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Daragh O Brien (Ireland)

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The Age of the Platform: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Have Redefined Business
The Age of the Platform: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Have Redefined Business
by Mitch Joel
Edition: Paperback
Price: 19.21

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simon Says "Think Platform", 11 Dec 2011
(Disclosure: I'm one of the many people who contributed to the kickstarter.com fundraising for this book, but I have purchased both a paperback and kindle edition for business use).

Often the most compelling reads are not the ones that break new ground or trigger new trends but those which re-package and re-present what we all knew (or at least suspected) in a new way that lets us reframe our thinking and start posing some key questions about our Information Age society is developing, how the old barriers to entry in markets are becoming more porous and pliable, and how the "little guy" small biz can hope to compete against the larger marketplace of competitors that the internet brings to the desktop of our target customers.

Phil Simon does an admirable job of analysing the competitive strengths, strategies, and positioning of four of the "benchmark" companies of the modern age. This analysis boils down to the need to create platforms that provide your customers multiple ways to interact with you, and essentially provide them with an attractive and pleasing "walled garden" where it becomes more difficult for them to seek your service or product from a competitor because you've made it so darned easy, so darned accessible, and so darned ubiquitous.

As another reviewer has said, much of what is here is not new. And as another has said that this book is more important for the questions it prompts than the answers it provides. I agree with both of these statements. What Phil has done is to present how the case study "platform companies" have redefined not so much business but how entrepreneurs need to think about their business model.

It is easy for the SME business leader (or even a big business CEO) to get dazzled by the calls for them to get in the Cloud, embrace social media, and to push their products or services with a smartphone app (or even to build an app store of their own). What this book presents is the clear need to consider how all these things may be combined in a structured strategy where the planks of your platform are both the products/services you offer and the means by which you get them to your customers.

Yes, big questions are left hanging, such as the impact of Amazon and its full platform (kindle, traditional site, createspace etc) on the publishing industry. But this is as it should be imho as the answers are ones that we *as a society* need to answer, not a single author in a single book. I have my personal opinions of the traditional publishing industry based on personal experience as an author, but this is not the forum to air those frustrations.


Data Driven: Profiting from Your Most Important Business Asset
Data Driven: Profiting from Your Most Important Business Asset
by Thomas C Redman
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book I wanted to write but he beat me to it, 29 Oct 2008
Tom Redman is a bad man. He has written a very very good book. Not only that, but it is the book that I'd been looking for and had thought about writing myself. That's why I think he's a bad man. ;-)

Because Tom's book is so darned good, I'll have to keep slaving away in the data quality mines for a few more years as my plan of writing the one of the keystone books for the next phase of the data/information quality revolution and dining out for years on the accolades has been foiled by a true master in the field.

Getting serious, this book represents a significant milestone in the evolution of the data quality profession. Being published by the Harvard Business Press is evidence enough of that, but the content and insights shared by Tom through the book, to my mind, provide the structural supports for the bridge that needs to be built between Business people and IT people when it comes to information quality. It also provides foundations for the bridge that needs to be built between the 'foot soldiers' (who see the problems and slog away on information quality projects which often seem more like trench warfare) and the executive boardroom which often can't seem to 'get' why this stuff is critically important.

I've read the book twice since I got it. It is a must read for anyone working with information or data with a concern for its quality. It's also a perfect Christmas gift for your boss or even your CEO. The clear and compelling communication of the business value of data/information to businesses and the edge that can be derived from doing your quality better raises the bar for the information/data quality profession.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 29, 2008 10:45 PM GMT


Executing Data Quality Projects: Ten Steps to Quality Data and Trusted Information
Executing Data Quality Projects: Ten Steps to Quality Data and Trusted Information
by Danette McGilvray
Edition: Paperback
Price: 32.19

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect book for Information Quality Do-ers., 7 Oct 2008
Danette McGilvray is one of the leading thinkers and doers in the field of Information Quality. This book represents a perfect addition to the arsenal of anyone working on information quality improvement projects (which it should be noted often go by other names).

Why is this a perfect addition? Because, unlike other books on the subject Danette presents her approach in a manner that can be readily integrated with existing project management approaches and which is 100% focussed on practical applications of proven techniques.

The book is so good, I bought a copy to give to my boss.


The Order of the Phoenix Park
The Order of the Phoenix Park

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A chucklesome read, 27 Feb 2008
I was already familiar with the pseudnonynous and eponymous Twenty from his blog ([...]) and had eagerly awaited his tome.

Read it in one sitting - which is a vote of confidence as I read quickly and get bored easily if a book doesn't stimulate my interest. The humour is, at times, crude and if you are easily offended or particularly endeared to politically correct constructs then this book will irritate you no end and you'll doubtless write scathing reviews excoriating the text and laying into poor defenceful Twenty.

