Menlo Park authors

Post image for Consultant Dan Olsen shares what he’s learned in the Lean Product Playbook

Menlo Park resident Dan Olsen started coding on a Commodore 64 as a teen, but it wasn’t until he landed at Stanford Business School that he discovered there’s a career field called product management.

“It fit me because it’s at the intersection of technology and marketing,” he said. “Then I got lucky enough to get a job at Intuit, where I learned 75% of what I know.”

After a decade consulting in the field, he’s put what he knows in a book, The Lean Product Playbook. “It took me over a year to write it as I worked on it nights and weekends,” he said. “It’s 335 pages — I wanted to say everything I had to say about product management!”

He explained what he defines as being lean: “It means trying to make the best use of resources. There are two components: not investing time in building the wrong thing but rather being mindful and smart to get it right. And it’s about embracing iteration and being customer centric.”

Being lean isn’t new, Dan explained. It’s started with “lean manufacturing” and Toyota. An earlier book published by his publisher, Wiley, was called the The Toyota Way. “I’d studied the original lean before I got into software,” he said.

In addition to speaking and consulting, Dan runs a Lean Product Meet Up. “I started it 4 1/2 years ago in 2014,” he said. “We’ve grown to over 7,000 members. It’s held at Intuit’s headquarters in Mountain View.” The next one is scheduled for Sept. 18.

Like many we’ve talked to who live in the Willows, Dan is a big fan of that Menlo Park neighborhood: “It feels like a real community, not just a place in the middle of Silicon Valley!”

Photo by Scott R. Kline (c) 2018

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Local writer Rebecca Bloom co-authors “The Anti-Cook Book”

Thumbnail image for Local writer Rebecca Bloom co-authors “The Anti-Cook Book”

Menlo Park resident Rebecca Bloom is a lawyer turned writer. Her writing “partner-in-crime” and one-time college roommate, Shelly Onderdonk, is a veterinarian. It’s natural that the two, neither chef nor food critic, would combine for a new book, The Anti-Cook Book. And not to be mis-understood: They are not against cooks, meaning the people who […]

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Maggie King’s debut novel looks at the consequences of China’s One Child Policy

Thumbnail image for Maggie King’s debut novel looks at the consequences of China’s One Child Policy

Menlo Park resident Maggie Shen King‘s second go at writing a novel shows perseverance pays off. Not only was An Excess Male picked up by Harper Voyager, but it’s gotten noticed. The Washington Post selected it as one of the five best science fiction and fantasy novels of 2017, applauding Maggie for “distinctive and sympathetic […]

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Local author Constance Vincent explores karma in latest book

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Karma is not a religious term. And it is not a judgment from a past life. Karma really means “a call to action,” appropriate as one starts thinking of New Year’s resolutions. In her latest book Karma in Action, psychologist and author Constance L. Vincent, a Menlo Park resident, has written the only book that […]

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Author Donia Bijan is featured at First Friday event on Sept. 1

Thumbnail image for Author Donia Bijan is featured at First Friday event on Sept. 1

Author and Menlo Park resident Donia Bijan will appear at the next First Friday on September 1st at Woodside’s Town Hall (2955 Woodside Road). Donia’s latest book is The Last Days at Cafe Leila. Elizabeth Church writes: “The Last Days at Café Leila is a novel that will engage all of your senses and then make […]

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Hometown author Barry Eisler launches new John Rain thriller at Kepler’s

Thumbnail image for Hometown author Barry Eisler launches new John Rain thriller at Kepler’s

Menlo Park author Barry Eisler emailed: ” My new John Rain novel — Zero Sum — is out today! This is another prequel, again set in Tokyo ten years following the events of Graveyard of Memories: “Returning to Tokyo in 1982 after a decade of mercenary work in the Philippines, a young John Rain learns that the […]

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Spotted: Author Donia Bijan at Kepler’s celebrating book launch with her family

Thumbnail image for Spotted: Author Donia Bijan at Kepler’s celebrating book launch with her family

We admit to loving this photo of author Donia Bijan celebrating the publication of her first novel with husband Mitchell Johnson and son Luca at Kepler’s last night. What a happy looking family! All the copies of The Last Days of Café Leila got snapped up, but Kepler’s has more on order. Earlier this week, we ran our […]

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Ken Rutsky brings a new perspective to B2B marketing in book, Launching to Leading

Thumbnail image for Ken Rutsky brings a new perspective to B2B marketing in book, Launching to Leading

Menlo Park resident Ken Rutsky says he’s always wanted to write a book. He’s just surprised that his first book, Launching to Leading, is non-fiction rather than a novel. “I’ve always enjoyed writing,” says the long-time corporate B2B marketeer who now has his own consulting practice. “There’s something satisfying about writing what you’ve been thinking about and […]

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A new tennis novel from tennis pro Marcus Cootsona

Thumbnail image for A new tennis novel from tennis pro Marcus Cootsona

Given that local tennis pro Marcus Cootsona teaches about 45 hours a week in Atherton, Los Altos Hills and at the San Francisco Tennis Club, on hearing that he’d written another novel, we could only ask, “When do you find time?” “I write between lessons,” he said. “If I have an hour free, I write. On Saturday […]

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Emily Brandon authors new book about stress-free retirement planning

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Dream about your retirement. In many respects that’s a good first step in retirement planning, according to Menlo Park resident Emily Brandon, who’s written a new book, Pensionless: The 10-Step Solutions for a Stress-Free Retirement. “If you dream about the kind of life you’d like to have in retirement and where you’d live, you’re more […]

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T.T. Monday aka Nick Taylor brings back Johnny Adcock in second baseball crime novel, Double Switch

Thumbnail image for T.T. Monday aka Nick Taylor brings back Johnny Adcock in second baseball crime novel, Double Switch

Relief pitcher Johnny Adcock, who moonlights as a private detective, is back with the publication on March 1st of Double Switch, penned by T.T Monday, known to locals as Menlo Park resident Nick Taylor, who we first profiled in 2014. The latest baseball/crime novel follows The Setup Man, released in 2014. “When it was published, […]

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