8 essential books for mobile growth leaders

Written by Raquel Ríos Dafonte - Marketing Specialist at Techsoulogy
Created Apr 21, 2023 - Updated Aug 02, 2023 | 9 min read
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World Book Day on 23rd April is always a good opportunity to promote the habit of reading with appealing suggestions. In this case, recommendations of books that all digital and mobile growth leaders should cross off their list of books to read.

In this post, we have selected 8 essential books that cover all of the stages of a digital product. From the development to the launch onto the market and capturing of customers with everything involved in terms of advertising and marketing strategies to have an impact on the target audience, measure the results achieved and perform constant optimization.

If, in your case, you work specifically on developing mobile applications or video games, don’t miss out on this other selection of essential books.

Essential product design books for mobile growth

1. “User Story Mapping: Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product”

In this book, Jeff Patton and Peter Economy explain how to design products and services that satisfy the needs of users as well as business objectives. They do this based on a design technique they call “user story mapping”.

It is about creating a type of visual map that shows the complete flow of the user experience from beginning to end. For the authors, this map helps to easily identify the user’s needs and, as a result, define the requirements that the product or service must meet in order to satisfy them. Moreover, they explain how to work on the agile design of products using a holistic approach, providing key points on which characteristics of the product to prioritize or how to create a development roadmap which allows you to build a useful and viable result in the appropriate time.

“User Story Mapping: Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product” is a practical guide, aimed fundamentally at professionals and teams specializing in design and product development, written by Patton. In the 1990s, he worked as a product leader for a small company which is now Salesforce Commerce Cloud; and Economy, author of more than fifty books on managing teams and companies.

If you work in the development and design of digital products, this book is a must.

2. “Getting Real: The smarter, faster, easier way to build a successful web application”

If you are looking for a guide with practical tips about the best way to develop a successful mobile application, you need to read this book. A piece of work in which Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson, and Matthew Linderman claim that simplicity is the key to the success of an app. The authors present a minimalist approach, which is clear from the book’s front cover in black with simple white letters, as a key to saving time and costs in developing apps.

Specifically, their proposal bases the creation of applications on the development of a minimum viable product which meets the most basic needs of the target audience and is launched immediately onto the market. Once this has been done, Fried, Hansson, and Lindermanse are advocates of starting a phase aimed at gradually improving, optimizing, and iterating the product.

Beyond this basic approach, “Getting Real: The smarter, faster, easier way to build a successful web application” explains in detail the different phases of creating an app from the design, through to the programming, promotion, and user support. Moreover, the authors also provide a series of tips about how to encourage a positive corporate culture and not lose sight of the business’s priorities.

3. “Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon”

The book by Colin Bryar and Bill Carr opens the doors so we can delve into one of the most successful digital businesses on the global stage: Amazon. Through the perspective of these two former Amazon executives, the reader is able to learn about the culture and internal processes of Jeff Bezos’ company.

The main idea that the book focuses on is explaining the working backwards methodology, a process that Amazon applies when it comes to launching and developing new products. Rather than thinking of an initial idea which is developed to try and make it work when it launches onto the market, the online sales giant works backwards: it starts with the result it wants to achieve and works backwards to create the product or service capable of achieving that result.

Throughout the 300 pages of the book, Bryar and Carr explain how this working backwards methodology operates and how Amazon applies it to make important decisions about its products and services by sharing specific examples about two of its most successful products: Amazon Prime and Kindle.

“Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon” also talks about Amazon’s unique culture, its obsession with the customer, the “open door leadership” mentality it fosters and the obsession with constant innovation.

Advertising and digital marketing books

4. “Loved: How to Rethink Marketing for Tech Products”

If, in your case, you have created the best app or digital product possible and have resolved the first issues that have emerged, the next step is to promote this app or digital product. Advertise it so it reaches the target audience, they use it and you can make money from it. This is where the book “Loved: How to Rethink Marketing for Tech Products” by Martina Lauchengco comes into play, a practical guide about how to create strong brands and products that customers love.

The book argues that companies should not focus their marketing strategy so much on promoting certain characteristics and benefits of their digital product, but on building an emotional connection with their target audience. According to Lauchengco, the secret to a successful brand is to create a product that solves a specific problem for customers and, immediately afterwards, communicate the value of that product from an emotional viewpoint which connects with the audience.

To do so, the author advises identifying the main brand values and creating a coherent narrative to communicate to customers. The ex-Product Manager for Word and Office at Microsoft also explains how you can use product design and user experience to create products that are more attractive to the user and covers topics such as market research, customer segmentation and the creation of effective marketing messages, providing practical examples of how famous brands like Apple and Nike have managed to connect emotionally with their customers.

“Loved: How to Rethink Marketing for Tech Products” is the first book from this author with more than 30 years of experience in the technology sector which was number one in Amazon’s new book releases.


