Crowdfunding, Startups & Everything In-between

Bookworm#5 - 2016 books review


Last night, as I was rereading a chapter from Ego is the enemy, it suddenly hit me:


Why didn’t I come back sooner to the books that I’ve already read? I was and still am highlighting every phrase and paragraph that I find useful, writing side notes and making references..but what’s the purpose if I don’t revise them from time to time?


In an effort to collect the most important wisdom nuggets from the books read in 2016, I’ve scribbled them down into 3 categories: Sales, Product Marketing and Life, followed by my remarks. The books are listed at the bottom, in the order of their appearance. Enjoy!




1) On unconsidered needs: “..many times the users didn’t know what they wanted until we showed it to them.”


Dig deep enough to find out if there are any unconsidered, undervalued or unmet needs. The chances are, there still are plenty.


2) On qualifying leads: “We came up with an improved matrix that better summarized the discovery approach our most successful salespeople were taking with potential clients. We called this matrix GPCT (Goal, Plan, Challenges, Timeline).”


Wrote more about it here.


3) On becoming a challenger sales rep: “Challengers are assertive - they tend “to press” the customers a little - both on their thinking and around things like pricing.”


Probe your prospect’s assumption and answers, regardless how simple they are. Politely asking “Why?” should work in the first phase.


4) On sympathy vs. empathy: “Sympathy means you feel like another person feels. Empathy means you understand how the other person feels, though you do not feel the same way.”


Be equipped with empathy and turn the customer’s reason for not buying the product into the reason why he should buy the product.


5) On prospecting discipline: “When it’s time to go home, make one more call.”


This is hustle, and it actually works! The “one more calls” that I conducted converted much easily into customers. Urgency is the key factor here.


6) On product demos: “Start with a killer feature of your product that serves an important need for your prospect.”


Don’t risk keeping the good stuff till the end, since you might become boring. Also end strongly, with the 2nd killer feature.


Product Marketing


1) On building products that form behaviors: “My answer to vitamin versus painkiller question: Habit forming technologies are both. These services seem at first to be offering nice-to-have vitamins, but once the habit is established, they provide an ongoing pain remedy.”


Products that get you hooked start first as a small pleasure, which later evolve into a means to avoid pain.


2) On building tribes: “Leadership almost always involves thinking and acting like the underdog. That’s because leaders work to change things, and the people who are winning rarely do.”


By changing the current system, you’re actually building a new one. Until the chasm is crossed, there will be haters and doubters. *Note to myself next time I see an Instagram millionaire*


3) On messaging consistency: “Finding a good message and then sticking with it takes extraordinary discipline, but it pays off tenfold in the end.”


One can clearly see the winners in each tech category (Intercom for customer communication, Marketo for marketing automation, HubSpot for inbound marketing, etc.), which is mainly due to their product and constant messaging strategy.


4) On messaging exclusivity: “The Law of Exclusivity: Two companies cannot own the same word in the prospect’s mind.”


My favourite law out of the 22 laws of marketing. If another company owns the word for the determining attribute in your industry, go for another word. Don’t inject massive capital to change customer perception. It’s costly and not effective.


5) On big ideas and advertising: “Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the idea is big unless it will work for thirty years.”


“Big ideas come from the unconscious. This is true in art, science and advertising. But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant. Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process. You can help this process by going for a long walk, or taking a hot bath, or drinking half a pint a claret.”


Another advice of why is it good to mix reading with sports or any other leisure activity.



1) On doing something big: “Start now. No funding needed.”


Money is just an excuse. Start small, where you are, with what you have.


2) On getting out of your head“Living clearly and presently takes courage. Don’t live in the haze of the abstract, live with the tangible and real, even if - especially if - it’s uncomfortable. Be part of what’s going on around you. Feast on it, adjust on it.”


“There’s no one to perform for. There is just work to be done and lessons to be learned, in all that is around us.”


Book list


1) How I Lost 170 Million Dollars: My Time as #30 at Facebook, by Noah Kagan

2) The Sales Acceleration Formula: Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling to go from $0 to $100 Million, by Mark Roberge

3) The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation, by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

4) Secrets of Closing the Sale, by Zig Ziglar

5) Fanatical Prospecting: The Ultimate Guide to Opening Sales Conversations and Filling the Pipeline by Leveraging Social Selling, Telephone, Email, Text, and Cold Calling, by Jeb Blount

6) Product Demos That Sell: How to Deliver Winning SaaS Demos, by Steli Efti

7) Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, by Nir Eyal

8) Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, by Seth Godin

9) Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear 1st edition, by Frank Luntz

10) The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk!, by Al Ries and Jack Trout

11) Ogilvy on Advertising, by David Ogilvy

12) Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur, by Derek Sivers

13) Ego Is the Enemy, by Ryan Holiday