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Modern Monopolies: What It Takes to Dominate the 21st Century Economy

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Modern Monopolies: What It Takes to Dominate the 21st Century Economy by Alex Moazed and Nicholas L. Johnson is a fantastic book that explains first and foremost what a monopoly in the 21st century looks like. If you have a massive idea in mind, this book will help validate the core business model that will dominate in the economy of the future. For the most part, just about any physical product in the world can be created with ease, while networks bring together humans as tribes for a common goal. As specialization gets more fierce platform networks will be what consumers use more and more often for convenience.

A great business today is built on a platform with the help of the Internet rather than the linear power of scale. Subsequently, many linear businesses are being disrupted by the network effect that platforms provide, such as restaurants and the ability to find delivery helpers with applications such as Postmates and Uber EATS.

“‘Software alone is a commodity. There is nothing stopping anyone from copying the feature set, making it better, cheaper, and faster.'”

Modern Monopolies: What It Takes to Dominate the 21st Century Economy

In a typical linear growth business there comes a point when the costs of running the operation far exceeds the advantages of scale that were created in the first place. With a platform network business model, the costs decrease year after year and move towards zero. The advantage isn’t created in the technology used to create the product (which explains many of the dot-com era busts), but rather in the network that is created on the platform to serve a larger purpose.

Facebook does a great job of organizing information of the people on the planet. It got the idea right over Myspace and Friendster by properly allocating the correct ingredients of functions within the platform. The key is as Mark Zuckerberg says, “the trick isn’t adding stuff. It’s taking away.”

On Myspace it was possible to be friends with random people and celebrities. Towards the end of its useful life, Myspace was viewed as a virtual dump of photos and media. Friendster had a complicated network model that required multiple degrees of friendship. With Facebook, each friend relationship was 1 to 1. Also, especially in its beginning stages Facebook’s data from each individual was neatly presented in a Timeline and Wall where starting with elite universities gave them a unique advantage.

Modern Monopolies provides a deep understanding of emerging platform business models that is required to create the next Amazon, Google, or Uber. The book showcases a well thought out presentation of the principles behind the core functions and deliverables of a platform. One of my favorite aspects of the book are the stories that go fairly in-depth into the network and viral strategies used to propel the biggest platforms today, including Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Paypal, Square, Snapchat, Tinder, YouTube, Skype, Uber, Airbnb, Yelp, Groupon and many, many more.

The Four Core Functions Of A Platform:

  1. Audience building: Build a liquid marketplace by attracting a critical mass of consumers and producers.
  2. Matchmaking: Connect the right consumers with the right producers in order to facilitate transactions and interactions.
  3. Providing core tools and services: Build tools and services that support the core transaction by lowering transaction costs, removing barriers to entry, and making the platform more valuable over time through data.
  4. Setting rules and standards: Set guidelines that govern which behaviors are allowed and encouraged and which are forbidden or discouraged.

“A small but dense and highly active network is usually much more valuable and useful than a larger but more dispersed network. The smaller network will create more transactions and more value.”

Those looking for potential opportunities to launch their next startup will also find some great ideas within this book. Some industries that are ripe for platform disruption are health care, internet of things and finance. Nevertheless, the best way to spot potential opportunities is to see what is isn’t being done already and capitalize on advantages of time, network and scale in your new audience.

Platform Types, with examples for each type.

Platform Types in the Modern Monopolies

How To Spot Platform Opportunities

  1. Look for technology that reduces transaction costs and removes gatekeepers.
  2. Look for implicit or undeserved networks.
  3. Look for large, fragmented sources of supply.

Check out Applico – The Platform Innovation Company from Founder & CEO, Author Alex Moazed.

Modern Monopolies: What It Takes to Dominate the 21st Century Economy

Modern Monopolies: What It Takes to Dominate the 21st Century Economy

Authors: ,
Tag: Recommended Books
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Year: 2016
ASIN: B017RC8CBC
ISBN: 1250091896

What do Google, Snapchat, Tinder, Amazon, and Uber have in common, besides soaring market share? They're platforms - a new business model that has quietly become the only game in town, creating vast fortunes for its founders while dominating everyone's daily life. A platform, by definition, creates...