Essential books that all mobile developers should read

Reads about measurement and digital analytics

5. “How to Measure Anything. Finding the Value of “Intangibles” in Business”

Once you launch your digital product onto the market, it’s time for the definitive phase: checking whether it works. How?  By analyzing the functionality that your target audience is most attracted to, which ones don’t work as you had expected, and how you can change or improve these to overcome the obstacles that arise.

To be able to do all of this, you have to measure results and this is something you can learn in books like “How to Measure Anything. Finding the Value of “Intangibles” in Business”. On these pages, Douglas W. Hubbard talks about how to measure and assess all of these intangible aspects that are difficult to calibrate but which are so important for any type of business. This includes risk, quality, and customer satisfaction.

To do this, he explains a series of techniques that help to quantify the uncertainty and risks, as well as useful tools for collecting and analyzing data. This expert business management consultant also spells out practical examples of how the measuring techniques he explains have been applied in companies belonging to sectors like finance, technology, and security, among others.

As a leader, entrepreneur, or manager of a digital product, this book will teach you to make informed decisions based on data and not on suppositions or estimates that are not supported in practice. An aspect which, without a doubt, will lead to the success of your digital product. By making good decisions, your product will be able to go further.

6. “Measure What Matters: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth”

Continuing with the analysis and measurement stage, one of the most important stages to guarantee the viability over time of your digital product, here we have another book recommendation that you will find extremely useful.

In “Measure What Matters: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth”, John Doerr develops the idea of OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) and how these measurable and achievable objectives can help in making difficult decisions and boosting the growth of a business exponentially. Specifically, the objectives are those that the company wants to achieve and the key results are the way in which these main goals will be reached.

Thanks to this methodology, the venture capitalist and one of the 100 richest people in the United States according to Forbes magazine, claims that it is possible to focus the efforts of an entire company, from the lowest levels to the rank of CEO; to encourage coordination and improve satisfaction at work by transparently clarifying the objectives of the whole organization as a whole. And he explains it by using practical examples from large multinationals such as Intel, Google and Amazon.

In fact, at the end of the 90’s, John Doerr himself invested almost 12 million dollars in a startup that promised a great deal, but had no real business plan. After implementing his methodology based on OKRs, it achieved explosive growth in employees (from 40 to more than 70,000) and business (with a market capitalization exceeding 600,0000 million dollars). Evidently, this startup was Google.

If you want to learn through practical tips about how to implement the OKRs in your company and track the results to achieve effective exponential growth which is sustainable over time, this is the book for you. A manual which, by the way, has a prologue by Larry Page and collaborations from Bill Gates.

Books about strategy and mobile growth

7. “Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days”

It’s simple working when everything is going well, and it’s hard to keep calm when things get complicated, right? If you can identify with this statement, you should read “Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days”.

The work by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz suggests how to solve problems and test specific solutions which enable you to move from the idea of the prototype and final decision using sprints of just five days with the resulting saving of time and money that this involves for companies.

The book teaches you to plan and execute the sprints and provides all of the details about how to map the problem, come up with solutions, and test prototypes. It also provides practical tips about how to work as a team and keep focused on the goal, as well as handle the tension and stress that may arise at any moment during the sprint.

Designer, Jake Knapp created this process of five-day sprints at Google and implemented it in all of the projects, from Google Search to Google X. At Google Ventures, Knapp joined forces with Braden Kowitz and John Zeratsk and together they completed more than 100 sprints to help emerging companies in mobile telephones, electronic commerce, healthcare and finance, among other sectors, to develop new successful products and services.

“Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days” is a must-read for all types of entrepreneurs, from the smallest to the largest corporations.

8. “Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth”

We end this collection of essential reads for mobile growth leaders with the book by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares entitled “Traction:  How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth”.

It is a guide aimed at founders of startups which teaches them how to achieve fast and sustained growth of the customer base, based on the concept of traction. 

Weinberg and Mares argue that knowing how to reach the customer is even more important to grow a startup than the product or service it sells. Distribution is everything for these authors and the traction of a business is based on choosing the customer acquisition channels that work best for each one.

The book describes the 19 most widely used traction or customer acquisition channels by startups throughout the world, which include advertising on search engines and social networks, email marketing, SEO, content marketing, and optimization of the conversion rate, among others. Furthermore, it provides practical tips about how to implement them and real examples of companies that have had success using them.

Rather than automatically repeating the acquisition techniques of users of other companies, Weinburg and Mares encourage the creation of a unique strategy for each startup, identifying the most suitable traction channels in each case to acquire new customers in a predictable and scalable way.

Bearing in mind that the main goal of any startup is to grow, the book suggests that having a great product without a traction strategy is a common error that all entrepreneurs should avoid. Instead, the winning strategy is to work in parallel on both customer acquisition and product development. In other words, work 50% on building the product and 50% on generating demand.

Ultimately, if you want to discover which customer acquisition channels you should use at each stage of your startup’s life cycle, this is an essential book that you must read.

As constant explorers of technology and knowledge, here at Tappx, we encourage you to take a look at these books that every digital entrepreneur should have in their reference library and, above all, implement the ideas contained within them.

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