by Cyril.

Hey everyone :)

Next book I recently finished is Hooked. It was a great read too, and definitely in my top list.
Nir offers an interesting approach on how to hook your customer to re-use your application based on his 4 steps idea :

  • External/Internal Trigger
  • Action
  • Variable reward
  • Investment

Each steps are clearly explained, with real examples (like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, ..)

As always, I like to quote parts of the book I found really interesting.

Remember, a habit is a behavior done with little or no conscious thought. The more effort - either physical or mental - required to perform the desired action, the less likely it is to occur.

A few words, placed at the end of a request, are a highly effective way to gain compliance, doubling the likelihood of people saying yes. The magic words the researches discovered? The phrase "But your are free to accept or refuse".

In the investment phase, however, asking users to do a bit of work comes after users have received variable rewards, not before. The timing of asking for user investment is critically important. By asking for the investment after the reward, the company has an opportunity to leverage a central trait of human behavior.

And finally, a link that was really interesting, the List of Cognitive Biases, from Wikipedia..

See you soon for my next book overview : Good to Great.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things

by Cyril.

Hi finished reading The Hard Thing About Hard Things from Ben Horowitz and I must say, this is the best book I ever read so far, hands down.

I really enjoyed reading it, you feel like you are an associate of Ben's company when everything goes to shit and his solutions are really interesting and can be used in any company's size, from big to small.

More over, the first thing you read when opening this book clearly indicate the state of mind of Ben Horowitz :

One hundred percent of my portion of the proceeds of this book will go to help women in developing countries gain basi civil rights via the American Jewish World Service.


I marked a lot of notes from this book, but funny thing, they are not interesting to copy paste them here, because they are advice.
For example, Ben added a question to ask in a meeting when you are in offensive mode : "What are we not doing?", this is really interesting because it helps the company find new and original way to improve the product and makes the meeting powerful.

About going into a layoff (not a one people issue) :
Ben says that you are laying people off because the company failed to hit its plan. Not because of the individual performance.

"The company failed and in order to move forward, we will have to lose some excellent people".

Ben also share some books that seems interesting to read (I never did, yet), here are these books :

There is not much quotes or ideas that I share here, and there is a simple reason : The whole book is interesting, truly.

I highly recommend you to read it.

And Ben Horowitz, thank you for this formidable read.

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L'Art zen du leadership

by Cyril.

J'ai finis de lire le livre "L'art zen du leadership" et malgré le fait que le titre est trompeur (en tout cas pour moi), quelques "leçons du chan" évoquées dans se livre, et datant de plus de mille ans sont intéressantes sur notre vie d'aujourd'hui.

En voici quelques extraits :

La question de la sécurité ou du danger est une affaire de vertu ; la question de la prospérité ou de la perte est une affaire d'époque.

L'esprit est le maître d'un corps, la base d'une myriade d'activités ; si l'esprit n'est pas parfaitement éveillé, alors l'illusion surgit naturellement. Une fois les illusions surgies, la perception de la vérité n'est pas claire.
Lorsque la perception de la vérité n'est pas claire, le bon et le mauvais sont confondus.

Qui ne fait pas de faute ? Se tromper et être capable de se corriger, c'est le mieux.
Depuis des temps immémoriaux, on a considéré la capacité à corriger les fautes comme un signe de sagesse, plutôt que d'admirer l'impeccabilité.
En effet les actions humaines sont entachées de nombreuses fautes et d'erreurs - c'est une chose que ni les sages ni les fous ne peuvent éviter - mais seulement les sages peuvent corriger leurs fautes et les changer en bien, alors que les fous cachent leurs fautes et camouflent leurs défauts.

"Sans maîtrise interne on ne peut se tenir, sans rectitude externe on ne peut agir. Mets cette devise en pratique toute ta vie ; elle résume l'oeuvre des sages et des saints."

De nos jours nous voyons des étudiants (du chan) s'attacher à des opinions erronées, sans comprendre la condition des autres, avec une foi superficielle, récalcitrante, aimant être flattés, admirant ceux qui les suivent et délaissant ceux qui diffèrent d'eux.
Même s'ils ont un peu de connaissance et une demi-compréhension, elles sont recouvertes par ces sortes de mauvaises habitudes.
Nombreux sont ceux qui vieillissent sans accomplissement.

De nos jours, les gens [...] se souviennent exclusivement de leurs propres voies, et s'inquiètent seulement de ce que les autres les surpassent. Ils ne pensent poursuivre le bien ni oeuvrer à ce qui est juste, parce qu'ils se gonflent eux-mêmes.
Concentrés sur leur propre réalisation, ils ne veulent pas que les autres en aient.
Ils ne peuvent faire confiance aux sages, ni coopérer avec les gens capables, parce qu'ils s'enflent eux-mêmes.
Ils ne sont soucieux que de leur propre réputation, sans la partager avec autrui.
Ils ne peuvent guider les gens avec humilité, car ils se considèrent eux-mêmes comme performants.

