Thursday, January 20, 2005

New Year - new books

I spent a wonderful 30 days with family over the holidays - in Florida and Colorado - and returned to Caracas last week. The Colorado - Venezuela transition made for a striking nature juxtaposition: last Tuesday I was mountain hiking in Eldorado Canyon in the snow (starkly beautiful) and two days later I was mountain hiking in the Avila National Park in the jungle (lushly beautiful).


Also cool is...lots of new books. I can't get the reading I need down here, and shipping to Caracas is prohibitively expensive, so of course in the US I went wild with Amazon's free shipping (my luggage was heavy). Here's my take on the first two reads, both on entrepreneurship:

A Good Hard Kick in the Ass by Rob Adams goes over the tech company start-up drill from a VC's perspective. This isn't where my company's at; still, there were some useful points for me:

  • brilliant ideas are common - the only thing that counts is "execution capability" (significance for my project: my nifty language teaching software idea doesn't mean squat at this point).
  • you may think you know your customer, but you're probably clueless - know and validate your customers and your market, again and again (significance for my project: the fact that I've taught, managed, and consulted on business English with about 50 multinationals over the last 15 years doesn't mean squat, either).

See why the title is appropriate?

The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki - Only halfway through, but I can state with this book. Guy Kawasaki was on the original Macintosh team at Apple, and is famous for his brilliantly entertaining Silicon Valley conference presentations. Whether you want to start a business, a project, or a new learning technology initiative in your university ESL department, you're going to have to sell the idea to someone - and then get going on it....

Upcoming: Rod Ellis' Task-based Language Learning and Teaching (typically Ellis at 400 pages)


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