Soundview Executive Book Summaries


Book Review: The Thank You Economy

by Gary Vaynerchuk

Upon picking up the Soundview Executive Book Summary of author and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk’s book The Thank You Economy, one concept should leap out at readers. Vaynerchuk wants you to provide one-on-one attention to your company’s entire customer base. This sounds like a considerable challenge to companies whose customers number in the thousands or tens of thousands. The fact that he believes social media is the tool with which to accomplish the task may do little to lighten the burden of this challenge to the reader. However, as the audiences who attend his speeches would likely report, Vaynerchuk is quite persuasive in getting his point across.

The Thank You Economy isn’t a social media primer, for those readers fearing another business book that spends half its pages going over well-tread ground. Instead, Vaynerchuk uses a fascinating array of examples from companies of all sizes to demonstrate the right (and, in some cases, wrong) way to use social media to connect with customers. He also devotes a section of the book to the importance of building a social culture within the organization, a process that begins with executives. Decision-makers quickly realize that Vaynerchuk is arguing the critical importance of connecting with customers is not a responsibility to be passed down the line.

The word to which Vaynerchuk returns time and again in his book is “opportunity.” While he may be referring to social media as the opportunity your business can’t afford to miss, there are those who would point to his book as an opportunity for advancement unto itself. For that, Vaynerchuk certainly deserves a thank-you of his own.

To get your copy of the Soundview Executive Book Summary of The Thank You Economy visit Soundview’s Web site Summary.com.

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How Businesses Are Using Video

I recently ran across a great article written by Jimm Fox of One Market Media on the many business uses of video. I’ve listed his main categories below, and you can check out the full article for more details.

  1. Customer Reference – video helps with collecting and showing customer testimonials, case studies and interviews.
  2. Product & Service Promotion – companies use video for product presentations, demonstrations and reviews.
  3. Corporate – corporations provide their company overview, executive highlights, facility tours and more with video.
  4. Training & Support – video is the latest thing in employee training, sales presentations and maintenance support.
  5. Internal Communication – video is now being used for business plans, company achievements, event coverage, employee orientation and health & safety education.
  6. Marketing – video promotions can take the form of commercials, viral video, content marketing and landing pages.
  7. PR/Community – video press releases are becoming more popular, along with video PR materials and community relation pieces.
  8. Events – at an event, presentations, roundtable discussions and Q&A with experts can all take place in video.
  9. Other – videos are also being used for recruitment, vlogs (video blogs) and research/surveys.

On the internet search side of the equation, research shows that a webpage with video is 30% more likely to end up on the first page of search results in Google then the same page without video. Google is now giving preference to video content in their search algorithm.

At Soundview, we are following this trend carefully, and have expanded our own offerings to include video. Our iPad format of each business book summary includes a video introduction from our Editor-in-Chief Sarah Dayton.  We now produce Executive Insights, a series of videos which interview active executives regarding key business skills. And we’re developing additional video content to be released soon.

Video increases engagement time, deepens emotional connections, and gives your company more trust and credibility with your customers and other stake-holders. And the cost of entry is becoming less every day with new technologies and web tools. If your company or organization is not currently using video, now is the time to jump in.



Trends in Customer Service

As social media has taken hold in all areas of business, and as the mobile device has become our primary vehicle of communication and interaction with companies, this phenomenon has brought with it a resurging emphasis on customer service.

The reasons are obvious. Now when I’m not happy with a company’s service, I have more options than calling them or filling out a survey. I can now post my complaint on Facebook to all my friends, Tweet about it to my followers, and even put together a video for Youtube. Viral complaints are the new catastrophe looming over company executives. Just ask United Airlines.

So it’s no surprise that business authors have caught on to this trend and are highlighting those companies that do customer service right. Here are just a few recent titles:

Among the lessons that companies are learning is that they must keep their finger on the pulse of social media. Someone needs to constantly monitor the major social media networks for mentions of their respective company and products. In this way catastrophes can be averted by a quick response to any issue that arises. Ford, PepsiCo and Southwest Airlines are among those companies with staff dedicated to monitoring social sites and handling issues as they come up.

Do you have stories about companies that have handled (or mishandled) customer issues aired through social media? If so, we’d love to post your stories with this blog. Please comment below.



What Are Your Favorite Resources?

In a given month I look at a lot of resources to improve the way I do my job, and to provide content for our various social media outlets. Here’s a partial list:

My #1 resource is of course Soundview’s stable of content: business book summaries, author webinars and interviews, Executive Insights videos, and our Executive Edge newsletter. I realize I’m biased but I don’t know how busy executives get by without this resource.

  • I subscribe to a few excellent book- and publishing-related newsletters like Publisher’s Weekly, Publishing Business Today and Mediabistro’s GalleyCat.
  • I still like to get magazines and currently receive Fast Company, Inc magazine, Fortune and Wired to name a few. I learn as much from the ads as from the article as to what companies are doing and what content is important. I also refer to their corresponding websites as needed.
  • The Wall St Journal is a great resource at many levels and again I use their website when it suits my needs.
  • I watch the Tweets of over 150 business authors and publishers, although it’s difficult to keep up. You can see the complete list of who I follow @BusinessBooks. In addition I receive newsletters and emails from several of our frequently summarized authors to stay attuned to what they’re doing.
  • Because we’re on the mailing list of all major book publishers, we also see what’s coming up for new books so that we can spot trends and choose upcoming titles to consider for summarization.

