I just finished reading Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love. This book was suggested to my by my CEO during a discussion we were having over dinner about a startup that I was running. Unfortunately we had just decided to shut it down. Ultimately our demise was the fact that the product line we had developed was not inline with the strategy as the company had recently redefined. Never the less, there were many things for me to learn that I will do better next time.
About 18 months ago I was asked to run this startup for a new product the company was developing. I had come out of the finance ranks as our Director of Finance and had recently moved into Business Development. I took on the challenge with a great deal of eagerness and naivete. To be honest I really did not know what I was in for or much about what the people I was managing did. We had a very small team made up of a product manager, product marketing, business development and engineering which were all people I had known before but not directly worked with in any capacity to truly understand their jobs.
I did not know what I did not know at the time and I wish that someone would have handed me this book back then. Most of the things in this book we don't do as a company (we are working towards them) but it would have greatly helped my understanding of roles and responsibilities in a general sense. Without that, there is a ton of time spent trying to figure out what you should care about and what you should be directly involved with. This book does a great job of breaking things down into very short, easy to read sections that make a tremendous amount of sense and you can read in a few hours.
I say this after experiencing first hand what it takes to create a product from the ground up and have been working on a second version that was amazing. (We realized in version 2 it was much more about usability as opposed to more features.) After all that my perspective may be skewed but hopefully you find Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love helpful. In the end I will take these learnings on to the next project but this will be one of those books that will come with me as a resource to avoid some of the pitfalls I just had to experience for myself this time around.