20 books in 2022 and hundreds of articles (via Pocket)! With me setting a goal last year of >15, I did pretty well. Especially in the first six months of the year, I had a good pace and averaged 2.5 books a month. In the second half, I slowed down and read some larger ones.
Why am I writing this blog post? For the last seven years, I wrote blog posts (2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 & 2016) listing the books I read in the past year and want to read during that year. Commit to reading and sharing publicly to get more book recommendations.
My favorite books of 2022
- Zero to IPO: The book follows a similar format to the High Growth Handbook from Elad Gil that I read a couple of years ago, which is still one of my most recommended books. Zero to IPO focuses a bit more on the title: growing to an IPO. While Okta, to me, isn’t the most exciting business in the world. It adds a lot of value in terms of understanding the different facets of a product, business, and industry to make it successful.
- The Founders: If you’re working in tech/startups and haven’t heard of the PayPal mafia, you’ve likely lived under a rock for the past decade. The Founders goes in-depth about the different people (Musk, Sacks, Thiel, Levchin) involved in the creation and success of PayPal. It is very detailed, sometimes a little much for my liking as it didn’t add that much extra for me, but an amazing read as it’s one of the biggest successes.
- Angel: 2022 was the first year for me to start angel investing. While learning the ins and outs, I picked up this book by Jason Calacanis to understand his mindset and process for finding the right opportunities. Together with a bunch of other resources, it gave me enough confidence to get going and hopefully pick some (future) winners.
What books I’m planning to read in 2023
- The Signal and the Noise: We were gifted this book in 2022, and while it’s already a classic, knowing it was published a decade ago, I can’t wait to get into this Nate Silver book as it put him (and his work) on the map. A lot of my interest well over a decade ago in marketing, analytics & data came from the predictions and data being used in the Obama ‘08 election and inspired me to go that route.
- The Customer Base Audit: Most tech companies have their eyes early on set on the acquisition of users over retention, which makes total sense. However, that also means that in a later stage, the need for CRM, retention, and genuinely understanding the customer increases if they get there. Having read a few Wharton-powered books before that added value, I’m hopeful this one will also.
- Pragmatic Capitalism: While writing this, I’m reading the Intelligent Investor. This book was a recommendation from @RickDronkers after talking about it as a good counter to the more oldskool approach in Benjamin Graham’s book.
- What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence: Over the last years, through executive coaching, I’ve learned about myself that I value mastery of skills very highly (sometimes too much). Reading more about how to get better at certain skills and the lessons learned is a good back. It won’t likely be mindblowing, but throughout the year, I always like to mix in a couple of personal development books.
- Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed and Fail: Ray Dalio’s book Principles was a long but good read. Understanding how he thinks about decision-making and setting a guiding framework for himself and Bridgewater. His work in this book has been mentioned many times, so picking it up to read seems like a good idea.
- Good Is The New Cool: The Principles Of Purpose: Purpose remains a hot topic in building businesses/marketing. Over the years, I have read many articles on this topic and listened to just as many podcasts. Picking up a book this year about it feels like a good way to keep up the knowledge.
Recommendations on what else to read?
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.
For the last four years, I wrote blog posts (2019, 2018, 2017 & 2016) listing the books that I read in the past year and that I wanted to be reading during that 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 on some others. But I did read a lot, as I finished ~25 books (and put two books aside that weren’t worth finishing).
What books I didn’t get to in 2019 and have re-added to the list for 2020:
My favorites from 2019:
- High Growth Handbook: My favorite book from last year as it touched right on the topics that I care about on a daily basis, great interviews with daily practitioners on many topics that relate to High Growth companies including a lot of tactical advice.
- The Ride of a Lifetime: A fascinating read on how Robert Iger made it’s way to the top of Disney as their CEO. One of my favorites as it shows the personal side of growth he had to go through to reach the top and it provides some insights along the way of how big Disney is of a company.
- High-Performance Habits: Nothing wrong with learning more about performance habits that could help you improve.
- Loonshots: A different book from what I would usually read as it went into detail on projects that have changed the world and created innovations that we still benefit from these days (think radar, energy).
- Secrets of Sand Hill Road: A great book if you want to know more about investing, money and the workings around startups related to investors, deal flows and structures.
What books I’d like to be reading in 2020:
Leave your recommendations on Twitter: @MartijnSch as I’d love to know from others what I should be reading from your recommendations and should be on the list or removed from the list.
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 [email protected]
For the last two years I wrote blog posts (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. Also moving to another country (hi San Francisco!) made it tough to keep up with the goals I set for myself. So that’s why I didn’t make it to the goal to read 20+ books last year and had to leave it at 14.
