Practical Ecommerce

Reading List: Josh Colter of Elias Interactive

 Josh Colter

Josh Colter

In “Reading List,” we ask ecommerce professionals to name some of their favorite recent books and blogs and tell us why they read them. For this installment, we corresponded with Josh Colter, head of Elias Interactive, an ecommerce design and development company.

 

Josh Colter’s Favorite Books

Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston

Founders at Work, by Jessica Livingston.

“Author Jessica Livingston interviewed 33 founders of tech companies and chronicles their stories in this insight-rich volume. It’s must-read material for anyone planning a tech startup. Often we learn more from what went wrong than what goes right, so pay careful attention to the founders’ mistakes in chapters 5, 18, and 24 — Software Arts, Craigslist, and ArsDigita, respectively.”

Built to Sell by John Warrillow

Built to Sell, by John Warrillow.

Built to Sell, by John Warrillow.

“Do you sell services? If so, then this book’s fictional fable will reveal the mistakes that most service-based business make and show you how to design a service offering that adds tangible value. While I don’t have immediate plans to sell my company, I was challenged to rethink the way we deliver value to our customers. Now we create service packages to make the buying decision easier and collect payment early in the business relationship to maintain positive cash flow.”

The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam

The Back of the Napkin, by Dan Roam.

The Back of the Napkin, by Dan Roam.

“What if you could solve problems and sell your ideas more effectively? Well, pull out that sharpie and a blank piece of paper and use Roam’s how-to manual for applying drawing to problem solving. I use the book’s method on everything from complex customer situations to our company’s strategy. And it works! Note: No expert drawing skills needed.”

Prodigal God by Tim Keller

Prodigal God, by Tim Keller.

Prodigal God, by Tim Keller.

“Tim Keller’s look at the famous story of the Prodigal Son sheds new light on the older brother. We all search for personal significance and a way to deal with the ills of the world. Some of us through self-discovery and others via moral conformity. Both are dead ends. Personally I was challenged to take a hard look at my relationships and thought patterns to uncover the motives behind why I do some of the things that I do. Regardless of your religious background, you’ll walk away with a better understanding of what the founders of Christianity believed.”

The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane by Russell Freedman

The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane, by Russell Freedman.

The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane, by Russell Freedman.

“My family recently visited the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. Since the museum is home to a Wright Brothers exhibit, I brushed up on the history of the airplane’s creators. Two brothers from the Midwest with persistence, ingenuity, and selfless teamwork built the first airplane 108 years ago. To this day the same aviation principles of thrust, lift, and control remain the cornerstones of air travel. One of the best stories from the book compares the approach of well-funded Samuel Langley with the self-funded Wright Brothers and their focus on control. It’s great inspiration for underdog teams who are innovating against Goliath competitors.”

Josh Colter’s Favorite Blogs

Mixergy

Mixergy

Mixergy

“Andrew Warner interviews experienced mentors and then posts the video and transcripts for free. Rummage through past interviews for a treasure trove of insights from a who’s who list of authors, founders, and professionals. This is the most important blog I follow.”

37signals: Signal vs. Noise

37signals - Signal vs. Noise

37signals – Signal vs. Noise

“How do you build a huge multi-million dollar software company without funding or a marketing department and while telling customers ‘No’? If you’re 37signals, you give away your business recipes on your blog and then spin it into a best-selling book. Part of me doesn’t like 37signals. But it’s the kind of dislike that you have for that frienemy in high school who is smarter, better looking, and always gets the girl. The guys at 37signals are just so darn smart. I have to keep reading their stuff.”

SEOmoz

SEOmoz

SEOmoz

“Search ranking is crucial for everyone these days — from retailers to charities. A lot of blogs about SEO are marketing bull s#@% intended to sell you over-priced snake oil. Not SEOmoz. These guys take an analytical and transparent approach to SEO. Then they build practical tools to help you compete more effectively in search results.”

Seth Godin

Seth Godin's Blog

Seth Godin’s Blog

“Seth is arguably the most insightful author, blogger, and marketer of our time. You can’t help but think differently after reading his work.”

Awkward Family Photos

Awkward Family Photos

Awkward Family Photos

“Check this one out when you need a good laugh — or confidence boost after your aunt tags you on Facebook in an old photo from middle school.”

Practical Ecommerce

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