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Best New Thinking Winner 2010

Bookshop – Internet Books

 

The User is always right, Steve Mulder and Viv Yaar New Riders 2007
This is the most useful book about research I have read in some time. It is an introduction to personas a way of typologising consumers which has come out of website design. The fundamental difference between a persona and other consumer summaries is that a persona is a 1 page precis of the uses goals and behaviours. Demographics and attitudes aren't high on the agenda. This is critical when understanding how to make websites and online campaigns work better clearly. But the ramifications of persona thinking are much bigger than that and will I am sure spread right across the research world. This is a good accessible introduction. It covers the development of personas using quantitative as well as qualitative research - the lucidity of all of this is surprising - not all research books are as clear or practical. And the later chapters go into a number of ways of applying personas particularly in terms of the construction of user scenarios. I designed a set of personas for Microsoft UK back in 2003 for all their audiences. Its just that we didn't call them personas then! And I still found the book interesting and helpful - I now use it as part of the distance learning training I run for international students about Internet Research. Highly recommended.
 
 
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Business at the Speed of Stupid: Building smart companies after the technological shakeout, Dan Burke Alan Morrison 2001 Perseus
The title is a spoof on the Bill Gates title. More holiday reading! I found this book really helpful (and very funny in places). Its about how to implement IT properly in a business. The authors have loads of experiences consulting on IT - but they refuse to name any of the companies whose disasters they write about. They amalgamate the various IT disasters into 10 object lessons. Which is slightly offputting because it hardly gives them credentials and the only people who do know are their clients who must be slightly miffed that their incompetence is being publicised by said consultants. Once you've got past the - where's the casestudy and who are they writing about - this turns out to be a very practical book about how to implement IT. After all the cockups they outline a method for implementation which makes a lot of sense to me. If you work in a new media agency, or on integrated campaigns involving new media and CRM then you will be making or avoiding these cockups on a daily basis. Best of all if you are a client having to manage these kinds of projects you will find this book accessible, highly entertaining and it may save you a lot of grief and money. I bought it at a remainder bookshop. It was worth a lot more than I paid for it.
 
 
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Unleashing the Killer App : Digital Strategies for Market Dominance, Larry Downes Chunka Mui 1998 HBS
This is a great book written by a couple of ex Andersen consultants who have combined Moore's law of cost/size reduction with Metcalfe's law of network leverage with an obscure economist called Coase who figured out the true cost of a transaction (which determines the appropriate size for a company). Whew! This generates 12 principles for developing an effective internet business. Straightforward to understand, with lots of practical advice plus a truckload of case studies. Best book on the Internet yet, apart from Seth Godin's seminal classic Permission Marketing.
 
 
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New rules for the New Economy, Kevin Kelly 1999 4th
Written by the Editor of Wired the mag for the digerati. IT is going to change the planet. Ultimately digital stuff is going to make us all fabulously rich, solve world poverty and lead to an endless boom. And they called the Marxists dogmatic! I'm being unfair. This is a good introduction to the idea that a networked economy works very differently from the old supply and demand one based on limited resources. Worth a read.
 
 
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Digital Darwinism, Evan Schwartz 1999 Penguin
You want different business models for making ecommerce effective. You got em. Lots of examples. Practical. Nice. And a rattling quick read.
 
 
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Customers.com, Patricia B. Seybold 1998 Random House
Customers.com is one of the longest promotional leaflets you will ever read. It's also one of the best. Whenever I pick up a brief for a CRM job this is the book I take off the shelf for a refresher. It is a complete overview of how to use the internet to rebuild a business around your customers. Copiously researched, heavily bullet pointed this is as comprehensive and accessible as you could wish for. Keep an eye on the publication date. There are a couple of different versions out there. Our Patricia's in the habit of changing the case studies and keeping the rest of the content the same and sending it off to the publishers again. If you work in CRM you'll already be plagiarising this book. If you're a client you can always hire her or go on one of her stateside seminars. For everyone there is a bonus - the customers.com website where you can download white papers and all kinds of goodies like customer dashboards and the like. Very good value.
 
 
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The Victorian Internet, Tom Standage 1998 Phoenix
There is nothing new about the Internet. 150 years ago the Victorians were deep in telegraph fever and all the same chestnuts were there: spamming, online communities, and the perpetual how to make it profitable. This is a pacy and highly readable history. Around 200 pages you'll rattle through it and be highly stimulated. I was. Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it...
 
 
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See also Permission Marketing in Classics section
See also Cluetrain Manifesto in Company Culture section

 

 


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