December ’19 round-up: Winter holiday reading list, experimentation news and more!

By: Chris Goward
13 min. read Last updated: August 27th, 2020

Welcome back to a special winter edition of the experimentation news round up!  We all know winter is a time for hot cocoa, holiday festivities, weekend Netflix-bingeing (or Disney+, anyone?), and hanging out fireside with a great book.

In the spirit of this, Kim Quach (Widerfunnel’s Behavioral Science Consultant) put together a short list of books that some of us at Widerfunnel are reading and a list of books we want to read. I hope at least one of these books catches your eye and you get a chance to pick it up this winter. Let us know what you’re reading — we’d love to hear it!

What We’re Reading:

But What If We’re Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past by Chuck Klosterman “I wanted to read this book as a thought-provoking exercise to make me think differently about an assortment of topics, and as a bit of a training exercise to challenge assumptions and avoid always sticking to the status quo. It isn’t much more than a thought experiment, but it was an enjoyable read.”  [James Flory, Senior Experimentation Strategist]

Start at the End by Matt Wallaert “As someone who doesn’t usually enjoy reading “business” books, this one was a joy to get through. After following Matt Wallaert’s work in applying behavioral science, I knew his book would be a must-read when it came out. It’s full of practical examples and tangible applications of behavioral science in product design, sprinkled with some cursing and personal tangents.”  [Kim Quach, Behavioral Science Consultant]

Educated by Tara Westover “I think this memoir is a great example of why #curiosity is so important — questioning what people tell you is the truth and being self-determined enough to seek out the answers yourself. Tara grew up in a family of Mormon survivalists who were against formal education and modern medicine and she ended up getting her PhD from Cambridge.”  [Janessa Murao, Design Manager]

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz ‘This book has been recommended to me by a few people now, and it was one of the books I recently read while on my solo journey through Thailand. From Amazon: “In The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.”’  [Nelson Soh, Director of Finance]

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight is one of my all time favourite books. The story of how Phil Knight started Nike from the ground up is extremely motivating and eye-opening. Highly recommend this one!  [Nelson Soh, Director of Finance]

The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Green It’s an interesting and thoroughly researched book into human relationships, and the human mind. A lot of the book is quite dark and pessimistic, but is incredibly well supported by science.  [Mike St Laurent, Director of Experimentation Strategy]

Seeing What Others Don’t: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights by Gary Klein This is a fascinating book about the way human insights are formed and the factors that block them. This has a marvellous variety of stories to illuminate what insights are and how they happen.  [Matt Wright, Director of Behavioral Science]

What We Want to Read:

The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan This book is on my list for my personal development and growth. It’s about focusing on the ONE thing in order to accomplish your goals.  [Ukrit Pornpatanapaisarnkul, Web Developer]

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown “I have always been drawn to Brené Brown and her work studying vulnerability, shame, empathy, and courage. Whether it’s her books, blog, TED talks, or Netflix special, each resonate with me deeply and hit me right where I live. I’m excited to read this one and see where the inspiration takes me!”  [Kim Quach, Behavioral Science Consultant]

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein “Disclaimer: I want to read this book entirely because of a confirmation bias. Because this is my own philosophy on life, but I’m curious to read someone else’s perspective and see if it aligns with my own.”  [James Flory, Senior Experimentation Strategist]

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish “I heard about this book on a Simon Sinek podcast. He highly recommends it for people in managerial positions. On my list of books I want to read!”  [Todd Baylis, Web Developer]

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming… Experimentation News!

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Experimentation News: December 2019

7 Tech CEOs Share Marketing Trends And Predictions For 2020 – Forbes – By Kimberly A. Whitler

The most successful companies run thousands, even tens of thousands, of tests and experiments a year. For Netflix, it has meant getting people to content they want to watch faster and created a $25B business for Amazon when they experimented in launching Amazon Web Services (AWS). With tremendous competitive challenges in every market and mainstream recognition that customer experience matters as much as a company’s products or services, marketers will double-down on experimentation across customer engagement channels and digital properties. (Brett Caine, CEO of Airship)

Spotify wants to be the Nike of audio. Here’s how CEO Daniel Ek plans to do it. – Business Insider – By Yusuf Khan

For Ek, the best way to expand the 248 million figure to a billion is through experimentation.