So what will I (at least) be reading in 2018:
So what does this tell you? The guy wants to know more about branding in 2018 and is in desperate need for some cool new personal development books. Over the last year I read a lot of popular books (Elon Musk, High Output Management, etc.) that have provided me with a lot of inspiration on great managers + techniques. In 2018 I’d like to dive a bit more into brand building, although I have an SEO job most of what we think about everyday is building out the Postmates brand and luckily we get a ton of freedom to do that + in the end I remain a marketer.
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.
Duplicate content is (according to questions from new SEOs and people in online marketing) still one of the biggest issues in Search Engine Optimization. I’ve got news for you, it for sure isn’t as there are plenty of other issues. But somehow it still always comes up to the surface when talking about SEO. As I’ve been on both sides of the equation, having worked for comparison sites and a publisher I want to reflect on both angles. Why I think it’s really important that you see both sides of the picture when looking into why sites could have duplicate content and if they do it on purpose or not.
When I started in SEO about 1211 years ago I worked for a company who would list courses from all around the globe on their website (Springest.com, let’s give them some credit), making it possible for people to compare them. By doing this we were able to create a really useful overview of training courses on the subject of SEO for example. One downside of this was that basically none of the content we had on our site was unique. Training courses are often a very strict program and in certain cases are regulated by the government of institutions to provide the right qualification to attendees. Making it impossible to change any of the descriptions on contents, books or requirements as they were provided by the institutions (read: copy pasted)
Having worked at the complete other side with The Next Web where I had the privilege of working with 10-15 full-time editors all around the globe who write unique, fresh and (news) content on a daily basis. Backed up by dozens of people willing to write for TNW where are presented with the opportunity to chose what kind of posts we publish. It made some things easier, but even at TNW we ran into content issues. The tone of voice over time devalues/changes as editors come and go. But also when you publish more content from guest authors it’s hard to maintain the right balance.
These days I’m ‘back’ with duplicated content, working at Postmates where we work on on-demand delivery. Now it makes it easier to deal with the duplicate content that we technically have from all of the restaurants (it’s published on their own site and on some competitors). But with previous experience it’s way easier to come up with so many more ideas based on the (duplicate) content that you already have. It also made me realize that most of the time you’re always working with something that is duplicate, either it be the product info you have in ecommerce, the industry that you operate in. It’s all about the way you slice and dice it to make it more unique.
In the end, search engine optimization is all about content. Either duplicated or not. We all want to make the best of it and there is always a way to provide a unique angle. Although the angle of the businesses and the way of doing SEO for them is completely different there are certain skills required that I think could provide you with a benefit over a lot of people when you’ve worked with both.
Last week was my last one at The Next Web as their Director of Marketing. For the last four years I’ve worked alongside great people: publishing the best content (TNW), organising the best + biggest tech conferences (TNW Conferences), selling the craziest drones (TNW Deals), creating the most beautiful workspace (TQ) and them who collect a ton of data on the global tech industry (Index.co). But still… it’s time for me to move on to something new:
Project: ‘New adventures’
As of Monday I’ll be joining Postmates to help out/lead their SEO strategy, which means I’m already in San Francisco to join the team from there.
For the last 7 years I’ve been maintaining a list of goals that I update every day/week/month with the things I’d like to achieve on a personal and business level in the (near) future. Since my first trip to the US many years ago one of the goals that I created was to move to the Bay Area for x months > x years, mainly to see if my skills would hold up in the more competitive and global area that I consider the Bay Area to be. Having had the ability to spend 6 weeks in/around San Francisco at the end of last year it made it even easier to decide that I wanted to move towards that area the sooner the better.
Having had some very positive changes in my life over the course of the last year it made the choice even easier ? #analyticspowercouple.
In talking to Postmates I found that my passion for SEO, Growth, Analytics, Innovation could even be more stimulated so joining them is a great opportunity to develop myself even more.
Some highlights and numbers from my time at TNW: 8 TNW conferences, 35+ conferences, 60+ flights, xx blog posts, 415 million users, 342 A/B tests, 1465 commits, 231 Gitlab tickets, 111827 messages on Slack.
What I’m not going to miss from my time at TNW:
- The most ridiculous PR pitches from companies that aren’t relevant to TNW 😉
- Product & startup pitches in my inbox that aren’t relevant or not ready for the scale of TNW 😉
- Endless analysis on what content is supposed to attract more engagement + traffic 😉 – Still haven’t found the answer if your curious.
What I’ll be missing though:
- The great opportunity that I got from Boris & Patrick in having me built out the marketing team.
- Very passionate people trying to improve TNW every day just a little bit more.
- A great team, that I’ll truly miss working with.
Overall, I’m ready for the new challenge at Postmates and very enthusiastic about working with a new (growing) team and trying to reach world domination. If you’re around in the future, please let me know. I’ll definitely be sticking to my current strategy: trying to meet with great people across the industry to learn from. So, drinks on me!
If you want to reach out to me, you can find me at: [email protected]