people are more interested in the end result and in obtaining that result in the quickest, least intrusive and most efficient manner possible’
  • ‘When you think about it, do you really want to work on heating up your food, or do you just want your food to be hot? This is why microwave ovens can be found in basically every modern kitchen; it removes as much work as possible from the process of heating food. Of course, quite a lot of manufacturers still do not realize this and make their microwave ovens overly complicated with too many buttons and settings.’
  • ‘This difference in approach — building for features versus building for result — can be seen in numerous products today, both digital and physical. The main reason why some products are great is that they take the load off of users and assist them in making decisions.’
  • Lots of great examples: Nest, Dropbox, Google search, Gov.uk, Amazon Dash, Apple updates vs. Adobe Flash updates, etc.

The Power Of Focus by Greg Satell

  • IBM’s modern-day roots began as a function of refocusing. This cultural trait served IBM well when facing more innovative competition, by relying on superior execution. 100 years later today, IBM is a longtime regular on S&P 500, in an age where the avg S&P lifespan is 10 years.
  • Mission drives strategy - ‘The truth is that your mission needs to drive your strategy, not the other way around. Genuine excellence requires passion, commitment and consistency. You can’t create that in a boardroom meeting or a strategy session. It takes focus over an extended period of time.’
  • ‘To be a great performer — in any field — you simply have to do things better. That takes work. You need continually up your game over a period of years — or even decades — in order to get it right. That takes focus.’

A CMO’s View: Amazon’s Neil Lindsay Says Customer Obsession Is Core To Company’s DNA by Amy Gesenhues

  • ‘Amazon makes the customer its top priority, aiming to create an experience so magical “… it disappears into our customer’s every day as their new normal.”’
  • Article stated takeaways: ‘Treat the customer as an individual, not a segment. Invest in earning trust, and never take it for granted. Think about making magic, more than making money.’
  • ‘We always work backwards from the experience we believe an individual customer might appreciate, before we develop anything.’
  • ‘I don’t formally “lead” the customer experience efforts, except in the same way as everyone in the company leads customer experience — it’s part of everyone’s job, every day.’

The Secret to Successful Customer Onboarding by Lincoln Murphy

  • This article is about SAAS companies, but some good transferables.
  • Onboarded should be defined by the customer, not the business.
  • Know when the first value has been delivered, and drive the next level of engagement from that point.
  • Talk to users to understand both of the above

Mobile Web vs. Native Apps or Why You Want Both by Luke Wroblewski

  • Important to effectively utilize both mobile web and mobile app
  • App has significantly better usage (retention), but web has significantly better reach (acquisition)