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About the Book

What do Google, Snapchat, Tinder, Amazon, and Uber have in common, besides soaring market share? They’re platforms – a new business model that has quietly become the only game in town, creating vast fortunes for its founders while dominating everyone’s daily life. A platform, by definition, creates value by facilitating an exchange between two or more interdependent groups. So, rather that making things, they simply connect people.

The Internet today is awash in platforms – Facebook is responsible for nearly 25 percent of total Web visits, and the Google platform crash in 2013 took about 40 percent of Internet traffic with it. Representing the ten most trafficked sites in the U.S., platforms are also prominent over the globe; in China, they hold the top eight spots in web traffic rankings.

The advent of mobile computing and its ubiquitous connectivity have forever altered how we interact with each other, melding the digital and physical worlds and blurring distinctions between “offline” and “online.” These platform giants are expanding their influence from the digital world to the whole economy. Yet, few people truly grasp the radical structural shifts of the last ten years. In Modern Monopolies, Alex Moazed and Nicholas L. Johnson tell the definitive story of what has changed, what it means for businesses today, and how managers, entrepreneurs, and business owners can adapt and thrive in this new era.

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Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life

Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life Header

Change is inevitable. It naturally occurs in life wherever you are, whatever you do, whatever your status in life is, whether you are an employee or a businessman. Nevertheless, it depends upon the person how he deals with each change that comes in his way.

In the world, there are four types of people and that is deliberately addressed in the book entitled, Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life written by Dr. Spencer Johnson. It is a phenomenal book with each page containing valuable and meaningful insights for entrepreneurs and employees alike with one simple goal: to find “Cheese”.

CHARACTERSWho Moved My Cheese Cover

The first scene encompasses the story of former classmates gathering around during a high school reunion to talk about their situations in life. Until one of their classmates, Michael, told them about the tale “Who Moved My Cheese?” which is actually the core story of the book.

There are four characters in the tale:

  • SNIFF: a mouse who sniffs out or detects change early so he is able to deal with it;
  • SCURRY: another mouse who scurries into action whenever there is a change. Hand-in-hand with Sniff, they venture out to find new “cheese” whenever they find out that there is a shortage of it;
  • HEM: a little person with almost an exact size of a mouse, but with a complex brain and human emotion who denies and defies change because of his fear that it will lead to something bad; and
  • HAW: another little person like Hem who knows how to laugh at his mistakes and adapt to the change when he sees that it will lead into something better.

The “Cheese”, on the other hand, is a representation of the opportunities or whatever we want to have in our life, such as a successful job, business, relationship, health, money, freedom, achievements, and material things, among others.

BRIEF SUMMARY

The tale focuses on the four characters, Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw, who were on a journey in the maze to find the cheese. Hem and Haw had finally found their stock of cheese in Cheese Station C where they found comfort and ease. They even lived near it and invited friends to the station to boast their triumph. Little did they know that their pile of cheese was being gradually reduced until one day, they got the shock of their lives when they went to Cheese Station C and found nothing.

Meanwhile, following their instincts, Sniff and Scurry never ceased to search for “New Cheese”. Whenever they found a supply of cheese, they monitor it every day to determine shortage.

Back to Hem and Haw, grief and denial followed after the incident. They couldn’t believe that their stock of cheese was gone. They keep on digging the walls of Cheese Station C as they believed that the cheese might just be there somewhere. That was what they did day after day until they became irritable. Haw finally realized the futility of what they’re doing. He learned to laugh at himself and told Hem that maybe it’s time that they search for a new cheese. However, Hem was skeptical and refused to get out of the station and told Haw that he can’t take his chances on the maze anymore and that he is already too old for that.