Et enfin, un poème :

Lorsque culmine l'affirmation, vous voyez le sujet ;
Au bout de la route, vous entrez dans la salle d'examens.
Prenez un cheveu - le vent et la pluie sont rapides
Pas de fête du diplôme cette année.

... ok le dernier, j'ai rien compris ;)

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Zero to One, by Peter Thiel

by Cyril.

I finished reading "Zero to One" by Peter Thiel about two weeks ago. I wanted to post about it sooner but didn't had the chance to.

The book was a good read in the way it's written, but I don't share all the ideas that Peter Thiel is giving. He's view seems to be Americano-focused and doesn't take really into consideration the rest of the world, as if everything was coming from Silicon valley.
Don't get me wrong, the book was great and there is a lot of things coming/created from San Francisco, but he's main vision is for big companies, or companies that aims to be big (multi billions dollars companies), which is a few percentage only.

Now, on the other hand, I really liked his description of the Optimism/Pessimism Definite/Indefinite (in Chapter 6, You are not a lottery ticket)

As always, I noted some parts that I liked when reading this book, which I share here :

... to reassure you that "it doesn't matter what you do, as long as you do it well." That is completely false. It does matter what you do. You should focus relentlessly on something you're good at doing, but before that you must think hard about whether it will be valuable in the future.

What nerds miss is that it takes hard work to make sales look easy.

16 Useful mental life hacks

by Cyril.

Your text to link here...1.When a group of people laughs, people instinctively look toward the group members they feel closest to, or want to feel closest to.
2.Take a peak at people's feet when they're talking to you. If their feet are pointed away from you, the person you are talking to wants the conversation to end.
3. When you are on a first date, take your date somewhere exciting : they'll associate you with that thrilling feeling.
4. Try to notice someone's eye color when you meet them. People will like you more for the slightly increased eye-contact.
5. If you work in customer service, put a mirror behind you. Customers will be nicer because nobody wants to see themselves being a jerk.
6. Most people can't tell the difference between brilliance and confidence. If you seem like you know what you are doing, people tend to rally around you.
7. If you are in a group meeting and expect someone to take you to task, sit right next to them. They'll lose the pack mentality that makes them feel safe to attack you. At the very least, they'll mitigate their meanness.
8. Many physical effects of stress are the same as those of exhilaration (e.g. heavy breathing, speeding heart, etc). If you reframe your threatening situation as a challenging one, your stress will become exhilaration.
9. Door-in-the-face : Peoople are also more likely to agree to a smaller favor if they deny a larger one or two first.
10. If you make yourself be really happy and excited to see other people, the next time they see you, they'll probably be a lot happier and more excited about it.
11. Before interviews, imagine yourself as old friends with your interviewers. You're in charge of the way you perceive your situation, and your comfort will be infectious.
12. Don't say or write "I think" or "I believe". It's implied anyway, and it sounds unconfident.
13. Emotional expressions are one way to cause emotions. If you want to feel happy, smile as wide as you can.
14. If you ask someone a question and they only give you a partial answer, maintain eye-contact and stay silent. The answerer will usually assume the original answer wasn't good enough, and they'ill keep talking.
15. If somebody is angry at you and you stay calm, they'll probably get angrier, but they'll be ashamed at themselves later.
16. Chew gum or eat food if you're doing something that would normally make you feel nervous. It tricks a primal part of your brain into thinking you couldn't be in danger because you're eating.

Source : 9Gag

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The Lean Startup

by Cyril.

I just finished to read The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries, and I must say this was an absolute great read!

The book was really pleasant to read (more than The Innovator's solution which "forces" you to switch a lot between the text and the notes at the end of each chapters).

There is a part of this book that was really powerful, that I'd like to share.

It's about "Product Development Pseudoscience" (In the Epilogue : Waste not) :

We routinely green-light new projects more on the basis of intuition than facts. As we've seen throughout this book, that is not the root cause of the problem. All innovation begins with vision. It's what happens next that is critical. As we've seen, too many innovation teams engage in success theater, selectively finding data that support their vision rather than exposing the elements of the vision to true experiments, or, even worse, staying in stealth mode to create a data-free zone for unlimited "experimentation" that is devoid of customer feedback or external accountability of any kind.

