2021 was a failure… but I was right. Early 2021 I already predicted that I wouldn’t read as much, which indeed proved to be true. My newborn daughter (hi 👶🏻!) caused a good amount of sleep deprivation in the earliest months of the year. Only in the Summer period I slowly got back into reading but meanwhile also spent most of December catching up on my Pocket (app) reading list that had gotten out of hand. But 2022 could be more bright. I think I could end up at > 15 books again this year with some luck.
Why am I writing this blog post? For the last six years, I wrote blog posts (2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 & 2016) listing the books that I read in the past year and wanted to read during that year. Mainly to commit myself to read as much as possible.
What books I didn’t get to in 2021 and have re-added to the list for 2022:
My favorites from 2020:
- Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neumann and WeWork: If you’ve watched the WeWork documentary on Hulu, you’ve likely already enjoyed the story. However, I thought the business angle was missing in the documentary. The book does a much better job providing that context and walks you through the entire history.
- Amazon Unbound: It was a great look behind the scenes of one of the biggest companies in the world. Getting a better insight into their other business units, process, and organizational structure over the years was an interesting read.
- Quantum Marketing: Although I’m afraid I disagree with the term ‘quantum marketing’, I think the book touches on a few good things and shows how important it is to stay ahead of the curve on trends.
- Think Again: The concept of being able to ‘rethink’ is so important, but so many people struggle with it. From Adam Grant, who is great regardless, this book gave plenty of great examples to show how important rethinking your opinions is.
What books I’d like to be reading in 2022:
For the last five years, I wrote blog posts (2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 & 2016) listing the books that I read in the past year and that I wanted to be reading during that year. It was a good year for reading. I added many books to my list during the year, read some unexpected ones (4 about pregnancies and babies, who would have thought!?).
This year (2021) will be slightly different as I expect to read a bit less than 2020 (where I hit over 30 books). As we welcomed our daughter into the world in December, I likely can spend less time reading (I also rather spend time with her). So let’s jump into things…
What books I didn’t get to in 2020 and have re-added to the list for 2021:
My favorites from 2020:
- HBR Strategic Thinking: Being an executive requires me to put more and more time aside to think about where a business/industry and organization is heading. Besides that, I always really like the format of HBR books with concise articles that quickly get to the core.
- No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention: I’ve always been a bit skeptical about the ideas around the culture at Netflix from reading some previous posts. But this book very much surprised me, and I found myself agreeing with tons of the content. I would highly recommend this one to leaders/founders that want to improve their culture.
- The McKinsey Way: Something I wanted to learn more about this year was consulting companies (not for a particular reason, I’m also not becoming one anytime soon). Reading two books about how McKinsey approaches their practices and sees the world was a fascinating insight.
What books I’d like to be reading in 2021
Next year will be a mix of books on Marketing, investing, and personal development. Let’s see how many books I’ll get to realistically.
Leave your recommendations via @MartijnSch as I’d love to know from others what I should be reading.
If there was one thing that I could teach people in SEO, it was always the technical side of SEO that came up first. Mostly, because I think it’s a skill that doesn’t suit too many SEOs and there is already enough (good or bad, you’ll be the judge of that) content about the international, link building or content side of SEO out there. As technical SEO is getting more and more technical and in-depth about the subject itself, I’m excited to announce that I’m launching a new technical course with the folks of CXL institute.
The course will cover everything from structured data to XML sitemaps and back to some more basic on-page optimization. Along the way, I show you my process for auditing a site and coming up with the improvements. I’ll try to teach you about as many different issues and solutions as I could think of.
It’s not going to be ‘the most complete’ course ever on this topic, technical SEO evolves quickly, and likely some things will already be outdated now it’s published, while we have worked on it for months. But I’m going to do my best to inform you here and on CXL Institute about any changes or any improvements that we might be able to make in a future version. If you have any questions about the course or want to cheer me on, reach out via Twitter on @MartijnSch.
