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Sales Conference

I spent the past week at the Wiley sales conference in Sarasota, Florida. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with many of my sales and marketing colleagues from around the world. Key titles are presented and we spend a good deal of time in breakout sessions with sales reps from the various channels (e.g., national accounts, independents, mass markets, etc.) I wanted to pass along the titles that I found most interesting:

Loyalty Myths, by Timothy Keiningham, et al – Even though my group focuses on computer books, I love it that other parts of Wiley tap into interesting topics like this. The authors claim that everything we’ve learned about customer loyalty is wrong. Not all customers become more valuable over time. Some do just the opposite and supposedly cost the company profits. I’m anxious to read this one, especially since many of my previous posts reflect my interest in customer retention.

Professional DotNetNuke ASP.NET Portals, by The DotNetNuke Core Team – You may have seen this book pop up on Amazon’s Top 25 bestseller list. Even though it’s not available quite yet, this one underscores the power of the author platform. Check out Jim Minatel’s various postings on this topic for more details.

Excel Data Analysis: Your visual blueprint for analyzing data, charts and PivotTables, Second Edition, by Jinjer Simon – OK, I admit it: I’m a spreadsheet jockey. I use Excel all the time and find myself immersed in pivot tables most days of the week. I remember flipping through the first edition of this one, but I plan to carefully read the new one.

Podcasting: Do-It-Yourself Guide, by Todd Cochrane – I first read about podcasting last year and asked Chris Webb to see if a book might make sense. I’ve played around a bit with a couple of podcast subscriptions on my PocketPC, but I’m now looking into a full-fledged MP3 player to avoid swapping in and out SD cards. (Any suggestions on favorite MP3 players?…)

Software That Sells: A Practical Guide to Developing & Marketing Your Software Project, by Edward Hasted – Katie Mohr brought this interesting project to Wiley. With all the small teams and individuals out there trying to create the next “killer app”, this book should appeal to a broad audience. The author has over 30 years of hands-on experience as a developer, consultant and CEO – I can’t wait to read what he has to say.


Naba Barkakati

Joe, Did you discuss/observe any book or topic trends in your sales conference? As for MP3 player, I bought my daughter an iPod when they first came out (along with a Powerbook, which she wanted instead of a Windows PC) and she likes it. According to the Yahoo Buzz game, iPod has the most buzz among all MP3 players, iRiver is a distant second. Maybe you should check out the iPod.

Brad Hill

Buzz is just buzz. The iPod is extraordinarily overrated. Nothing wrong with buying one, of course, if there's something about it you prefer. Just know that feature by feature, and dollar by dollar, the iPod is soundly trounced by several competing devices. It is an unpowered, underfeatured device with an attractive interface and must-have brand clout. Expect to pay a fortune on accessories to bring it up to spec with standard features on other devices. Look at iRiver, Creative, and Samsung. If you're in the market for a flash player (no hard drive), your choices expand dramatically, and the iPod Shuffle is even more of a loser than the Apple hard-drive products.

Joe Wikert

There really weren't any broad discussions of hot topics/trends at the conference. We tend to focus more on the upcoming titles, getting the sales force everything they need to get great placement, etc. We have a separate editorial board/proposal meeting where we sometimes discuss trends.

I'm fascinated by the iPod, but I look at it mostly as a fashion statement. I'm simply too cheap to pay a premium for something like this when I can get more storage capacity from someone else at a lower price. For example, I bought my son a Creative MP3 player for Christmas. It's a 40-Gig device so I don't know if he'll ever fill it up. I think I paid about $250, including a 2-year, "no-questions-asked" extended warranty. I can't touch a 40-Gig iPod for that price, let alone the warranty. He loves it, and I'll probably get one for myself before too long. I'm more likely to go for the 30-Gig version, since that seems like plenty.


The ipod is pretty lousy as a podcast player. No good bookmark feature. No good way to read show notes. Skipping around is limited to how efficient you can get with the thumb wheel.

That's not to say that there's any players out there that are good for podcast playing. I think that "podcast players" haven't really been created yet. It's not the same thing as just an MP3 player. The MP3 players out there are really more geared toward being portable radio/jukeboxes. I want something that's more like a portable audio book, or collection of short stories. I need to scan things as interesting and come back to them later. Or mark certain points in an hour long stream that reference the interesting bits I want to go lookup on the net. I don't want a jukebox, or a party list, or any of that stuff.

I'm talking about an application, not a piece of hardware. But in order to create new applications to choose from you need a platform that allows you to install software, such as a PDA. It's annoying to swap out SD cards, this is true. But it's also annoying to have 50 new podcasts on your ipod and spend 20 minutes of your 45 minute commute saying "" and trying to figure out where the 5/6 version of Daily Source Code is the most recent, or if there is a 5/5 in there someplace that maybe you started listening to but didn't finish.....

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