Announcing "Map the Future," a Better Way to Create Business Strategy

I wanted to let you know that my book on business strategy, Map the Future, is now available. Map the Future is a how-to book for business strategy. It teaches you how to combine information about competitors, customers, and technology trends to spot future opportunities and problems before they're obvious. That lets you grab opportunities before anyone else, and get ready for your competitors' responses before they happen.

This is not a theory or case-study book. It’s a practical how-to manual, summarizing the things I learned in a couple of decades of doing this stuff in Silicon Valley. The book is designed to help anyone who works on strategy, from individual contributor to senior manager. That’s a broad audience, so different parts of the book will be relevant to different readers. To help you find what you need, I organized it like a cookbook. It starts with an overview that's written for everyone, and then dives into very detailed how-to instructions on strategy-related subjects, ranging from how to manage a competitive analysis team to how to assemble a long-term road map.

The central idea behind Map the Future is that most companies think about the future the wrong way. Visionary companies (like Apple) try to impose their will on the future, like a military drill sergeant; analytical companies (like General Electric) try to predict the future in detail, like a weather report. Both approaches fail when there are changes we didn't anticipate. The reality is that you can neither fully predict nor fully control the future, because it hasn’t happened yet. But you can anticipate what could happen. What you need is a realistic map of the possibilities, like a highway map for the future, so you can see where you can and can't go, and then nudge events toward the future you want to create. Map the Future teaches you how to create the building blocks of that future roadmap (using competitive, customer, and technology information), and how to bring them together to drive strategy.

Topics covered include:
—How to segment the market for a new product
—How to create and use technology forecasts
—How to analyze competitors and test competitive products
—How to use market growth forecasts
—How to recruit and manage competitive analysis and market research teams
—How to manage third party researchers and analysts
—How to do competitive analysis and market research if you’re in a small company with no budget
—How to influence in a large company
—How to guide Agile product development through strategy
—How to read the adoption curve and tell when you’ve crossed the chasm

One comment I’ve received from early readers is that the book has a lot of information on what works and doesn't work in large companies. That’s true; steering strategy at a big company is an especially tough task because of the politics involved. But I did my best to also highlight information and techniques relevant to small companies and startups. The sections relevant to small companies are labeled and hyperlinked, so you can jump straight to them if you want to.

For more information on the book, and sample content, click here.

At this time, Map the Future is only available electronically, at the e-bookstores below and through my website. I didn’t want to wait nine months for a print publisher, and besides I’ve spent years preaching the benefits of electronic publishing, so it’s time to eat my own dog food.

PDF & ebook bundle $14.99

(Includes the .mobi file for Kindle; .epub file for Apple, Android, Nook, and most other e-readers; and PDF files formatted for 8.5 x 11-inch pages, 10-inch tablets, and 7-inch mini-tablets.)  

Buy the ebook for $9.99

(Includes .mobi file for Kindle and .epub file for Apple, Android, Nook, and most other e-readers. About 340 pages.)  

PDF version $9.99

(For those who prefer to read PDF files. Includes PDF files formatted for 8.5 x 11-inch pages, 10-inch tablets, and 7-inch mini-tablets.)  

Buy the ebook on Amazon:
Map the Future

Buy the ebook on the Apple iBookstore:

Click here to buy the ebook on Barnes & Noble (Nook)  

Click here to buy the ebook on Kobo  

If you have problems ordering, contact me at the e-mail address here.

If you have questions or comments on the book, feel free to contact me directly, or post them below. Meanwhile, here are a few comments from people who reviewed pre-release copies of the book:

“Even before finishing the book, I had written a stream of emails to my professional colleagues, making suggestions for new approaches in our projects, based on the examples I had just read.”
—David W. Wood, Technology Planning Lead, Accenture Mobility

 “I wish all the business guidebooks I’ve read were as good as this one. Hell, I wish ANY of them were.”
—Matt Bacon, Deputy Director, Device Strategy and Communication, Orange-France Telecom Group

Map the Future will sit on my desk for years to come as an invaluable guide to help me make good decisions about the future.”
—Tom Powledge, VP and General Manager, Symantec Corporation

Map the Future is a landmark guidebook for forward-thinking executives and strategy consultants.”
—Martin Geddes, Founder & Principal, Martin Geddes Consulting Ltd.

Map the Future is your cookbook for developing a strong roadmap and strategy. I wish I'd had a guide like Map the Future when I started my career. ”
—Gina Clark, Vice President & General Manager, Integrated Collaboration Group, Cisco Systems, Inc.

A big thank-you to the many Mobile Opportunity readers who offered advice and encouragement as I wrote the book. You helped a lot!


Rob said...

good luck with the book. Will be interesting to read about how the electronic sales work out.

One question for that post - what is the thought process behind treating pdf as a different/separate format to the various ebook formats?

Michael Mace said...

Thanks for the comment, Rob. You asked a great question, and the answer relates to some of the things I learned about publishing a book electronically.

Four data points:

First, I was impressed by the extra-value offers that my friend Mike Rohde built around his book, The Sketchnote Handbook. He did a video training series to go with it, and you can buy the book bundled with the training. I didn’t have the time to create a whole video series around Map the Future, (speak up if folks are interested in seeing that in the future), but it made me think about other bundles I could offer through my website.

Second point: The royalty regime for ebooks is ridiculous. If I price my book between 99 cents and $9.99, I get 70% of the revenue on Amazon, but if I price it $10 or above, I get 35%. Nook’s terms are similar. This threshold was designed to force the price of electronic novels below $10, which Amazon apparently believes is a natural price break for a novel. The issue for me is that I think the natural price point for an electronic business book is about $15, and that’s what I wanted to charge. But if I charged that on Amazon I’d actually make less money. Madness. So I was forced by Amazon to lower my price by 50%. (Note: Apple’s iBookstore does not have this screwy royalty structure. Sadly, they provision only to Apple devices.)

Third: It is an unbelievable pain in the neck to format an ebook. I’ll write more about this later, but to give you a preview, one problem was that I had to maintain separate source files for the PDF and ebook versions, with a long list of formatting changes that I had to apply separately to each version (in the case of the PDFs, for example, I used a slightly different font size in each of the three page size versions). So every time I made any change to the book, I had to cascade it through a big chain of formatting steps. I felt like the extra work of maintaining all that formatting deserved a bit higher revenue.

Fourth: Many authors would tell you not to offer PDF versions at all, especially not formatted for a printed page, because of the risk that your book will be pirated. I didn’t want to treat my customers like criminals, but at the same time I thought it was appropriate to offer some sort of higher-value bundle to compensate me for the risk I was taking.

Add up all those points, and I decided to try an experiment with a higher-price bundle containing all of the formats. If you want the convenience of having every format, I’ll ask you to pay a bit more.

I haven’t figured the sales totals so far, but I think as much as 1/4 of the people buying on my website have chosen the PDF + ebook bundle, so I’m glad I offered it.

But if it bothers you, please let me know. This whole thing is an experiment, so I’d like to get as much feedback as I can.