#65/111: Writing White Papers

What is it about?

How to write a white paper? Michael A. Stelzner, who has written over 130 white papers, explains his procedure of writing a white paper from interviewing experts to offering the solution.

What can I learn?

Interview experts: If you aren’t an expert on a topic you could become one or you could interview some. Firstly, you should identify the experts. Write them an email with the most important information (topic, estimate amount of time and questions) and ask them if they could answer your questions.

State the problem in depth: If you are writing a white paper, you should focus on the problem. If you are writing a 6-12 page white paper, circa 2-3 pages should be on the problem. Some people don’t exactly know what the problem is. Let’s take IPv6 as an example. The biggest problem at the moment with IPv4 is its limited amount of IP addresses. You could write about the implications and how IPv6 solves them. Moreover, you could write about additional features of IPv6.

Offer generic solutions first: If you go to the solution, you shouldn’t try to sell your service/product yet. Firstly, offer a generic solution which everybody could implement on their own. This will maintain your credibility. After that you can talk about your specific solution. Tell your readers how it is different and superior to the generic one.


Writing White Papers is a nice book which shows you the basics of writing white papers. Some chapters are disappointing because they are very short. However, if you are a writer and want to go into writing white papers, this could be a valuable asset.

#64/111: The Experience Effect

What is it about?

Have you ever been in an Apple store and used an Apple product? If so, you saw that there are components that are consistent. There’s lot of white space. There is modern design and simple design/architecture. Even Apple’s ads are created this way. You are feeling the experience effect. Jim Joseph shows you how to create a strong experience effect and how to align your marketing.

What can I learn?

Define your brand: You should start with defining what you want. Do you want to be a high price segment product/service? Do you want to be hip? Try to list what makes your brand special. The next step is to find out who your possible prospects are. Who wants a high priced hip product? Where do they live? What do they do?

Live your prospect’s life: If you can’t live it, observe it (or at least talk to them). Follow a customer one day and register what she does, where she is and what she consumes. This way you can see how you could improve your channels and what is important to your customers.

Be consistent: A brand is about the experience with the brand, not what the marketing manifesto says. If you begin to be inconsistent than your brand will lose value and eventually die. If you brand stands for great customer service but people have to wait 20 minutes in the waiting loop, you brand isn’t trustworthy.

What are the touch points? If you’ve done the first step, you probably registered a lot of touch points (channels), e.g. billboards, radio ads or specific websites. You should find out which touch points are the strongest and build strategies that are consistent with your brand experience.


The Experience Effect is a solid guide to branding. Jim Joseph explains each step very detailed and practical. He shows why Madonna is more successful than Jennifer Love Hewitt and gives you actionable advice on how to improve your brand. Nice book!

#23/111: Grinding It Out

What is it about?

I have always believed that each man makes his own happiness and is responsible for his own problems. That’s the first sentence in this book and Ray Kroc meant it. He describes his pursuit of happiness from a piano player to the chairman of McDonald’s.

Key points?

You are responsible for your own life: In the early years a franchisee opened a McDonald’s restaurant nearly to some other burger restaurant. The other restaurant offered burgers for 10 cents each (15 cents at McDonald’s) but people got their fries and milk shakes at McDonald’s. After a while the other restaurant lowered all prices to 10 cents. The manager of McDonald’s called Ray Kroc and asked if he should inform the Center for Combating Unfair Competition. Ray Kroc said: “No, make burger which are worth 15 cents.”

Stay Green: Basically you should try to get not too conservative or too comfortable. “When you’re green, you’re growing. When you’re ripe, you rot.” Try new things, be open and don’t afraid of failure. At McDonald’s they introduce a lot of new meals, some fail, some prosper (e.g. the BigMac).

QSC and V: Quality, Service, Cleanness and Value these are the main values of McDonald’s. They are easily portable to other businesses.


What a great book! I love how Ray Kroc impersonates the American Dream. He worked hard, he took responsibility for himself and he helped other people to reach their dreams. Definitely a recommendation!