Haw then ventured out to the maze to look for a new cheese and found that he was happier than he thought he would be – better than the way things were when he was still in Cheese Station C. He was inspired by Sniff and Scurry’s mindset. Along the way, they realized so many things, positive ones, and wrote them on the wall. He found several pieces of chees on the maze and tried to give some to Hem when he came back, but Hem still declined to come with him.

Determined, Haw continued his quest until he finally found Cheese Station N where he found quite a large stock of different kinds of Cheese. He also found Sniff and Scurry at the station. This time, he already knew what to do. He monitored the pile of cheese every single day, recalled the things he learned in life, and reminded himself to always move with the “cheese”. Suddenly, a movement outside the Cheese Station N grew louder and louder. Haw could only hope that it was his friend Hem who realized that he should get out of his comfort zone, face his fears and follow the traces he left on the wall to also move with the cheese.

 

Here are the important points of the core story that are worth contemplating:

  • Take control of your life rather than the other way around.
  • Be patient. People usually start from little things to get ready when there’s a bigger opportunity coming.
  • Embracing change is not dependent on age. No matter how old you are, it is never too late for a change. Instead, open your mind and look on the positive side of things.
  • Face the challenges. Never fear them as they will take you to success. While taking several steps, you will find that the fear reduces and along the way, do not be discouraged to continue.
  • Always monitor your current situation. Always ask yourself: “Did some things change?” Be more alert and always anticipate change.
  • It’s better late to seize opportunities than never doing so.
  • If you feel discouraged, always ask yourself: “What would I do if I weren’t afraid?”
  • When you are fearful, always think that “when you move beyond your fear, you feel free”.
  • Do not scare yourself as it would just make things worse.
  • Reflect and plan the steps that you should do in your life.
  • Always enjoy what you do, no matter how difficult it is.
  • Picture how you would like to see yourself realistically. The more you imagine, the more it becomes real and believable.
  • Think of what you gain instead of what you lose. A change would not lead to something worse, it could lead to something better.
  • Some people are afraid of something new, they still prefer their usual and traditional routine which makes it difficult for them to embrace change which continually and naturally occurs.
  • Taking a new direction will help you generate strength and vigor and you’ll find out that the goal is only part of the challenge.
  • What you are afraid of is not as bad as you thought it is, the fear you build inside is worse than the existing situation.
  • Do not deny the situation that has already taken place.
  • Helping other people is useless when they let fear and inflexibility consume them. Some people are very adamant and refuses to accept the changes.

Following the series of events in the story only proves that the saying, “Try and try until you succeed” as a matter-of-fact, is true after all!

Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal With Change in Your Work and in Your Life

Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal With Change in Your Work and in Your Life

Author:
Tag: Recommended Books
Publisher: G. P. Putman
Publication Year: 1998
ASIN: B004CR6AM4
ISBN: 0399144463

Who Moved My Cheese? takes the fear and anxiety out of managing the future and shows people a simple way to successfully deal with the changing times, providing them with a method for moving ahead with their work and lives safely and effectively.

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About the Book

With Who Moved My Cheese? Dr. Spencer Johnson realizes the need for finding the language and tools to deal with change–an issue that makes all of us nervous and uncomfortable.
Most people are fearful of change because they don’t believe they have any control over how or when it happens to them. Since change happens either to the individual or by the individual, Spencer Johnson shows us that what matters most is the attitude we have about change.

When the Y2K panic gripped the corporate realm before the new millenium, most work environments finally recognized the urgent need to get their computers and other business systems up to speed and able to deal with unprecedented change. And businesses realized that this was not enough: they needed to help people get ready, too.

Spencer Johnson has created his new book to do just that. The coauthor of the multimillion bestseller The One Minute Manager has written a deceptively simple story with a dramatically important message that can radically alter the way we cope with change. Who Moved My Cheese? allows for common themes to become topics for discussion and individual interpretation.

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Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

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An important book on leadership and courage, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg is a fantastic memoir of one woman’s journey as a wife, mother and rising executive. The lessons in the book are told through stories from Sheryl’s experiences working at McKinsey & Company, The U.S. Treasury, Google and Facebook among others. As the current Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg has a lot to teach about running multi-national organizations based around people. Success requires deep human intelligence and the ability to lead through inspiration.

