Book Review: Tuned In

Tuned In“Tuned in” explains the difference between Apple Newton’s failure and iPod’s success. Apple wasn’t tuned in when it created Newton, but when it promoted “1000 songs in your pocket,” Apple solved several problems: giving people a way to carry their songs in something small, making it easy to get songs from computer to iPod and creating a product that is easy to use.
Not all stories in Tuned In: Uncover the Extraordinary Opportunities That Lead to Business Breakthroughs come from big and innovative companies like Apple. In fact, we learn about a tuned in magician (one-person business), niche camera (not a well-known brand), StubHub and a company’s newsletter.
Many companies fail to ask prospects what problems they need solving. Instead, they create a problem and a solution that they think people need. An excellent example comes from Magnavox. Did the company think people needed more features on their TV sets?
No. Instead, Magnavox interviewed customers to find out what problems they had with their TVs. Sometimes customers don’t know that answer and it’s up to the tuned in company to help them figure it out. Through this process, Magnavox stumbled on a problem we all have (including my own household) — we lose our remotes on a regular basis (as hard as I try to teach my kids to put things back, they conveniently forget to do it).
So what does the company do? Added a button on its TV sets to locate the remote. Now I wish I knew about this before I bought my last TV. And this feature should become a standard for ALL TV-related products that come with a remote.
Some employees think talking to friends and family helps them tune in. But really, it doesn’t. They can’t always be the dream customer for a company’s products and services. Here’s where knowing customers enters the picture. When a company knows its customers well enough, it knows where to find them and interview them to tune in.
The book could use more examples especially of one-person or very small business stories like the magician who found his niche. The start of the book captivates, but then it drags by the middle as it falls in the trap of what some business books tend to do and starts spending too much time on its framework. The examples draws the reader in more than anything else.
For the most part, the Tuned In: Uncover the Extraordinary Opportunities That Lead to Business Breakthroughs is a fast and breezy read offering valuable insight into the six-step process for tuning in by using real-life examples.

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