Book Summary

What Books,... Did I Start or Finish Reading This Year (2021)?

Update 21.Feb.2021


  • Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matters (February 2021) 176 pages

  • Six-week cycles: Our decisions are based on moving the product forward in the next six weeks, not micromanaging time. We don’t count hours or question how individual days are spent. We don’t have daily meetings. We don’t rethink our roadmap every two weeks. Our focus is at a higher level. We say to ourselves: “If this project ships after six weeks, we’ll be really happy. We’ll feel our time was well spent.” Then we commit the six weeks and leave the team alone to get it done

  • Shaping the work: key elements of a solution, appetite

  • part one shaping:

    • two separate tracks: one for shaping, one for building.

    • Steps to shaping

      • 1. Set boundaries.

      • 2. Rough out the elements: idea that solves the problem within the appetite but without all the fine details worked out

      • 3. Address risks and rabbit holes.

      • 4. Write the pitch.

    • fixed time, variable scope,

    • Where in the current system does the new thing fit? How do you get to it? What are the key components or interactions? Where does it take you?

    • five ingredients that we always want to include in a pitch: 1. Problem — The raw idea, a use case, or something we’ve seen that motivates us to work on this 2. Appetite — How much time we want to spend and how that constrains the solution 3. Solution — The core elements we came up with, presented in a form that’s easy for people to immediately understand 4. Rabbit holes — Details about the solution worth calling out to avoid problems 5. No-gos — Anything specifically excluded from the concept: functionality or use cases we intentionally aren’t covering to fit the appetite or make the problem tractable

  • part two : Betting

    • Some companies use two-week cycles (aka “sprints”). We learned that two weeks is too short to get anything meaningful done. Worse than that, two-week cycles are extremely costly due to the planning overhead. The amount of work you get out of two weeks isn’t worth the collective hours around the table to “sprint plan” or the opportunity cost of breaking everyone’s momentum to re-group.

    • after each six-week cycle, we schedule two weeks for cool-down.

    • bugs: Use cool-down. Bring it to the betting table. Schedule a bug smash.

    • We’ve noticed three phases of work when we build a new product from scratch. R&D mode (bet the time on spiking some key pieces of the new product idea. CEO and designer, we don’t expect to ship anything at the end of an R&D cycle) , Production mode (Shaping is deliberate again. bet multiple teams in parallel , Shipping is the goal) , Cleanup mode (There’s no shaping. There aren’t clear team boundaries. Work is “shipped”) [Cleanup shouldn’t last longer than two cycles]

    • Example: two years of development, R&D mode for the first year, a year of production mode cycles followed, two cycles of cleanup and significantly cut back the feature set, some overlap between R&D and production mode after that first year,

  • Part three: Building

    • We don’t start by assigning tasks to anyone.

    • we define and track the scopes as to-do lists. Each scope corresponds to a list name. Then any tasks for that scope go in that list.

    • image 1, 2, 3,

    • Mark nice-to-haves with ~

    • First there’s the uphill phase of figuring out what our approach is and what we’re going to do. Then, once we can see all the work involved, there’s the downhill phase of execution

  • image 4, 5,

  • Disciplined entrepreneurship 24 steps to a successful startup by Bill Aulet (January 2021) 290 pages

    • getting start: idea, technology, passion; What can I do well that I would love to do for an extended period of time? P: 19, 21

    • 1 market segmentation: The single necessary and sufficient condition for a business is a paying customer. ; technological enthusiasts=early adopters=early majority ; P: 31,

    • 2 select a beachhead market: P: 44,

    • 3 build an end user profile: P: 52,

    • 4 Calculate the Total Addressable Market (TAM) Size for the Beachhead Market; $200 <TAM < $100 million per year;

    • 5 The process of developing a Persona provides specific details about the primary customer within your beachhead market.

    • 6 Creating a visual representation of the full life cycle of your product enables you to see how the product will fit into the customer’s value chain and what barriers to adoption might arise. P: 86,

    • 7 High-Level Product Specification;

    • 8 Quantify the Value Proposition:

    • 9 Identify Your Next 10 Customers: P: 115,

    • 10 Define Your Core: First-mover advantage can help a company with a well-defined Core, but it cannot win the market by simply by being first; this must be translated into something else like locking in key customers, achieving positive networking effects for your company, recruiting the best talent in a certain area, and so on. ;

    • 11 Chart Your Competitive Position: The goal is to show that your Competitive Position both leverages your Core and that your product satisfies your Persona’s priorities far better than existing or logical future products. ; P:134,

    • 12 Determine the Customer’s Decision-Making Unit (DMU):

    • 13 Map the Process to Acquire a Paying Customer: Okta; P:151, 152,

    • 14 Calculate the Total Addressable Market Size for Follow-on Markets: If you want to attract venture capital and/or build a big business, the general rule is that the broader TAM (for 10 or less follow-on markets), plus your beachhead market TAM, should add up to over $1B. ;

    • *15 Design a Business Model: A business model is a framework by which you extract from your customers some portion of the value your product creates for them. ; GENERALIZED CATEGORIES OF BUSINESS MODELS= P: 167-171; two key entrepreneurship variables: the Lifetime Value of an Acquired Customer (LTV) and Cost of Customer Acquisition (COCA). Do not focus on pricing in this step, as your choice of business model has a far larger influence on profitability than your pricing decisions.

      • Licensing: your royalty rate will generally be equivalent to one-twentieth or less of the revenue per sale; and hence the TAM will as well, because a five percent royalty rate is about the best you can hope for.

    • *16 Set Your Pricing Framework:

    • *17 Calculate the Lifetime Value (LTV) of an Acquired Customer: P 184,

    • 18 Map the Sales Process to Acquire a Customer: P 199,

    • 19 Calculate the Cost of Customer Acquisition (COCA): P 209, 210, 211,

    • 20 Identify Key Assumptions: “Minimum Viable Business Product” (MVBP)—a different concept than the MVP ;

    • 21 Test Key Assumptions: P: 227,

    • 22 Define the Minimum Viable Business Product (MVBP): P: 237,

    • 23 Show That “The Dogs Will Eat the Dog Food”:

    • 24 Develop a Product Plan:

  • you will also need to learn about many other things including the following:

      • • Building a Company Culture

      • • Selecting a Founding Team

      • • Growing and Building the Team (HR Processes)

      • • Developing the Product

      • • Selling and Sales Execution

      • • Servicing the Customer and Building Customer Service Processes

      • • Building Your Financials and Managing Cash Flow

      • • Raising Money to Scale the Business

      • • Entrepreneurial Leadership and Scaling the Business

      • • Building and Utilizing Good Company Governance

      • • And much more

Cracking the coding interview 189 programming questions and solutions (700 pages)

Cracking the Tech Career: Insider Advice on Landing a Job at Google, Microsoft, Apple, Or Any Top Tech Company (288 pages)


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Websites and links

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  • DRANBLEIBEN, 6/5 minutes journal,

  • Books

    • Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble | Dan Lyons | Talks at Google; YouTube;