Update March 2019: I’ve gone through a lot of the books rather quickly this year, that’s why I’ve added a couple of other books that I’d like to read to the bottom of the list.
For the last years, I wrote blog posts (2018, 2017 & 2016) listing the books that I read in the past year and that I wanted to be reading in that specific year. As always, the past year I didn’t read all the books that I’ve listed out in the blog post as I discovered some new ones and changed my focus during the year. But I did read a lot, wherein 2017 I read maybe 10-12 books in the last year (2018) it really took off and I read around 18-20 books.
What books I didn’t get to in 2018 and have re-added to the list:
What books I’d like to be reading in 2019:
- Measure What Matters: I already started in this book by John Doerr. So far it’s a great read about everything OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). Starting at the history with Andy Grove and going into a lot of detail about how and why companies are using the goal-setting system these days and have been over the last decades. At multiple companies, I’ve worked with this system and it’s by far my favorite so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to get there.
- Thinking in Bets: It got recommended to me by my good friend @RickDronkers who said it was a great read on game theory. Having heard more rumors about how cool this book is, I’d say it’s worth a shot :).
- Blitzscaling: The latest book Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh that summarizes most of the information that they’ve worked on during their research into how companies do Blitzscaling.
- Chief Marketing Officers at Work: On the road to becoming CMO I always want to hear more from people already in that position what they value most and what they seem to work on and direct their attention to.
- Conspiracy: The story about how Peter Thiel set up ways to get back at some of his ‘enemies’ is very intriguing to me and likely the main reason why this book is on my shortlist.
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things: This book was on the shortlist for the biggest part of 2018 but I never got to reading it. Hopefully this year I finally read this Silicon Valley classic by Ben Horowitz.
- The Strategist: On the business versus in the business, and being tactical versus very strategical.
- Own the Room: Last year I read the book: Executive Presence which was very informative on what kind of personal skills one must have to become a better leader/manager. That’s why I don’t think it can hurt at any time to read more books on this topic. Own The Room has been on my wishlist for quite a bit for that reason.
- Good to Great: It was on a list of books read by product managers at Google and came highly recommended from some other people.
- Becoming: After having read multiple books about political figures (of both sides), I’d like to read Michelle Obama’s biography.
As always, leave your recommendations in my Twitter feed (@MartijnSch) as I’d love to know from others what I should be reading and what you recommend should be on the list or removed from the list.
I’m joining RVshare, a two-sided marketplace for RVs and motorhomes, as their VP Marketing! Over the last few weeks, I’ve talked extensively with the founders and part of the team. It became clear that this was a great opportunity for a few reasons.
- They have great product-market fit and proved this concept clearly works.
- They’re wanting to build out a world class (marketing) team.
- They’re a marketplace business as well, connecting the supply of RV owners to the demand of renters who want to explore the world.
- They had backing from a great investment partner making it possible to grow fast.
All of this got me really excited, after Postmates I decided that I wanted to work not just on one channel (SEO), but on multiple to create a strong diverse set of acquisition channels and build out a world class marketing organization somewhere. That’s what I’m mainly going to focus on for the next year (which means I’m going to be hiring soon for various roles, reach out to me if you’re interested in joining RVshare). In addition, I’ve always wanted to work for a company that is operating in the travel industry, as I consider it one of the most competitive industries and a joyful one, who doesn’t love bringing more travel to people. And what better ways are there to test your own skills than in an industry like that.
What is the challenge?
- Build out a world-class marketing organization.
- Create a diversified acquisition strategy to drive more new RVs/Motorhomes on the platform and acquire more renters who want to explore the world with an RV.
- Trust data! Build and improve everything that the team has built out in the last years and help it grow to the next level.
- Create an even stronger brand and build out renting RVs as an option for people traveling.
I’ll do my best to try to document parts of the journey here on this blog and on Twitter (@MartijnSch), if you want to get a hold of me, reach out to me via firstname.lastname@example.org