Febin John James

@heyfebin

5 Books Every Founder Must Read

May 2nd 2017

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

The first two years of my startup was hard. We juggled between ideas, often came back to square one, were confused and hardly produced results. We had launched multiple products with no traction. If you are a victim of these symptoms this book will give you direction.

If your goal is making money, it’s the wrong reason. If it’s making an impact. The goal is too abstract. We did the same mistake. Our first solution was for event organisers, the next one for cricket fans, then for football fans, etc. These hardly got traction. Unless you define your why, your cofounders won’t be on the same page, employees will have no clue what their company is upto and don’t even think about your customers.

Later, we defined our why. “We want to improve the infrastructure of Indian Football and see our country to top in FIFA rankings”.

In the next few months, we closed four partnerships. We had people from the community working for us. They didn’t work for money and recognition. But to support the cause. Definitely worth a read.

Book on Amazon

The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you

If your product is not solving a user’s problem, they are not going to use it. We interviewed a lot of user while building our product. We failed because we made assumptions on the problems user have and formed an idea. The interview process was made to validate this idea.

If you pitch your idea. People say they like it. Of course you want to hear that and can’t wait to see it in action. This is a mistake. Most people lie because they want to be nice.

Don’t pitch your product to your customers. Approach the user interview as a process to find out the truth rather than validating your idea. This requires you to ask the right questions . This book is about crafting those questions.

Book on Amazon

Smartcuts: The Breakthrough Power of Lateral Thinking

Being the only programmer in the team , made my life difficult to work on backend, mobile and devops. I was forced to find smartcuts to ship faster. I have shared my learnings here, How to build it fast and cheap.

This was long before, I even heard about this book. I knew how to hack a product’s development. Never thought I could apply this in my personal life. This book helped me with the same.

Initially my articles on medium hardly hit 100 views. Now I am writer on FreeCodeCamp, Hackernoon, Startup Grind (Some of the top medium publications) Also temporarily hold the title of top writer in Technology, Innovation and Business. This happened in a spawn of few months. This book helps you accelerate your success in the field you want to excel in.

Book on Amazon

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

If you don’t find contentment in the work you do, you work shallow. Shallow work kills productivity, makes you hate your job, you become listless etc. Deep work on the other hand boost productivity, make you fall in love with what your work and you end up relaxed.

You are surrounded by products which is engineered to take away your attention. Facebook, Snapchat, etc engineer their product to make you addicted. It makes sense to them, because they make money with your time. On the other hand you pay the cost. This book helps you achieve deep work. A must read!

Book on Amazon

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

I always wondered why some posts or products go viral. Does this happen by mistake? Can this be engineered? This book explains techniques that can help you engineer virality.

In the age of information clutter, it is hard to cut through the clutter and communicate the message. Unless you make your message stick people don’t even bother.

I applied these techniques on the posts I made on Hackernews. My karma went from -6 to 300 . From my personal experience, techniques in this book should be applied with perseverance.

Book on Amazon

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