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On Blue Oceans December 28, 2007

Posted by Timothy Li in Books, MBET, PMBA.
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The book Blue Ocean Strategy proposes a new direction for strategic positioning, built on top of Porter’s differentiation strategy.

The book revolves around the goal to break out of red oceans, where various competitors benchmark against each other and modify product offerings accordingly. Instead, the author urges businesses to seek out blue oceans, or “uncontested waters where little competition exists”. This themes resonates to the Christensen’s Disruptive Innovation theory, both theories focus on non-consumers instead of acquiring existing consumers from direct competitors.

In order to identify potential blue oceans, the author proposed the use of a Strategic Canvas to graphically represent the current competitive landscape, as well as using an [ Eliminate | Reduce | Raise | Create ] grid to articulate the proposed strategy.

It’s a delightful read, thanks to Albert Lai and Nancy Vanden Bosch for recommending the book.

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On Management January 8, 2007

Posted by Timothy Li in Books, Personal MBA, PMBA, wind.
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the essential drucker

I finished reading ‘the essential drucker’ as a part of my Personal MBA reading list. Surprisingly, about 30% of the book deals directly with management in startups and small firms. It’s a very rewarding read.

Mr. drucker laid out the following rule for successful operational management:

Unless 97 percent or so of its flights proceed on the original schedule and flight plan – or within a very limited range of deviation from either – a well-run airline gets another operations manager who knows his job.

Many more sources indicate the importance of management for startups, the common message is that loosely managed projects will fail. regardless how well your teammates work together, focus on objectives cannot be overlooked.

my upcoming reading list July 6, 2006

Posted by Timothy Li in Books, Personal MBA, wind.
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Some of you probably know that I’m in the process of completing the Personal MBA program, which is essentially a big list of book that you could find in a book store under “business” and “self helf” sections. 

It is a great experience and as a side effect my appetit for reading has increased dramatically.  Thanks to James Perly for getting me started, and to Anton Van Ryan for the continouse support.  Anton has recently decided to join me on this reading project.   

if you are interested in seeing what my upcoming reading list is, you can find it here. 

http://www.amazon.ca/gp/registry/TSGAZ90UXHJF

If you have any of these books, could I borrow it please? =)

Here is a list of books I have completed so far, some of which are not from the PMBA list. 

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WordPress and the 5th weapon of influence June 18, 2006

Posted by Timothy Li in Books, influence, Personal MBA, WordPress.
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The book “Influence” by Dr. Robert B. Cialdini presents a detailed discussion of seven weapons of influence. Guy Kawasaki reviewed the book here, it is also listed in the Personal MBA program. 

Weapons of influence might sound intimidating to you at first, but they are used everywhere by its masters to gain compliance from their target audience.  In simpler terms, you may use these “weapons”, or methods to persuade someone into agreeing to your request, be it for a date, a customer, or even your own boss. 

After studying the book, I began to notice the employment of these weapons of influence everywhere, and how they influence my decisions through many different channels.  Even when I blog I cannot escape their power.  Let’s take the popular blog Scobleizer for an example. 

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getting my own Rolodex May 31, 2006

Posted by Timothy Li in Books, networking, Rolodex.
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I just finished reading Harvey Mackay's dig your well before you're thirsty, recommended by James Perly.Top three take aways for college students:

1. you have a network already, work on it
2. build a bigger one, offer your help
3. get your own Rolodex

What's Rolodex you ask, a way to effectively record information about your contacts. You can do this on your PDA or get a real Rolodex and do it primitively =)

In his book, Mackay convincies you of all three things and shows you what to do.

He goes one step further and defined "sixteen cornerstones" of a network. I found out by surprise that he ranked having a Travel Agent in your network the 3rd most important of all. =) guess I didn't pick a completely useless career path after all.

speed reading technique April 18, 2006

Posted by Timothy Li in Books, Personal MBA, speed reading.
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many friends have shown interests in the topic 'speed reading' lately, due to the large amount of reading material they need to master during this exam period.

the book 'Super Reading Secrets' by Howard Berg taught me a few techniques to immediately increase the reading speed. I completed this book during a bus trip and found that it not only increased my reading speed, but also as a side affect boosted my interests in reading greatly.

From this book, the most immediately applicable technique for me is to follow a finger when you proceed through the text. This improves your reading speed and quality in several ways, it –

  1. help the readers to stay focused on the text
  2. allow readers to easily set and change the reading pace according to the difficulty of the current chunk of text
  3. prevents readers from getting stuck and continuously re-read a chunk a text. (more on this later)
  4. makes reading to stay focused in an unsteady environment (such as on a bus.. etc)

point 3 is debatable. A friend argued that usually the reason for getting stuck is the lack of comprehension, thus obviously one should pay extra attentions to it by repetitively reading it.
but how often did the second read help?

Howard's approaches to this problem is a bit different. He explained that the reason for failing to extract meaningful information from a chunk of text is either because the text is garbage, or because the reader has not enough knowledge to process the text.

In the latter case, Howard argues that by continuing to read ahead, it's very likely that readers will eventually pick up enough 'schemas' (key concepts) to be able to interpret what was left behind. so by quickly marking up left-out text and returning to them for a more careful examination would be a more efficient approach. You will be surprised how often these left-out text are actually not as meaningful as you thought they were to start with.

thanks to James Perly for insisting on this book. It will definitely help me on the quest to complete portions of the Personal MBA program.

toread list April 8, 2006

Posted by Timothy Li in Books, Entrepreneurship, PMBA, wind.
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Seth Godin‘s (the purple cow guy) blog leads to a valuable list of books, tagged under what Josh Kaufman () calls the ‘PMBA‘ package.

P is for personal. MBA is for… MBA

my current reading projects are on the list –

  1. the art of the start‘ by Guy Kawasaki. Brilliant guide to starting a business.
  2. ‘boostrapper’s bible’ by Seth Godin. Details about what the title says. Guy’s chapter on boostrapping leads right into this one.

Two suggested books for college readers to get excited –

  1. getting things done‘ by David Allen.
    this book name has came up to me quite a few times lately. Deals with general management issues – transferable between school, personal life, as well as business.
  2. Influence: Science and Practice‘ by Robert Cialdini.
    Guy Kawasaki has followed up with the author here. the topics covered in the book are delightful. Deals with positioning and persuation, which we will all learn someday, hopefully :)