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Swipe to unlock : book review

Swipe To Unlock: The Primer on Technology and Business Strategy.

Are you someone that is passionate about product management, marketing, strategy, or business development? If yes, this book is a no-brainer for you guys, as the tech industry is the place to be.

According to the Forbes'17 review, non-technical professionals at tech companies outnumber their engineering counterparts by almost 3 to 1. I would still not deny this fact, being a Software Engineer myself!

The question arises what should you do to break into the tech industry? It all starts with a swipe. Before reading this book, I would have said, you need to have decent coding skills and a little domain knowledge, to begin with. But here I experienced a mind-shift: you don't need to learn how to code to break into the tech industry. Yes you read it right

Authored by 3 Product Managers at Google, Facebook, and Microsoft: Neel Mehta, Aditya Agashe, and Parth Detroja Swipe to Unlock is a comprehensive guide on the must-know concepts of technology and business strategy.

It gives you a breakdown of the concepts you need to know to crush your interviews, like software development, big data, cloud management, internet security amongst others.

What Swipe To Unlock has to offer? What's great about it?

Covering topics such as Software Development, Business Models & Strategies, Economics, Hacking & Security, Hardware & Robots, The Internet, Cloud Computing, Big Data, Technology Policy, Emerging Markets, Future Trends, and much more, it gives you a peek under the hood of the technology you use every day, decodes tech's biggest buzzwords, and shows you how technology is changing the society we live in for better or for worse.

I have to give it to the authors, as it is pretty engaging. The authors are really creative at using analogies and everyday knacks to explain different technologies and business concepts. The book does an excellent job at demystifying the workings of the tech industry by answering some real-world questions like:

  • How does Spotify determine what songs to recommend to you?

  • How did KaiOS become the third-largest mobile operating system in just two years since launching?

  • Why does Amazon offer free shipping with Prime if it loses them money?

  • How did a single typo take down 20% of the internet?

  • How does Facebook make billions without charging its users a penny?

  • Why is Uber so dead-set on self-driving cars?

  • Why did Facebook buy the VR company Oculus?

Of course, I won't reveal the answers just yet, you have to go ahead and read it for yourself. But what's intriguing is that the book does a fantastic job of explaining the motives behind how technology companies may not seem to be following the general rules of economics on the exterior but in reality how they do develop strategies around the same.

The book focuses on the immense relatable narrative content to have a good understanding of the latest trends in the market so you can then dive deep into topics that pique your interest or require in-depth understanding. For newbies, and someone who needs to yet explore the tech industry, the authors have also provided extensive references, notes, and glossaries.

Having mentioned how companies have used customer data ignoring basic privacy, it would actually help many readers to understand how and why data privacy is so important. This is the very case that I found fascinating: how Nordstrom offers free WiFi to learn how and where people are moving through the store by triangulating their location and seeing where customers spend the most time.

Business cases indeed kept me hooked all throughout: Why Microsoft acquired LinkedIn? : Microsoft interviewers probably won't ask you about the motive of the purchase, but they might ask you for ideas to improve Microsoft Outlook. From the case study, you'll learn how Microsoft and LinkedIn ecosystems could work together, which can help you curate creative, impactful answers. You're sure to impress!

It's a great overview of the tech/biz aspects of tech companies to fill gaps in knowledge and I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in knowing how the business side of the tech industry works and wants to delve deeper into how technology is digitally impacting our daily lives.

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