Ed Vinicombe, Founder of UXClub, about Motivating Books in Business
“I’ll throw this one out there straight away — I really dislike reading or hearing about books that profess to know how to make a product successful” – this quote caught my attention a few weeks ago, while browsing IndieHackers.
It belongs to Ed Vinicombe, one of the co-founders of UXClub.com. I was curious to find out more about Ed’s relation with books and reading, so I reached out to him and asked if he’s willing to answer some questions on the subject.
But first, a few background info: Ed founded UXClub.com in 2016, together with Kaspar. It’s an on-demand video training platform for people who want to learn more about user experience design (Ed has 10 years of experience in the field, working for some of the largest corporations in the world and improving customer experiences).
Besides running UXClub, he has a full-time job working as a Senior Product Designer at ClearLeft agency. Ed also volunteers at UXPA, a mentorship programme for people starting out in the UX field.
From our interview you’ll find out more about the books that helped him (or didn’t help!) build a business, why he enjoys biographies and memoirs instead of the classical “marketing tricks and tips” kind of books, and his reading habits.
What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.
I’m still yet to find a book that has helped me at any point in business.
For me, books are out of date as soon as the ink has dried and considering the fast-paced nature of the tech industry, it just doesn’t seem helpful to read about a technique or strategy that is no longer applicable as soon as you’ve read it.
I was recommended a book when I started uxclub.com. “Hooked” by Nir Eyal was highly recommended to me by a colleague and I was intrigued. I had only just had the idea about uxclub.com at this point and I was curious about how I could go about building a product that would naturally keep customers coming back for more. After reading the first couple of chapters I was bored and ended up using the book to prop up my bedroom window. Everything was either out of date or glaringly obvious. I was hoping I would find something truly unique and insightful but instead, it was a series of recommendations that were too predictable. Instead of telling me HOW to create a habit-forming product it just told me what it is.
Various other books have, unfortunately, had the same impact on me. When it finally came to launching uxclub.com in December 2016 the best advice I was given was either in person or through contacting old friends that had been there and done it.
I do, however, still take inspiration from literature.
Instead of the mundane “Marketing Tricks and Tips” kind of books, I enjoy personal stories of entrepreneurs and learning about their approach to life and business. One in particular that stands out (rather predictably) is the story of Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. Their biographies are fantastic reads and if you haven’t read them – go and do it now! I love learning about their personalities and attitude to life – that is massively motivating for me in business.
I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?
I don’t read nearly as often as I should. I’m annoyingly too busy to read most of the time and instead, I prefer audiobooks that I can listen to in the background whilst at work.
This way I can get two jobs done at the same time!
Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?
I bookmark stuff in the browser that I find useful and try and come back to it. Though I rarely do… If I’ve found something amazing I tend to tweet about it almost as a way of keeping a track of it.
How do you choose what books to read next?
I don’t really think about what book to read next. If there is something particular that someone has recommended to me then I’ll give it a try otherwise I’ll tend to come across something on social media that I think looks interesting.
Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?
There are some great posts and thoughts about startups in Hackernoon on Medium.
I’m loving this post at the moment which discusses the complexities of raising your first investment. Real information and tips from real people.
Take a read if you have some time!
Links where you can follow Ed Vinicombe or find out more about his projects:
Books mentioned by Ed in this interview: