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This article was published on February 19, 2016

What TNW is reading (week 7)

What TNW is reading (week 7)
Matthew Hussey
Story by

Matthew Hussey

Commissioning Editor

Matt Hussey was the former Editor-in-Chief for The Next Web. Previously he worked on the launch of Wired UK, ShortList and Mr Porter. He's b Matt Hussey was the former Editor-in-Chief for The Next Web. Previously he worked on the launch of Wired UK, ShortList and Mr Porter. He's been an active contributor to GQ, FHM, Men's Health, Yahoo, The Daily Telegraph and maintains a blog on Huffington Post

Ah, welcome welcome. I see you enjoyed last week’s edition and are back for more. Well we won’t disappoint. For the uninitiated (go back and start at post one, please) the team at TNW has made a New Year’s Resolution to read a bit more. So every week, a select number of our team will be sharing with you what’s currently living on their nightstand, or saved in Pocket, or is sitting in that browser tab begging to be read.

This week we have insights into the world of A/B testing, the dawn of the digital age and why the old adage of following your passions – instead of what you’re good at – can lead to frustration disillusionment and even unhappiness.

Common Pitfalls in Experimentation – Code Voyagers

A/B testing is hot at the moment. Everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it. Everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it.

That also means a lot has been written about A/B testing and conversion rate optimization (CRO) in general. Unfortunately most articles aren’t that interesting, but once in a while you stumble upon an interesting post. This time I found one by Colin McFarland, who is responsible for CRO at SkyScanner.

He points out seven pitfalls that I recognize – I think I’ve stepped in all of them at least once and based on the reactions and shares by other CRO people on social media, I felt I’m not the only one. Then I also realized it is time to step-up our game and optimize CRO. We, as conversion experts, need to optimize CRO and make sure we don’t fall into the traps McFarland outlined again.

– Simon Vreeman, Web Analyst

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution – Walter Isaacson

Working for a technology company is always thrilling and exciting. Seeing, sensing and talking to the businesses who will spearhead the next decade’s worth of innovation, technology and welfare is even more thrilling.

With all these technological innovations around you however, it’s sometimes good to stop and look back at where it all started.

The Innovators by Walter Isaacson is a look back into the annals of history, all the way to the 1800’s where Ada Lovelace pioneered the first definition of computer as we know it today. Getting a sense of where the industry I work in started out is exciting and gives me a sense of how this industry is built on ideas that are in some cases, more than a century old.

This is a must read for everyone who loves technological innovation like I do, but wants to get more background information on where it all started. By the way, was Tim Berners Lee really the founder of the internet? You can find out the answer to that question inside this book.

– Jeffrey Kloezeman, Partnership Manager

The Idea Writers: Copywriting in a New Media and Marketing Era – Teressa Iezzi

I read this book a while ago to learn a bit more about brand storytelling. Although the title suggests differently, this book goes way beyond just copywriting. The digital revolution caused a major shift in how advertising went about its business – and this book shows the behind-the-scenes stories of how remarkable new media campaigns like the “I Love Bees” by ARG came about. In the digital era, the audience is no longer just passively consuming content, they are actively participating in a brand’s story.

Advertising has gone from creating one-way messages to ongoing conversations, the book suggests. This means a lot of new opportunities for marketers, writers and designers to define a new ad landscape and to push brand narrative to places where it can generate its own audience.

I’d argue it’s an important read for anyone in the marketing industry, who is excited by the changes and opportunities the digital age will bring. Not in marketing? The case studies are interesting enough to read for a refreshing shot of creativity.

– Yasmin Veenman, Marketing Manager of TNW Deals

So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love​ – Cal Newport

If you want the quintessential resource on what to do with your life, this is a great book.

It looks at why people try to follow their ‘passions’ rather than what they’re actually skilled at and where that often leaves you. Following your passion is a cliché thrown around repetitively and it sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to your life expectations.

We’re always told to ‘do what we love and the money will follow’ but the reality can often quickly set in, followed by disillusionment and feeling stuck. Some truly great advice and written in an entertaining way.

– Owen Williams, Journalist

This is a #TNWLife article, a look into the lives of those that work at The Next Web.

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