Everything is said here. So now, go buy this book! :)

Words of Wisdom

by Cyril.
  1. Go for women you perceive to be "out of your league". You'll surprise yourself.
  2. Never have sex with anyone that doesn't want it as much as you.
  3. Never hit anyone unless they are an immediate threat.
  4. Every hat should serve a purpose.
  5. Never take her to the movies on the first date.
  6. Learn to wet shave.
  7. Nothing looks more badass than a well-tailored suit.
  8. Shave with the grain on the first go-around.
  9. Always look a person in the eye when you talk to them.
  10. Buy a plunger before you need a plunger.
  11. Exercise makes you happy. Run, lift, and play sports.
  12. Brush your teeth before you put on your tie.
  13. A small amount of your paycheck should go directly to your savings account every month.
  14. Call you parents every week.
  15. Never wear a clip-on tie.
  16. Give a firm handshake.
  17. Compliment her shoes.
  18. Never leave a pint unfinished.
  19. If you aren't confident, fake it. It will come.
  20. You can tell the size of a man by the size of things that bother him.
  21. Be conscious of your body language.
  22. The only reason to ever point a gun at someone is if you intend to shoot them.
  23. Always stand to shake someone's hand.
  24. Never lend anything you can't afford to lose.
  25. Ask more than you answer. Everybody likes to talk about themselves.
  26. Keep a change of clothes at the office.
  27. Buy high quality tools, so you only have to buy them once.
  28. Manliness is not only being able to take care of yourself, but others as well.
  29. Go with the decision that will make for a good story.
  30. When you walk, look straight ahead, not at your feet.
  31. Nice guys don't finish last. Boring guys do.
  32. Find your passion and figure out how to get paid for it.
  33. Don't let the little head to the thinking for the big head.
  34. No matter their job or status in live, everyone deserves your respect.
  35. The most important thing you can learn is personal responsibility. Bad things happen, it's your job to overcome them.
  36. The first to be angry loses.
  37. Do what needs to be done without complaining. It won't help speed things up.
  38. Never stop learning.
  39. Always go out into public dressed like you're about to meet the love of your life.
  40. Don't change yourself just to make someone happy, unless that someone is you.
  41. If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.
  42. Luck favors the prepared.
  43. Women find confidence sexy as hell.
  44. Do whatever you want to do in life, but be the best at it.
  45. No one is on their deathbed wishing they spent more time at work. Enjoy your life.

Source: 9Gag (yeah, right?)

10 psychology secrets to supercharge your sales

by Cyril.

TheNextWeb recently published an article quite interesting about the behavior psychology of your customers.

Some points were really interesting, that's why I'm copying them here, for potential quick access in the future.

  1. Authority
    Prove your serious by adding, for example, some data (# thousands accounts created, # TeraBytes of data consumed, etc).
    Dribbles does that perfectly with their XXX pixels dribbbled

  2. Anchoring
    Mental shortcuts used by the brain to simplify a complex problem. For example, be clearer in your pricing ; instead of "On sale, $.50/roll", say "4 rolls of bathroom tissue for 2$".
    Easier to understand.

  3. Social proof
    Add testimonials from your users, or links to popular services/blogs that have talked about your product (in a good way ;) )

  4. Loss aversion
    Loss is perceived as a greater percentage than an equal gain.
    Instead of saying "You will gain X by using my product", say "Stop loosing millions of data every month by using my product".

  5. Foot in the door
    Ask your customer for a small (easy) request. This will make them more enclined to purchase from you after because you triggered a basis or relation and trust between your product and your user.

  6. Scarcity
    The idea of shortage. "Only 5 items left" can boost sales.
    I'm not a fan of these technics since almost all e-commerce websites use them. It's not perceived as "buy now without thinking! thank you" (in my opinion).

  7. Community
    Make your customer feel like she's part of your community (offering more things, like access to private elements (facebook group page, forum, etc))

  8. Anticipation
    This is something Apple is excellent at. Create anticipation to increase the need to buy.
    The example given at TNW is the "end of the month sales" that is reminded during all the month.

  9. Freedom
    Put your service/product as something that will give more freedom to your user. The basic example that comes to mind is "Spend more time with your family by using XXX" ;)

  10. Controversy
    This one is tricky. Too much controversy can push people away, but a small amount can draw people in.
    You have to analyze your customers, understand the domain you are in and adapt it.

7 Cardinal Rules For Life

by Cyril.
  1. Make peace with your past, so it won't disturb your present.
  2. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  3. Time heals almost everything. Give it time.
  4. No one is in charge of your hapiness. Except you.
  5. Don't compare your life to others and don't judge them. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  6. Stop thinking too much. It's alright not to know the answers. They will come to you when you least expect it.
  7. Smile. You don't own all the problems in the world.

(source: http://9gag.com/gag/aBr1Lpx)