I’m sure there’s more that I’m forgetting, but you get the idea. What do you use for resources in your position? Our readers would love to see your list and perhaps I’ll pick up a few more for myself as well.



How Is Your Company Using Social Media?
December 14, 2011, 1:46 PM
Filed under: Brands, Social Media, Technology | Tags: , , ,

Several months ago I wrote about one of the book trends we’ve seen in 2011 – social media. I referred to the work of Chris Brogan & Julien Smith with Trust Agents, and Brogan’s latest book Google+ for Business, Shel Israel and Robert Scoble with Naked Conversations, and Adam Penenberg with Viral Loop.

How is your company using social media? Do you see it as a distraction, a necessary drain of resources, or a budding source of great customer interaction and potential for leads and revenue?

At Soundview we’ve been working with social media for several years and are beginning to make some headway. Unlike a retail company, we don’t have the same customer issues to deal with, so our interaction is more informational.

Our SoundviewSummary blog, as you can see, gives readers a taste of the books we’re featuring, looks at various book topics and trends, and points to our other sources of information for business executives. We use Twitter to highlight articles and trends around upcoming books, e-book issues, book publishers, authors and sellers in the news, and from time-to-time we look at how books and life intersect.

We host a group on Linked In with book features for people to pass on and to help with those seeking to move up or find a new job. And last but not least, Facebook is for us a consolidation of the above resources, plus a few more. We highlight each book we cover, provide a feed from this blog, and include videos and other content to help our fans keep up on business content.

We’d love to hear what your company is doing. Please comment, and provide a link to your social media resources as well.



What You’ve Been Missing …

Have you heard recent editions of Soundview’s Author Insight Series? If not, you missed some great conversations with today’s best business authors. Each month, Soundview features downloadable interviews with an array of best-selling business authors. These 10-minute audio clips make a great companion to Soundview’s 30 Best Business Books summaries. If you’re a Soundview subscriber, now is a great time to catch up on what you’ve been missing. Here’s a sampling of some of the most memorable quotes from recent guests:

“Clearly you want to know what your core competencies are but if you stick solely to what those competencies are, it’s like driving by only looking in the rearview mirror.” – Stephen Wunker, author of Capturing New Markets.

“The dialogue around innovation has been way too skewed toward differentiation, as if that were the only problem to solve and the answer to all problems, which just isn’t true.” – Geoffrey A. Moore, author of Escape Velocity.

“If you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message.” – Jim Kouzes, co-author (with Barry Posner) of Credibility.

“Part of the curse of knowledge [carried by] senior executives is that they will be deeply familiar with ‘the numbers,’ but the numbers just won’t resonate with the rest of the organization.” – Colin Price, co-author (with Scott Keller) of Beyond Performance.

“We have it in our heads that technology distances people … I completely disagree. I think that things like e-mail and Twitter and Facebook have enabled me to have many, many more relationships all over the world.” – Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment.

You can hear more from the best business authors by visiting Soundview’s Web site, Summary.com.



Apple vs Google vs Amazon vs Facebook

This month Fast Company published an issue with an extensive article on the competition between Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook, and they did it in an innovative way. They actually published four separate covers, each one declaring why one of the companies will win. I got the one declaring Google the winner, perhaps because I’m on the east coast (if the cover distribution was geographical). The latest Fortune magazine issue also depicts Larry Page of Google and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fighting it out martial-arts-style on the cover.

The competition between these four companies is definitely heating up as each reaches more and more into the others’ traditional territories. The lines are now blurred as all four companies fight for a larger share of the dollars and time of the world’s population.

In celebration of this epic battle, I thought it would be enlightening to look at the business books being written about each company and its founders.

Apple – we should begin with Apple because Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is projected to be the best-selling book on Amazon for 2011 even though it was just released in October. Jobs has had many books written about him – in fact my count shows as many books about Steve Jobs as have been written about Google, or about Amazon and Facebook combined. We just published the summary of The Steve Jobs Way by Jay Elliot, a Senior VP under Jobs at Apple. And Inside Steve’s Brain by Leander Kahney has received a lot of attention as well. Really, Apple can’t be separated from Steve Jobs when it comes to covering their success over the years and probably well into the future.

Google In the Plex is the latest book about Google, and was written by Wired’s technical journalist Steven Levy. This book is on Amazon’s top 10 list of best sellers for 2011 as well. Among the other top books is The Search by John Battelle, and of course the obligatory The Google Way by Bernard Girard. You haven’t really made it until you have a “The ____Way” book written about you or your company.

Facebook – We get a little thin here with only a handful of books about Facebook or its founder Mark Zuckerberg. There is The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick and The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich. But Zuckerberg makes up for this poor showing by being the only one of the four company founders to have a movie made about him called The Social Network. Note: there is no The Facebook Way book yet, which may or may not be a prediction of their future success.

Amazon – For a company that started out selling books, they haven’t had much written about them or their founder Jeff Bezos. One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon by Richard Brandt describes the basic and simple premise of the company – make it easy for people to buy. Other titles about Amazon include Amazon.com by Robert Spector and Inside the Giant Machine by Kalpanik S., a pen-name for a former employee of Amazon.

So if you’re watching this tech battle and would like to read up on the companies, I hope this will get you started. I’m sure there will be many more books to come in the future as the fight continues.