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Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making Hardcover – 10 May 2022
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Tony Fadell led the teams that created the iPod, iPhone and Nest Learning Thermostat and learned enough in 30+ years in Silicon Valley about leadership, design, startups, Apple, Google, decision-making, mentorship, devastating failure and unbelievable success to fill an encyclopedia.
So that’s what this book is. An advice encyclopedia. A mentor in a box.
Written for anyone who wants to grow at work—from young grads navigating their first jobs to CEOs deciding whether to sell their company—Build is full of personal stories, practical advice and fascinating insights into some of the most impactful products and people of the 20th century.
Each quick 5-20 page entry builds on the previous one, charting Tony’s personal journey from a product designer to a leader, from a startup founder to an executive to a mentor. Tony uses examples that are instantly captivating, like the process of building the very first iPod and iPhone. Every chapter is designed to help readers with a problem they’re facing right now—how to get funding for their startup, whether to quit their job or not, or just how to deal with the jerk in the next cubicle.
Tony forged his path to success alongside mentors like Steve Jobs and Bill Campbell, icons of Silicon Valley who succeeded time and time again. But Tony doesn’t follow the Silicon Valley credo that you have to reinvent everything from scratch to make something great. His advice is unorthodox because it’s old school. Because Tony’s learned that human nature doesn’t change. You don’t have to reinvent how you lead and manage—just what you make.
And Tony’s ready to help everyone make things worth making.
"Insightful. Funny. Instructive. Unvarnished. In a book brimming with energy and enthusiasm, Tony Fadell, builder of epoch-defining products, draws on his experience with failure and accomplishment to coach you through every stage of your career."--Joanna Hoffman, former vice president of marketing at General Magic and member of the original Macintosh team
"Tony Fadell distills his epic career into refreshingly candid, often contrarian advice that you can put into practice right away. Whether you're looking to build a great product, a creative team, a strong culture, or a meaningful career, Tony's guidance will get you thinking and rethinking."--Adam Grant, author of Think Again and host of the TED podcast WorkLife
Tony Fadell has made more cool stuff than almost anyone else in the history of Silicon Valley, and in Build he tells us how. This is the most fun--and the most fascinating--memoir of curiosity and invention I've ever read.--Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of Outliers and Talking to Strangers
Tony Fadell is one of the world's great experts in starting companies and creating insanely great products. He's distilled his wisdom in this book, providing wildly useful mentorship in a delightfully readable set of stories.--Walter Isaacson, author and biographer of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Leonardo da Vinci
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Using Tony’s check list that in order to make a difference companies need to focus on 5 things (abridged):
1. Be humble and flexible, and able to adapt to customer’s needs
2. Deliver something wholly new or deliver in a novel way that competitors can't
3. Solve a real pain point that is relevant to many
4. Execute the vision - in all aspects, not just a product
5. Think about a problem/need in a way customer haven't and makes perfect sense to them when they hear/see/experience it.
Using this approach, here is my assessment of Build:
1. Packed full of humility, reflection, and learning; It is customer, problem and team obsessed. Tony packs in years of advice and hard-earned experience
2. A great combination of stories, practical advice that are wholly engaging and unlock some of the aspects that can enable and inhibit venture and product building. Plus the proceeds from the book will be invested in a climate fund, plus Tony is also committing to a 5x match (up to $25 million) of his personal funds.
3. Entrepreneurship and great product design is hard, really hard – successful practitioners model success, they constant seek to learn – so here’s an opportunity to learn from one of the best
4. The book is great entertainment, great learning – one you won’t want to put down until you finish and will definitely want to return to time and time again. Beyond the content of the book Tony has tried to deliver a fully compostable book – he failed and he’s keen to engage with people that can help him (humility and striving for perfection)
5. The learning is delivered in bite size chunks, nicely delivered in written and pictorial form, lots of links back to relevant sections to glue things together. A book you can read cover to cover, dip in and out of. The learning itself is brilliant, the fact that all proceed from the book are going into the Build Climate Fund to fund climate focused initiatives is fantastic (see https://tonyfadell.com/the-fund/ )
A fantastic opportunity to learn and contribute to a valuable cause.
OK, you could be anyway through the stages of building a start-up or an entrepreneur
Written by Tony Fadell, the guy who helped create the iPod and Nest, which he sold to Google for $3.2 billion
In the book, Tony shares his knowledge in terms of what it takes to create a start-up, from finance to culture. He also shares many of his marketing secrets, the importance of storytelling and what it takes to be a people leader. He also takes you through some of the rough aspects of being in a company which many people don’t talk about. Such as, why and when should you quit.
Tony also worked for Steve Jobs at Apple so you get some Steve Jobs history, insight and history of building the iPod and iPhone thrown in
The book was recommended to me by Gavin Dimmock
What a great book to read: full of insight about products, sure, but also career decisions, and life. Entertaining too.
The main takeaway for me is that Tony says design must aim to build a painkiller and not a vitamin for user pain points. In other words, what is the reason for this product or service to existing?
The sales prop for the original iPod release was a "1,000 songs in your pocket". It was a painkiller for users those days who had to drag all those MP3s around on a desktop or laptop in for sure!
Worth reading. Worth building.