As part of my New Year’s resolutions I’ve decided to push myself to read one new book per month. I knew I’d have some free time during this trip to New Zealand so I was stoked when Tony Hsieh sent me a pre-released copy of his book ‘Delivering Happiness, A Path To Profits, Passion, and Purpose’.
If you’re an entrepreneur, thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, or just curious as to what it really takes to build a successful (billion dollar) business, this book is for you. The book takes you through the mistakes and mishaps that have happened to Tony/Zappos and how they turned these problems into opportunity — building a world class organization focused on company culture and customer service.
A few of my favorite quotes from the book:
“Sometimes it may seem that new problems crop up as fast as we solve
the old ones (sometimes faster!), but that just means we’re moving —
that we’re getting better and stronger. Anyone that wants to compete
with us has to learn the same things, so problems are just mile
“It may seem sometimes like we don’t know what we’re doing. And it’s true: we don’t. That’s a bit scary, but you can take comfort in knowing that nobody else knows how to do what we’re doing either… so there are no experts in what we’re doing. Except for us: we are becoming experts as we do this.”
“The role of a manager is to remove obstacles and enable his/her direct reports to succeed. This means the best leaders are servant-leaders. They serve those they lead.”
“The best team members have a positive influence on one another and everyone they encounter. They strive to eliminate any kind of cynicism and negative interactions. Instead, the best team members are those that strive to create harmony with each other and whoever else they interact with.”
Great job, Tony! I’ll be recommending this book to all my friends and I will use it as a working blueprint when I starting building my next company’s culture!
Google announced Buzz today, a photo/videos/link/status sharing service. The big news here isn’t really the functionality of
PownceBuzz, but that Google is boldly integrating this directly into Gmail - essentially taking the product from zero to millions of users in a matter of hours. If Buzz is a success it will mean real competition for Twitter and useful real-time public data for Google.
After giving it a go for a couple hours, here are a few changes/feature requests for the Google Buzz team:
- It sounds stupid, but you need a simple url for public profiles, http://google.com/profiles/kevinrose is a mouthful. Imagine a CNN host trying to plug their profile and having to say “google dot com slash profiles slash larry king”, can we just have google.com/larryking? (side note: /profile/kevinrose should redirect to /profiles/kevinrose not 404)
- Speaking of public profiles, this entire page needs to be redesigned. Adding custom backgrounds and a design that feels a little less utilitarian would be a good start.
- This auto-friend stuff is just straight confusing. I get it, but just because I’ve emailed with someone a few times doesn’t mean I want to auto-follow them. Where is the setting to turn this off?
- Is there an option to prevent the Buzz(es?, i?) from coming directly into my inbox? When Buzz starts feeling like a task (email), that bothers me.
- Where is the ‘Compose Buzz’ link? Only within the Buzz tab? Can an email be converted to a Buzz? Having Buzz in my inbox but no way to compose a Buzz from my inbox seems odd.
Not sure where Buzz fits in my arsenal of social media tools, how often I’ll use it, or if it will eventually feel too much like unread email — but I’m happy to see Google taking social media seriously. It’s early days, let the attention/follower wars begin.
Have a feature suggestion for Buzz? Add it to the comments!
Kindle DX 9.7” - $489.00
1024x768 color display upgrade - $1.00
Internet browsing upgrade - $1.00
iPod w/16GB upgrade - $1.00
Run iPhone apps upgrade - $1.00
1Gz A4 processor upgrade - $1.00
H.264 720P HD video upgrade - $1.00
Bluetooth upgrade - $1.00
10hr battery upgrade - $1.00
Multi-touch display upgrade - $1.00
Digital compass/accelerometer - $1.00
Your cost: iPad $499.00
It will replace my Kindle, and 3rd party development will extend the device to do things we can’t even dream up right now. I, for one, welcome our new iPad overlord - but then again I’m a card carrying fanboy.
What I like:
- UI is much better, OS seems fairly fast and responsive.
- Google Maps Navigation.
- Solid HTC hardware. About the size of an iPhone, feels good in the hand/pocket.
- The bundled apps are excellent with (obviously) deep Google integration.
- 5MP camera w/flash, options to set white balance, effects, location, and focus.
What I didn’t like:
- Some UI inconsistencies between Google apps.
- GPS sucks the battery down pretty fast.
- There are only a handful of good Android apps, most of them are written by Google.
Android based phones have always seemed ..how to put this.. Linux-like. That is, solid and utilitarian but lacking the eye candy and attention to detail. This phone/OS release closes the gap on the iPhone, but doesn’t overtake it. That said, if my favorite iPhone apps make the jump to android I’d seriously consider making this my full-time phone when the Verizon model is released. Nice job Google, you’ve come a long way in a short amount of time.