Lean In Book Cover

Lean In places a great importance on gender roles and their significance. It is a known fact that more women graduate from college each year than men. However when compared to the amount of female executives in the workforce, there is a clear disparity. Far less women even carry the ambition to become executives in the first place. There are many reasons behind the lack of female executives (and to an extent, entrepreneurs) in our culture and these mostly stem from cultural norms. During important meetings and promotions Sandberg encourages women to sit at the table because it definitely is possible to balance family with a career.

Females usually have a different perspective from men when it comes to the workplace and oftentimes make decisions based on marriage or having a career, but not necessarily both. Many times it is the female holding herself back, while other times it is child rearing that becomes a priority.

Having a baby can be a huge challenge for women. Not every company supports maternity leave, nor are you guaranteed your reputation and position when you come back. On the bright side, managing through these experiences can maximize output. Having less time forces you to focus on what truly matters. Sandberg points out that women need to speak up at work so they can achieve a healthy balance of hours worked during critical stages of life. Pregnancy is a key time where many women make the decision to forgo their careers to raise a family, which is unfortunate because outside circumstances should make this decision easier not more difficult.

“Counterintuitively, long-term success at work often depends on not trying to meet every physical demand placed on us. The best way to make room for both life and a career is to make choices deliberately – to set limits and stick to them.” – Sheryl Sandberg

For one, it is not deemed sexy to be a female with power by society. Even other female peers may view her as bossy or authoritative. This runs counterintuitive to standards of female beauty today which is often portrayed as being generous and personable. For females there is a fine line between being a leader and a queen bee. In this regard, it makes more sense and requires less stress to be a caretaker instead. It is never really possible to accomplish everything you set out to do and there can be a sense of overwhelm from trying. That’s why setting attainable, sustainable goals is key to happiness.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead discusses mentorship in-depth and gives solid advice on how to approach an influencer (hint: it is always a reciprocal relationship). With more men mentoring and sponsoring women we could witness a revolution in female executives. When it comes to asking for feedback and also giving feedback to others, the benefit of being critically honest and direct is that problems get solved faster. Being brutally honest, both in your personality and in your actions can reap great rewards.

On a side note check out the Lean In Community and visit the Lean In Foundation.

Although as a male I do not possess many of the challenges Sheryl addresses, Lean In definitely gave me a clearer understanding of the psychological factors holding women back from succeeding in the workplace. Sometimes I do wish the book went more in-depth on operations strategies used at Google and Facebook as I’m sure there’s a lot to learn from operating gigantic Internet corporations. Nevertheless, gender issues are a large contributing factor to the leadership gap and should not be understated.

As the child of a single mother growing up who at one point took on two work shifts and even spent months away from home for work – multiple times, I can definitely relate to the issues Sheryl addresses in Lean In. There really are a myriad of factors a woman has to consider when it comes between having a family or extending her professional career. One thing remains certain as clearly stated by Sheryl Sandberg, “As more women lean in to their careers, more men need to lean in to their families.”

The Solution: Elect more qualified females for leadership positions and encourage both men and women to Lean In.

P.S. View Sheryl Sandberg’s TED Talk on ‘Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders’ here.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Author:
Tag: Recommended Books
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Year: 2013
ASIN: B009LMTDL0
ISBN: 0385349947

Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl ...

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Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.

Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2010, she gave an electrifying TEDTalk in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which became a phenomenon and has been viewed more than two million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.

In Lean In, Sandberg digs deeper into these issues, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to cut through the layers of ambiguity and bias surrounding the lives and choices of working women. She recounts her own decisions, mistakes, and daily struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career, urging women to set boundaries and to abandon the myth of “having it all.”  She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women in the workplace and at home.

Written with both humor and wisdom, Sandberg’s book is an inspiring call to action and a blueprint for individual growth. Lean In is destined to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can.

