Sunday, January 28, 2007

Fast Second: book review

On the verge of writing my previous post I started writing a review on a very interesting book. I was "frightened" of being rough, impolite, offensive somehow to the readers or to the authors.
Then, I had the occasion to read a really crude and earth-shattering review by Joel Spolsky on "Dreaming in Code" (Yep, I read his blog).
All of a sudden, my worries vanished :)

So, here is

My personal review of Fast Second (by C. C. Markides, P. A. Geroski)

It is a really interesting book, where "interesting" is twofold: the ideas expressed are interesting, and the writing style is interesting too, for it provides information by repeating the same concept in different ways. It seems to me that the most interesting thing in this book is the repetition scheme in itself.

In fact, it helps the reader by just writing the concepts twice or more, in order that the reader doesn't need to re-read the same sentence more than once. Memorization is easier because information is redundant and presented from different viewpoints (like 2D and 3D representation).

That is to say, it could have been written in half the paper, but it wouldn't have been such a light reading on such a complex matter. Books like this can be read on a noisy flight near the turbines, with a crying baby on your side, without the need to concentrate on the topic.

Uhmmm, what's missing here?

Oh yeah, I forgot the topic on which this book is focused on! The book is about competitive innovation in the mass market, it clearly advocates the strategy of waiting for a settlement of the technology evolution, then enter the mass market (well, actually it is "build a rather inexistent one") just before (or shortly after) a dominant design appears, and when most of Startups are running out of fuel.

What I don't understand is how such an ecosystem can sustain itself, and how can I estimate such a high risk (technical and financial) of entering in a typically narrow time window with big investments, which are needed to consolidate the product and create the market.

My Advice

Similar "redundant" books have been written and edited by Kathy Sierra and are called "Head First": they are far more capturing and interesting than Fast Second, and I advice to buy them if you want to stuff more things in your brain with lesser effort.

Technorati Tags: , ,
, ,