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Showing posts from February, 2018

Book Review: Never Split the Difference

Just finished Chris Voss’ Never Split the Difference. Chris was a 25-year veteran of the FBI’s hostage negotiation unit where he honed his skills in negotiation. In contrast to business school education of negotiation, Chris’ experience was cultivated in real-practice. Though his experience was incredibly serious (negotiations were over lives), he realized his ability to effectively negotiate in most every situation including business.
In contrast to teachings from other negotiation books like Getting to Yes, Chris realized that for him, there could not be a win-win situation. He could not “split the difference” with hostage takers – “I’ll take two hostages, you take the other two”. It was about life or death.
The crux of Chris’ learning and the foundation of the book is being able to separate the emotional side of a person vs. the logical. In this way, Chris could leverage his preparation to shake up the other party, and cause the other party to reveal their intentions. This enabled…

Is the Problem Enough of a Problem?

Last week’s book review post on The Mom Test made me think more about Googling solutions to problems. It also reminded me of a post from a few years ago about testing a business as a hobby first ( “Before Starting a Business from Your Passion, Can You Stand It If It’s A Hobby?”).
The gist of both Googling and testing an idea as a hobby is this: is this even important enough to do something about?
Read: Is a problem a problem enough for you to (and others) Google? Is the problem one where people are seeking a solution? Would you even want to solve this problem as a hobby before? Happy enough to pursue part-time, let alone full-time?
There are ideas everywhere – just ask any wantrepreneur. Many ideas just come from happenstance annoyances. These annoyances aren’t problems. They’re rarely big enough or occur often enough to warrant looking for a solution, let alone paying to solve – certainly not enough to build a sustainable business around.
Is it problematic enough?

Book Review: The Mom Test

We’re doing a lot of customer discovery work right now at SalesWise. We’ve built a great platform with strong enthusiasts, but we need to keep evolving to help our customers do what they do best. Helpful, then, when a colleague recommended I check out The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick. Rob describes the book simply: “How to talk to customer and learn if your business is a good idea when everybody is lying to you”
You may have a notion of what the book is about, but it’s likely not that – not just about target audiences in customer discovery. It’s both more general in its approach and more specific in asking the right questions to get the most useful input.
What I liked most about this book was its focus on tactics. Many books like the Lean Startup, the Challenger Sale, etc. are great at shaping your conceptual thinking. They’re great frameworks. However, they aren’t as tactical as what I found in Fitzpatrick’s book – a welcome change of pace. Plus, I can always ask better questions. The gi…