Probably the best book I have read about product marketing

If you want to learn how to create products that market themselves then this book is for you: Free Prize Inside: The Next Big Marketing Idea

Remember when cereal boxes came with a free prize inside? You already liked the cereal, but once you saw that there was a free prize inside – something small yet precious – it became irresistible.

This is one of the best books I have ever read about marketing and I have probably read it five times. It completely changed my idea of what it takes for an idea to become successful.

Thank %*$@ it’s Friday

After busy week we enter the most relaxing day of the week: Friday. Your thoughts are focused on the plans for the weekend and how soon you can leave work. Yes, there is probably a bit of work to do but it’s easy to slip into the mindset that “I’ll do it next week”.

Don’t – do it now, whatever it is. Your contribution in the later stages of the week might make all the difference. When everyone else is cruising, you are speeding ahead.

What valuable company is nobody building?

If you want to understand what it takes to create a business like PayPal, Facebook, Tesla, or Spotify then this book is for you: Zero To One By Peter Thiel. It’s easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar.  Every new creation goes from 0 to 1.

This is a short book that is full of insight. You don’t have to be a budding entrepreneur to get value from it.  I liked it so much, I re-read it immediately after I finished it.


What if they laugh?

What if it goes wrong?
What if they think I’m a fool?
What if I get criticised?
What if I lose my job?
What if they don’t like it?

If you are holding back, this is what you are thinking. Don’t, you’ll take it to the grave with you.

Do something that terrifies you. You never know, it might work. And if it doesn’t, you learn something for next time.

Keep your goals to yourself

I am going to share with you a little experiment I conducted in 2012, which was inspired by Derek Sivers in a 3 minute TED Talk he did in 2010 called Keep your goals to yourself.

Derek Sivers is a well known American entrepreneur, famed for creating CD Baby and then giving it away to a charitable trust, which sold it for $22m to support the main purpose of the Trust.

The thesis of his TED Talk was this: if you tell people your goals, you are less likely to achieve them. Grounded in research (dating back as far as 1926 by a psychologist called Kurt Lewin) that found the act of telling people your goal tricked the brain into triggering the emotional reaction you feel when you have actually achieved it. That feeling of achievement reduces the motivation to see the goal through, and hence leads to fewer people achieving it.

I tried that approach with my 2012 New Year resolution – I told nobody what it was and for the first time ever I achieved my New Year’s resolution. For the record the goal was to run 365 miles in the year. I was trying to get back into the habit of running and it worked – two half marathons later, the benefits have been a lower heart rate (now at 46 bpm) and 8% body fat lost. [I’d recommend the Nike+ GPS app for iPhone to help track runs].

When you are thinking about your personal goals, why don’t you try a little test: keep a few of your goals to yourself and see what happens.