December 16, 2013
It’s that time of year when you make lists; of naughty and nice, top 100 songs, new year’s resolutions and tally up your accomplishments. Last year our CEO, Neil Lustig, sent out a booklist and encouraged us to read at least a few of his selections. I had already read a few of the books but there were a few new ones for me too. Admittedly, I have a lot more time than a lot of you reading this. Also, given my role in our Education department it’s directly under my work responsibility to know something about the academic side of pricing and be able to recommend a path for self-study and professional development. But, I still wanted to share, in this open format, my response to Neil a year later:
Thanks for the 2013 reading materials and the prompt to expand our knowledge base. I see a lot of interesting pricing news on our internal communication site, especially from our Business Consulting team. Also, contributors to our blog have continued to expand and show case various viewpoints and experience from across our organization.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure that many of us were able to make much headway on the reading list. Given the time constraints we have with travel intensive jobs and other competing demands, it is much often easier to read articles, blogs and other shorter pieces. For 2014, I recommend that we push our company to read one book: Innovation in Pricing; Contemporary theories and best practices Edited by Andreas Hinterbuber and Stephan Liozu.
This book is a compilation of 26 peer reviewed papers and serves both as a survey of the recent pricing literature as well as a practical guide for how to apply innovative thinking across a number of different business contexts. Since each chapter is a stand-alone paper, it’s more digestible even when schedules get crazy. The introduction summarizes each paper so you can prioritize reading the sections which are most relevant to the type of pricing you work with.
Here are the 3 papers within Innovation in Pricing I’d recommend we each start with:
Chapter 6) B2B Pricing System: Providing ROI, Mark Stiving
Chapter 7) Innovation in B2B Pricing, Rafael Farres
Chapter 13) Busting the four fatal myths in pricing, Nelson Hyde
Thanks again for the book list last year & Happy reading and learning in 2014,
Functional Trainer and Pricing Consultant
Neil’s email from Dec 2012:
“On another note, I thought as many of us are starting our holiday gift lists, or looking forward to a break during the last week of the year I would take this opportunity to remind everyone that we operate in a complex, rapidly changing space. Pricing has a deep effect on strategy, execution, and overall business operations. It is rich in content and intellectual property. We should all strive to continually improve our knowledge of pricing, as well as the specialized functional knowledge we all need to do our jobs at Vendavo. The holidays are a great time to brush up on our pricing or other functional knowledge, or catch up on other topics that could affect our business. I like to use this time to catch up on some of my topical reading, and thought I would share with you some of my suggestions for holiday reading (seriously). These are some of my favorites from past years. No need to read them all. Any three over the holidays will do :].
• Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule The World by Christopher Steiner
[Christine’s Comments: Fascinating. Even if you have no background in computer science this is a great read. I’d put it in the “beach reading” category with Michael Lewis and John Krakkauer]
• Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning by Thomas Davenport and Jeanne Harris
[CC: Very academic. Densely packed and informative with some great quotes and examples, but somewhat of a slog to finish.]
• How to Measure Anything by Douglas Hubbard
[CC: Practical and engaging, but somehow not all that memorable. Use as a reference guide.]
• The Price Advantage by Walter Baker, etc…
[CC: A classic. One of the 4-5 seminal books you read out of obligation to the profession.]
• Optimal Learning by Warren B. Powell and Ilya O. Ryzhov
• Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
[CC: Organizational behavior, high level people management philosophy. A CEO I worked for at a previous company gave me this book years ago too, but it wasn’t my cup of tea as an Analyst.]
• The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business by Patrick Lencioni
• Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Success One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi
• Art of War by Sun Tzu
Of course, reading books is just one dimension of keeping our skills fresh. Take advantage of online forums, blogs, web seminars, courses through things like the Professional Pricing Society, and of course taking advantage of the wealth of content Vendavo has both internally and on Vendavo University. Keeping your skills fresh and relevant is everyone’s responsibility.
As usual, I would like to encourage each and every one of you to join in the conversation – participate in chatter, read and post to confluence – be an active part of our community and share your insights and opinions with your fellow teammates.”