“You’re going to have to experiment a lot more. Spotify today is a company of 5,000 people and earning many billions of dollars every year, and if we’re going to keep that growth rate, then we’re going to have to find a billion or two billion of dollars every year, and everyone knows that’s very hard from a standing start.”

He wants a culture of experimentation to drive innovation: “You can’t have a culture of experimentation if you don’t allow for failures to happen.” Ek talked about how Spotify uses “hack weeks” to develop new ideas to push the app forward.

T-Mobile lifts customer acquisitions 400% with personalized videos – – By Robert Williams 

T-Mobile’s results from the AI-powered videos indicate that personalization can be effective in boosting conversions by tailoring content for each customer. It also reflects how AI tech can be used to boost the relevancy of digital video, a trend that is emerging as the early days of AI experimentation give way to wider use throughout marketing organizations.

A Conversion Conversation with Widerfunnel’s James Flory – – By Rommil Santiago 

As Experimentation matures and gains more traction as a discipline, more and more professionals ask, “How can we succeed at Experimentation?” Other than reading this blog, I (virtually) sat down with James from Widerfunnel to understand his career path and to get his take on what it takes for people and companies to excel in this exciting field.

Gartner: Four in five marketers will abandon personalisation projects by 2025

Ewan McIntyre, VP analyst at the Gartner for Marketers Practice, affirmed that while CMOs are putting a lot of faith in data-driven practices, the basics still need doing. “The commitment to data-driven marketing goes beyond strategic intent and budgetary commitment,” McIntyre wrote in a piece for MarketingTech last month. “It requires a shift in the marketing organisation.

“The most mature data-driven marketing teams have embedded real-time decisioning, have defined budget for experimentation and innovation with data and analytics and use analytics as a brand differentiator,” McIntyre added. “Tools, technology and data play a vital role, but talent, culture and organisation are also essential components.”

Luxury retailers are experimenting with apps; is it the right move? – – By Danny Parisi

Mobile apps are a bit of a throwback now, waning in popularity for retailers, brands and customers since their heyday in the late 2000s. However, other luxury retailers, such as Net-a-Porter and Browns, are confident that mobile apps provide a uniquely tailored customer experience. “The app market is oversaturated and we wanted to make sure that if we were to launch an app, it would offer something new and bring value to our users,” said SSENSE’s CMO Krishna Nikhil. “With an excess of opportunities to explore on mobile, the team concentrated on hyper-personalization and product discovery.”

Dutch companies improving their digital commercial maturity –

In the Netherlands, retailers Hema,, Hunkemöller, Coolblue and G-Star have been identified as the top five leaders in digitising their sales & marketing operations.

According to the report, they manage to stand out in a number of areas. First, they consider digital customer interaction as a strategic priority, enabling them to successfully navigate the changing consumer arena and stay ahead of competitors.

“Digital has become the ‘new normal’, the challenge is to become a truly customer-centric and data-driven organisations. Alongside digital excellence, this builds a company culture that embraces experimentation, customer centricity and radical innovation.”

7 A/B Testing Examples To Bookmark [2020] – VWO Blog – By Astha Khandelwal

VWO share seven successful A/B testing case studies showcasing how some of the world’s leading companies have leveraged A/B testing and the culture of experimentation to their advantage.

Some interesting experiments the media is noticing:

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Upcoming Experimentation Events and Webinars

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Past Events and Webinars from Widerfunnel

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Who’s hiring?

Do you know of an upcoming event or current job posting we should include in this round-up? Let us know in the comments section below, and stay tuned for our next experimentation news round-up next month!

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