Book: Better and Faster, Jeremy Gutsche

Better And Faster

Review

Great book, reminding us in this day and age, no matter how big or small or how successful your company is, you need to always innovate and “be paranoid”. Recommended.

Buy on Amazon.com.

tl;dr

Look for connections and try to understand the patterns. Be a hunter (insatiability, curiosity, willingness to destroy), not a farmer (complacent with success, repetitive, overly protective). Understand your customer, adapt, and fashion fast solutions. Experiment with new ideas. Target niches.

Summary

  • Look for connections and try to understand the patterns. It’s all well and good to see a connection between two fields, but if you understand the underlying pattern, then you can more easily see similar types of connections at play in other fields of endeavor.
  • TrendHunter.com
  • Farmer VS Hunter
  • The three farmer traps: complacent with his own success, repetitive, and overly protective of his own beliefs.
  • The three hunter instincts—insatiability, curiosity, and willingness to destroy.
  • Create a culture of speed and recognize that your key advantage is the ability to understand your customer, adapt, and fashion fast solutions.
  • It’s funny how you can become such an expert that you lose touch with how customers think about your category.
  • Optimization is a seductive tool. It tempts CEOs and managers to drive down a broad, seemingly guaranteed highway to a conservative outcome instead of striking out on a narrow path to a possibly outrageous hit.
  • To inspire curiosity in your organization, it’s essential to seek out fresh sources and experiment with new ideas constantly.
  • Play should be encouraged and that success comes from pursuing curiosity and experimentation relentlessly.
  • On an individual level, “farmer traps” cause people to hang on to past success, cling to one career too long, and resist trying new technologies and different ways of getting work done.
  • Intentionally destroying your business model, products, and services can feel uncomfortable and even painful, but destruction enables unrestricted creativity while providing newfound flexibility and depth.
  • Companies must seek out opportunities to adapt and question the status quo constantly.
  • Past success creates barriers that both you and your customers must overcome. To innovate, you need to break free from past success.
  • Turns out, it’s not about what’s happening; it’s about searching for what could happen next.
  • Specifically, there are six major patterns of opportunity that are created by nearly every major breakthrough product.
  • When our security is threatened, complacency isn’t a realistic strategy.
  • In contrast, desperate companies know that the status quo won’t save them.
  • Driven by an almost maniacal fear of losing dominance, companies such as Google inculcate in their employees the mind-set that they must do everything possible to stay number one.
  • The lesson is that to fight success-bred complacency, you need to be insatiably curious, open to intentional destruction, and just a little bit paranoid.
  • Dare float a divergent idea, and it’s likely a boss or friend will tell you that you’re wildly off course and warn you to get back on that mainstream bus.
  • If you follow your competitors, you’re always going to be behind them on the path. You need to push out and find your own way.
  • At Trend Hunter, we’ve consistently seen that consumers are drawn to the thrill of what we call “shockvertising” and “danger marketing.”
  • If you’re exploring a concept that differs from the mainstream, it can be useful to examine your weaknesses to consider whether you can position them as points of differentiation. For Red Bull, the unpleasant flavor played well with the drink’s purported near medicinal quality.
  • Today, niche online dating is a billion-dollar industry and provides an object lesson in the difference between seeing and truly observing.
  • Target everyone, and you’re essentially targeting no one.
  • A pattern-obsessed mind-set can help you spot opportunities in retro, nostalgia, economics, seasonality, and generational shifts.
  • Consumers actually prefer products that are specific to narrowly defined needs.
  • Reduction is about the power of niche and simplicity at its extreme.
  • As you introduce new features, you inherently make things more complex. So we are trying to add more features, but [we are] trying to make them available only to the advanced users. [Fiverr CEO]
  • Take complicated systems, boil them down to one key feature, and fashion a remarkably simple product.
  • The Six Patterns 1. Convergence—combining previously unrelated products and services. 2. Divergence—diverging from the mainstream (to achieve status or to customize). 3. Cyclicality—following cycles that are predictable among generations or that recur in history, fashion, or economics. 4. Redirection—shifting, repurposing, or repositioning a concept. 5. Reduction—the simplification, specialization, or micro-targeting of an idea. 6. Acceleration—identifying a critical feature and dramatically enhancing it.
  • When this type of robotic thinking governs how you search for new ideas, it can hold you back. To break free, you often need to throw away your first idea.
  • LOOKBOOK, where millions of fashion lovers share their daily look. Fashion extends beyond clothing. Everyone cares about aesthetics.
  • Hardware is moving to the background with an increased focus on user experience, design, and software.
  • Compelling stories are one of the best possible advertisements, and that’s why companies will become more interested in the curation and development of their own content.