What I’ve Learnt From Business Books
Over the years of running my own companies I’ve read many of business books and also listened to hundreds of hours of training and ‘motivational’ tapes whilst behind the wheel, but you have to ask, ‘what has stuck?’
There are three stand out books that I still think about two of them nearly ten years old and they have almost become a bedrock of my business philosophy:
- Amazon.Com: Get Big Fast - Inside the Revolutionary Business Model That Changed The World by Robert Spector
- Boo Hoo: A Dot Com Story by Ernst Malmsten, Erik Portanger and Charles Drazin.
- Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
Growth v. Profit
Amazon.Com was the first unofficial history of the company and since then Amazon has changed both in size and also in the range of products that it now offers. What’s still fascinating for me is Jeff Bezos’ vision and how he inspired the team around him. Back in the early noughties Amazon hadn’t made a profit despite being five years old. Bezos was set on world domination and committed to growth, even at the expense of profit.
Losing money wasn’t a path that I wanted to go down — I couldn’t afford it because I had no external backing like Amazon. Instead the book focused me on making a profit month-on-month, even if only a few pounds. But as it turns out I guess Bezos got it right and I got it wrong.
Customer service is a priority
Another great book from about the same era was Boo Hoo. Another well-backed start-up that burnt through something around $135 million in under 12 months — it made me cry into my cornflakes. It just illustrates the madness of the times and was the defining story of the dotcom boom and bust of 2000. Along with many others, Boo.com certainly screwed up how ecommerce was viewed by investors in the following years.Continued on the next page