Two new books arrived this week that may be of interest.
Naked Conversation – How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel is very timely with all that is going on in the world of blogging. I know Robert from Microsoft. He has been active in evangelizing the potential of blogging and very much practices what he preaches, even when his postings may at times not be consistent with company practices. The book explores how blogging has changed the rules of communication and competition and gives business owners the tools to launch an effective blogging strategy. Robert and Shel interviewed many business leaders including Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, Bob Lutz from General Motors and Johanthan Schwartz of Sun Microsystems. Let Go to Grow – Escaping the Commodity Trap by Linda S. Sanford with Dave Taylor is about strategy and management practices. Normally pretty boring stuff, but Linda and Dave have organized the book in a way that makes it flow very nicely. It is all about driving innovation and gaining productivity — both urgent topics for anyone in a leadership position today. The book explains the concepts of componentization, outsourcing, and off-shoring in a clear but strategic way and then lays out an approach for leveraging the concepts across an enterprise. Practical case studies about Dell, eBay, GE, Procter & Gamble, and Toyota bring it all home. I have known Linda for quite a few years. She has had a number of top-level executive positions in systems, storage, and global sales and is now Senior Vice President of IBM’s internal On Demand Transformation and Information Technology initiatives. In addition to being one of IBM’s highest-ranking women, she also serves as a member of the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame and the National Association of Engineers. She was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Business by Fortune magazine, one of the Top Ten Innovators in the Technology Industry by Information Week, and one of the Ten Most Influential Women in Technology by Working Woman. She is also a nice lady!