If you like a gumbo of blunt humour, subtle jokes, surreal comedy, satire and finely crafted prose then this is definitely worth the look. Yes there will be suspicous gristly bits you don't quite recognise in the mix (there are occasionally references that might be lost on non-Irish/non-Dublin readers - but the same is true of Joyce and Flann O'Brien) but you'll enjoy the fullness of the stew.

And after the stew... pints. Of guinness. naturally.

four stars because I never give five and because if I gave four he'd just sit on his laurels and make a mess of the sequel. ;-)


Spreadsheet Check and Control: 47 Key Practices to Detect and Prevent Errors
Spreadsheet Check and Control: 47 Key Practices to Detect and Prevent Errors
by Patrick O'Beirne
Edition: Paperback
Price: 19.89

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book on a key subset of Information Quality, 1 Feb 2006
Spreadsheets have been found to be the number 1 Business Intelligence and reporting tool used in businesses today. Countless man-days of work are wasted through scrap and rework of spreadsheet models every day. This book is an excellent introduction to the techniques needed to manage the quality of Information in spreadsheets.
This book is now part of my coffee-stained reference library...


Data Modeling Essentials (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Data Management Systems)
Data Modeling Essentials (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Data Management Systems)
by Graeme C. Simsion
Edition: Paperback
Price: 44.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's DAHHH-TA Modelling not DAY-TA!, 12 July 2005
I am a proud owner the second edition, have leafed through the third edition (before being asked politely if I could be helped the the shop-assistant) and have had the pleasure of seeing both authors present on this topic (and others) at a variety of conferences.
If you want a book on data (that's dahhh-ta) modelling that hasn't crawled completely up its own (or a modelling tool vendor's) rear-end, this is a good purchase. Complex issues are presented clearly and REAL-WORLD issues are actually considered, as opposed to being dismissed simply as not being the way to do things.
I've applied the approaches to model design that are in the 2nd edition 'in the wild' and have found them to be extremely successful. As soon as I can prise the funding from my boss's miserly hand I will be getting my copy of the 3rd edition


Workflow Modeling: Tools for Process Improvement and Application Development (Computing Library)
Workflow Modeling: Tools for Process Improvement and Application Development (Computing Library)
by Alec Sharp
Edition: Hardcover

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book - well worth the price, 5 Nov 2003
"Process improvement. Yayyyyyyyy!!!!! Snore." That's what I thought when I was told we'd be doing a process re-engineering project in work. Then I saw Alec Sharpe present at a conference in London where he shamelessly plugged his book (and why not, as Barry Norman might say).
I bought the book read it in 3 days and was impressed that Alec Sharpe and Patrick McDermott had managed to mix possibly one of the dullest topics in the world with a large amount of humour, bordering at times on the laugh-out-loud mirthful in places.
The book gives a great sense of context and historical relevance of processes and then moves on into a very well written and informative treatise on the use of Work-flow modelling and the common pitfalls (and not so common pitfalls) that people could, should and must avoid in order to keep it simple and make it successful.
Others in my office who borrowed (a polite word for STOLE) my copy also found it very instructive and provided valuable pointers.
This book will definitely not be propping up the leg of my coffee table in the future.


Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere: An Illustrated Introduction (Tuttle Martial Arts)
Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere: An Illustrated Introduction (Tuttle Martial Arts)
by Adele Westbrook
Edition: Paperback
Price: 24.00

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Top notch book on a thinking persons fighting art, 5 Nov 2003
I have the hard-back edition of this book and it helped me get to grips with Aikido when I went back training in the art after a few years away from training. I had started training when in college but couldn't get my head around the mind-set of Aikido (i had trained previously in Karate) and as a result found it hard to 'stick with it'. When I found this book, everything clicked into place and I understood (better if not completely)the basic physical and mechanical principles of the techniques and also a whole lot more about the underlying philosphy of the art and of O'Sensei.
This helped me pick my next teacher well and his teaching style has me running to this book every so often to highlight key points and scribble in the margins. My only gripe is that some of the line drawings (very beautifully done) and diagrams are a little hard to follow, but having the technique applied to me/applying the technique to my training partner for real soon helped me to figure out which way was up.
DO NOT rely on this book to teach you Aikido. To learn Aikido (and any MA for that reason) you need a competent, qualified teacher who understands and has a passion for what they are teaching and aren't just going through the motions in a McDojo to pay the mortgage. DO rely on this book to supplement your experiences and learning in an Aikido. Works for me guv.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 19, 2008 7:54 PM GMT


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