‘The Everything Store’ Book Notes

Acclaimed Silicon Valley Journalist Brad Stone has been covering Amazon since its early days. "The Everything Store," is a result of Stone drawing upon his writing experience and interviewing numerous Amazon executives, with the blessings of Jeff Bezos. The book provides a comprehensive account of Amazon's growth from its 1996 inception until 2013, the year of publishing. Reading the book was fruitful because it gave me a window into Amazon's way of thinking & helped me understand Amazon's complex business by breaking it down into distinct components. I've structured my book notes such that they should do the same for...

Shopify’s Founding Story, Evolution & Business Model

If we look at it from a narrows lens, Shopify is in the business of making it easier for people without coding skills to launch an online business. But if we zoom out, we could classify Shopify as an upstart in the broader retail market.  Yes, it is primarily in the business of internet retailing. But retail is not limited to the internet. Selling online is a sister distribution channel to the traditional offline channel. The whole point of commerce is to be present where the customer is, be it online or offline, or both, in an integrated fashion.  Shopify now...

‘On Writing Well’ Book Notes

Before I briefly explain the note-taking process, I want to take a few sentences to introduce William Zinsser, the author of 'On Writing Well.'  A lifelong nonfiction writer, William began his career as a journalist for the New York Herald Tribune in 1946. In the 1970s, he taught a writing class at Yale University. He also wrote 18 books in a writing career spanning more than half a century. First published in 1976, 'On Writing Well' is widely regarded as his best work. To date, it has served as the canonical writing book for three generations of writers, journalists, & editors.  In...

Shape Up Book Notes

Book summaries and book notes are often conflated. So, to be explicit, what follow are notes from 'Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles & Ship Work that Matters.' I read the book & highlighted the key ideas to create a distilled yet detailed version of the subject matter. Whether you're looking to gauge if the full book is worth your time or want to revisit ideas you've already read, my notes should come in handy. Book Notes of ‘Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles & Ship Work that Matters’ by ‘Ryan Singer’. Chapter 1: Introduction This book isn’t about the risk of building...

Honey’s Founding Story + Business Model + Paypal Acquisition

In 2012, the same year, when Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion, Honey, which was acquired for $4 billion by Paypal in 2019, launched as a Chrome browser extension. Generally, browser extensions function as a growth channel for an existing product made by the developers of the products themselves or as 2nd order inventions made on top of existing products, made by enthusiastic users. Amazon's official Kindle extension is an example of the former, and Send to Kindle, an unofficial extension made by a third party organization, is an example of the latter.  Browser extensions are rarely considered an individual business or the primary means to...

FireFox’s Rise, Fall, & Resurgence + How Firefox Makes Money

Over the last three decades, we have been through two browser wars, and we are likely on the cusp of the third one.  The first browser war ended with Microsoft's Internet Explorer defeating Netscape Navigator, becoming the market leader in 1998. The second browser war ended with Google Chrome dethroning Internet Explorer, becoming the market leader in 2012.  A key player of the second browser war, Firefox's browser market share peaked at 32.21% at the end of 2009.   As of August 2020, Firefox has a market share of 4.09%, coming in third after Chrome and Safari. With a market share of 65.99% & 16.82%, Google Chrome and...

Product Hunt’s Growth Story + Business Model

"Product Hunt surfaces the best new products, every day. It's a place for product-loving enthusiasts to share and geek out about the latest mobile apps, websites, hardware projects, and tech creations" If you work in technology and don't keep a daily tab of Product Hunt, one could argue that you're missing out on relevant insider information.  In some ways, Product Hunt is like Techcrunch, except it surfaces new tech products instead of new tech stories.  Tech enthusiasts use it to stay in the know. Emerging startups list themselves to get in front of the people that matter. Investors use it to scour investment...

Deep Work Book Notes

Book summaries and book notes are often conflated, so to be explicit, what follow are notes from the book Deep Work. We read the book -- highlighted material that stood out, trimmed it down to the essential & made minor edits to align the text with the note-taking format. People who have read the book a long time ago, forgotten the book matter to a certain degree, and would like to refresh their memory of its content would benefit the most from the notes considering the way we've designed them. If you haven't read the book, we'd recommend buying and reading...

How Google Became the Giant it is & How it Makes Money

If Google were a country, its 2019 revenue of $162 billion would make it the 60th largest economy in terms of GDP, surpassing 135 smaller countries, according to IMF data. Considering that Google had 118,899 full-time employees as of Dec 2019, its $162 billion revenue translates to a GDP per capita of $1.36 million. (You get GDP per capita by dividing a country's economic output by its population). In Q4 2019, the United States of America had a GDP per capita of $65.420. Comparing the GDP per capita of a country to the GDP per capita of a company is by no means an apple...

Not Business Books, Books Entrepreneurs should read

When you search for the keyword "best business books," this is what the Google search result looks like All the top-ranking results give you lists, ranging from 7 to a whopping 101 business books. The problem with these lists is that they miss the point. You can't learn all there is to running a successful business by just reading business books ( & nobody is actually going to read 101 business books. It just doesn't make sense ) In our digital economy, aspiring/existing entrepreneurs need to learn how to think, how to learn, how to write, how to build good habits, how to...