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The Art Of The Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything

The Art Of The Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide For Anyone Starting Anything Header

For entrepreneurs, young and old, who have dreams of becoming the next venture capital funded billionaire dollar unicorn startup, The Art Of The Start 2.0 by Guy Kawasaki is an instant classic. The book is a starter’s manual for entrepreneurs with a big idea who wish to take it to the next level. If you are working on the next Apple, or the next Facebook, or the next Uber then it serves you right to know the fundamentals of building a startup straight from the man who helped to evangelize Apple to glory next to Steve Jobs. Having worked in various roles for numerous start ups Guy Kawasaki shares his unique behind the scenes perspective of what it’s like to lead and pioneer successful start ups.The Art Of The Start 2.0 Physical Book Cover

Whether you are forming a team or raising capital, the frameworks and guidelines are stripped bare for everyone to relish. Guy makes starting a start up sound so incredibly simple (even though himself Guy admits that the steps will not be followed in order because there will be hirings, improvements and funding rounds). Successfully forming and leading a startup does not have to be convoluted.

Confusion and complication could be further from the truth of great businesses. In fact, in your journey the most difficult duty will be finding the most important task to focus on that will bring your further in your business. Usually this is just working on your simplest greatest value adding activity or experimenting to make it better. Preparation through mentors and books such as this one will help you take advantage of opportunities as they come. Having the right team in place will accelerate the current advantages of the business.

“Entrepreneurship is at its best when it alters the future, and it alters the future when it jumps curves.”

Building a startup comes with a purpose. One that is blended with expertise, passion and opportunity. It takes an awesome idea combined with a hardworking team and unbounded confidence in the ability to accomplish the task at hand. Don’t be afraid to “Think Different” and craft a unique positioning for your product.

No matter the current stage of your start up i.e:

  • launching your MVP
  • leading your co-founders
  • bootstrapping your product launch
  • pitching and fundraising for growth
  • evangelizing for legacy

Guy shares his valuable $0.02 on the subject. The book is packed with insightful tips and is a quick read. This time tested, battle hardened guide for anyone starting anything is a catalyzing perspective on the art of the start up.

The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything

The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything

Author:
Tag: Recommended Books
Publisher: Portfolio
Publication Year: 2015
ASIN: B00MNNAOX0
ISBN: 1591847842

Fully revised and expanded for the first time in a decade, this is Guy Kawasaki's classic, bestselling guide to launching and making your new product, service, or idea a success.Whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur, small-business owner, intrapreneur, or not-for-profit leader, there's no shortage...

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Fully revised and expanded for the first time in a decade, this is Guy Kawasaki’s classic, bestselling guide to launching and making your new product, service, or idea a success.

Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, small-business owner, intrapreneur, or not-for-profit leader, there’s no shortage of advice on topics such as innovating, recruiting, fund raising, and branding. In fact, there are so many books, articles, websites, blogs, webinars, and conferences that many startups get paralyzed, or they focus on the wrong priorities and go broke before they succeed.
The Art of the Start 2.0 solves that problem by distilling Guy Kawasaki’s decades of experience as one of the most hardworking and irreverent strategists in the business world. Guy has totally overhauled this iconic, essential guide for anyone starting anything.  It’s 64 percent longer than version 1.0 and features his latest insights and practical advice about social media, crowdfunding, cloud computing, and many other topics.

Guy understands the seismic changes in business over the last decade: Once-invulnerable market leaders are struggling. Many of the basics of getting established have become easier, cheaper, and more democratic. Business plans are no longer necessary. Social media has replaced PR and advertising as the key method of promotion. Crowdfunding is now a viable alternative to investors. The cloud makes basic infrastructure affordable for almost any new venture.

The Art of the Start 2.0 will show you how to effectively deploy all these new tools.  And it will help you master the fundamental challenges that have not changed: building a strong team, creating an awesome product or service, and facing down your competition.

As Guy likes to say, “Entrepreneur is a state of mind, not a job title.” His book will help you make your crazy ideas stick, through an adventure that’s more art than science – the art of the start.

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