At BTX, we love to share knowledge (and fun!) as a team, and often recommend books to each other. Our UX designer, Timothy Dollard, tells us a little bit about what he’s currently reading.
What book are you reading right now?
Difference, by Bernadette Jiwa
Why did you decide to read this book?
Divya, our Chief Technical Officer, went on a book-buying spree and ordered at least 15 books on various startup-relevant topics. Things like product design, marketing, PR, branding, and other random stuff specific to a startup company like ours. I picked Difference, by Bernadette Jiwa, because I’m always interested in great products and companies that really improve peoples lives. I was curious to learn about Bernadette Jiwa’s insights.
What was most enjoyable about this book?
It has very sensible statements about how companies should design products, communicate their values, deliver features and interact with customers. It almost makes the whole process sound easy. The ‘Difference Map’ that the author fills out for other successful start-ups is very interesting, and helped us create our own plan.
What was least enjoyable about it?
I wouldn’t say there was anything not enjoyable about this book. It just left me wanting to read more. The book itself is very short, and by the end it can feel a bit vague. The overall themes are useful to keep in mind, but more data and case studies would have been nice.
What do you feel that you gained something from it?
I definitely gained overarching principles/guidelines for approaching product design and communication. Bernadette Jiwa really stressed the people side of a business/product. Her goal is to build a business around products that change how people behave, how they feel or improve how they live. I completely agree with this outlook. I’m overwhelmed by the number of brands, products and amount of marketing out there. It’s always great (but rare) to discover a company that offers a product that you truly value because it’s useful, enjoyable and good for you. It always makes you think, why wasn’t this around sooner!
Would you recommend it to a friend?
I would for anyone interested in products, brands or marketing. It’s a quick read.
What was your favorite quote?
“They [difference thinkers] innovate and create at the edges, ignoring the Market of Everyone.”
This definitely reminds me of digital currency as a whole. It began with—and is still largely used by—people who are technology savvy and ahead of the curve. More and more people are beginning to see the great possibilities digital currency holds.
“They watch what people do and don’t just believe whatever people tell them.”
This describes user testing in a nutshell. Real feedback from real people has been crucial for us while building Celery. Bernadette Jiwa may not have been specifically referencing user-testing, but I believe it’s an applicable practice and fits in with the themes of the book.
What do you want to read next?
Next I’m reading Get Your Priorities Straight by Nick Scarpino. It’s about marketing and communications.