A decent book about Google from it's former CEO and head of product. I am only giving it 3 stars because a lot of it was too vague to be useful or stuA decent book about Google from it's former CEO and head of product. I am only giving it 3 stars because a lot of it was too vague to be useful or stuff I already knew. However every 5 or 10 pages there was a nugget, or reminder of something I knew but that was good to think about. Also good to see a lot of this all written down in one place. So worthwhile overall, though it did take me a while to plow through.
Eric spent a lot of time talking about product excellence. In todays crowded market, products that are better than the rest are the ones that succeed. Better design, functionality, even speed.
There was also a lot of discussion about how to lead a engineering and product led organization - which is absolutely critical in a technology company. Also discussion how to scale a company and hire smart people. Eric used the prhase "smart creatives" to describe the kind of people who will be successful in a technology company - though I'm not so sure they are such a new breed as he makes out. But anyways: identify smart creative people who like tech. Then find those who have the biggest impact and give them more to do, and lots of autonomy.
The below was another obvious-yet-interesting-to-think about philosophy of Google's. A good question to ask in any new product or feature is always what technical innovation it has.
Other good tips: * keep details about projects people are doing in your phone address book so you can easily look them up anywhere. * Once a year write a self-review and share it with the people you work with. * Clean out your inbox down to 5 emails or less each day. * In a fast paced business the best/only way to get things done is relationships, so pay attention to those. * OKR's and why it's good to stretch yourself, and make them public. * 70/20/10 for resource allocation: 70% on the core business, 20% on emerging, 10% on new. * The way to improve a product is to challenge your smart people. Eg "these ads suck" ...more
5 stars for giving me a better framework for how to organize my stuff and what stuff to keep than I'd ever had before. For instance it was so freeing5 stars for giving me a better framework for how to organize my stuff and what stuff to keep than I'd ever had before. For instance it was so freeing to realize I don't have to keep gifts....more
Another hard to put down nonfiction book from Erik Larson. I really enjoyed this book - mostly to learn more about submarine warfare in WWI, but alsoAnother hard to put down nonfiction book from Erik Larson. I really enjoyed this book - mostly to learn more about submarine warfare in WWI, but also to learn about the history of the time. How America entered the war, the importance of shipping to England, the ruthlessness and autonomy of German u-boat commanders. Larson also did a great job of layering in interesting historical info (though he overdid it too a little bit).
One of the dramas of the story of the Lusitania that Larson focuses on is if the British wanted the Lusitania to be sunk, to help draw America into the war. His conclusion seems to be that was the case, though there isn't conclusive evidence. Before the Lusitania sank, very few Americans had died in the war, and there were hundreds of Americans on the boat when it sank, which definitely helped change America's attitude. And even then, it took 2 years after it sank for America's troops to arrive.
Which is crazy! Plus, the torpedoes weigh 3 thousand pounds each, so a boat could only carry ~7, and their failure rate was something like 60%. Also, they had limited fuel and operated only on batteries when submerged so they could only stay underwater for limited amounts of time. Given all this, trying to operate a u-boat to sink other boats is a pretty dangerous sounding game of chess. But they certainly had an effect on the war - at one point Britain estimated it would have to surrender in 3 months if it didn't get more supplies.
My main critique is that it had a few too many irrelevant details - about various passengers or what happened the day the boat left dock - and stuff like that - felt a bit padded in that respect. But overall, a great read.