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Custom Nation: Why Customization Is the Future of Business and How to Profit From It Paperback – November 15, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...an excellent primer for those looking to cash in on an important area of growth."
Publishers Weekly

“A must-read for all entrepreneurs—and anyone else interested in the future of business.”
Frank Piller, Head of MIT’s Smart Customization Group

“Flynn and Vencat have brought the future to you today. This book chronicles how humankind's drive for self expression has evolved and where it is heading.”
Bob Marino, CEO of CafePress

“Entrepreneurs are delivering unprecedented customer value by harnessing innovative business models to provide top quality custom products at affordable prices. Custom Nation takes a good look at the history of customization, who’s doing it well, and where it is headed.”
Robert Keane, CEO and Founder of Vistaprint

“As CEO of a company whose products are driven by customization, I can confidently say that consumers want specialized, ownable products—and this book shows you how to build a loyal customer base and improve your bottom line.”
Jeffrey Housenbold, President and CEO of Shutterfly

Custom Nation identifies a new space for an entrepreneur to create and grow a business, marrying the evolving technologies of customized production and distribution with the enabling power of internet communications to closely fit customer needs.”
Norman E. Toy, Columbia Business School

“A quick and entertaining read, Custom Nation captures the essence of how and why customization has become such a crucial part of the modern consumer experience. The book makes it easy for aspiring customizers to leverage this wealth of knowledge to build the successful CIY business of their dreams.”
Jeff Beaver, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of Zazzle

“Customization is the buzzword in business these days and Custom Nation explains how to approach customizing effectively and make the most out of it.”
Jan-Christoph Goetze, CEO and Founder of PersonalNOVEL

About the Author

Anthony Flynn. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a business degree in 2006, Flynn founded YouBar, the world’s first customized nutrition bar company, with his mother, Ava Bise. Since then, Flynn has grown YouBar to seven-digit annual sales and employs 30 people in an 8,000-square-foot facility in downtown Los Angeles. Flynn frequently gives television, radio, newspaper, and magazine interviews about YouBar and food customization. He has appeared on Fox, ABC, the Cooking Channel, and NBC, among dozens of other television stations. He has also given interviews for The New York Times, Women’s Health, DailyCandy, the Today show, E! News, the Nutrition Business Journal, Good Morning America, and National Public Radio’s Marketplace. In addition to this, Flynn gives lectures on how customization is changing the food industry, and he consults to companies launching customized food products. Among his numerous talks, he has been a guest speaker at USC, UC Berkeley, and UCLA.

Emily Flynn Vencat. After graduating from Barnard College, Columbia University with a degree in English Literature, Vencat moved to London in 2002, where she began her journalism career at Newsweek. Vencat worked as a London-based Newsweek correspondent for five years, where she covered major economic trends, including the international housing market, the global luxury trade, and the effects of global warming and the green movement on big business. After taking over as Newsweek’s London-based business writer in 2006, Vencat wrote more than 100 articles in two years, including five cover stories. Later, as a business writer on staff at The Associated Press, Vencat wrote blow-by-blow coverage of the 2008 global economic meltdown, with her articles being picked up by newspapers around the world, including the International Herald Tribune and USA Today. Vencat has interviewed some of the biggest names in the business world, including Virgin boss Richard Branson, Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll, Celtel founder Mo Ibrahim, Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, and The Carlyle Group founding partner David Rubenstein.

Dennis Flynn (Lead Researcher). In 2008, at the age of just 20, Dennis took over as YouBar’s marketing, advertising and social media guru. Dennis’ work helped catapult the company from a small five-person team the year he joined to a booming business with over 30 employees just two years later. While running YouBar’s marketing and advertising department, Dennis also completed his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Southern California in 2010. Dennis currently lives in Los Angeles, and is the Director of Marketing and Social Media at YouBar.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: BenBella Books (November 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937856100
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937856106
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sspring on November 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
As someone interested in business and marketing, I picked up this book because I didn't know much about customisation. It was a fascinating read and I now see it everywhere and how it is shaping the way everyone shops and will increasingly take part in designing the products of the future. Really interesting examples across all industries from food to clothes. I highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Becca Sussman on November 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
After reading this book, I can't imagine ever starting a new business without an element of customization. Custom Nation does a great job of outlining exactly why any business in any industry should customize (there's a great chapter that looks at all the benefits - from bigger profits to greater consumer connected-ness). Anyone who is even thinking of starting a business should read this book. I highly recommend it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Matt O on November 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
After having a delicious YouBar from a friend, I investigated the company and the people behind it. After learning about the history of the company and their product from their website and found that this book was coming out. Custom Nation is a perfect read for any small business owner, established or otherwise. The book details how Anthony, Ava and Dennis took on an already saturated energy bar market and, using unique marketing techniques and a novel twist, and carved out their own very large niche.

The beauty of Custom Nation is that most any product based business can adapt their own business plan to include a way for their consumers to customize their purchases to their own needs and preferences. Reading the case studies included in the book, combined with the excellent commentary and analysis from Anthony and Emily, I already was coming up with ways to adapt their ideas to my own business. The authors present a simple concept, but analyze it so deeply that I felt I understood the ins and outs of their business idea.

Custom Nation's message is simple. As the internet continues to become the preferred way to do business for the average consumer, there will be an ever-growing disconnect between the consumer and the product. By providing a cost effective way for each consumer to make the product they purchase unique, a business can enjoy all the benefits of doing business on the internet while still providing the personal touch that the average American enjoys. If you have a small business, you must read Custom Nation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ginanne brownell on November 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
Imagine if Starbucks only offered filter coffee. That's it...not pumpkin spiced skinny lattes or extra hot full fat espressos. Nope. Just coffee, black. Pretty boring right? Certainly the Seattle-based company would not be the global brand it is today without customizing each coffee for each customer. THIS is what the excellent book "Custom Nation" is all about--how customization from coffee to cars is the buzz word in the global 21st century business world. Co-written by Emily Flynn Vencat (a former Newsweek magazine colleague of mine who then went on to be a business writer with AP in London) and her brother, Anthony (who founded the LA-based YouBar company), the book has interviews with dozens of the founders and CEOs of businesses that specialize in customizing their products for their clients. We no longer live in a one-size-fits-all world and smart, proactive, innovative companies are realizing that the way to a client's wallet is via personalized options. With fantastic anecdotes, staggering statistics and intense research, "Custom Nation" is a thought-provoking, beautifully written book not only for people interested in starting their own customized brands, but for anyone interested in finding out why, how and when businesses realized that, yes, it really IS all about the consumer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By scruffy's mom on November 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
I bought this book because I am thinking of starting my own business I just didn't know how to go about making customization apart of it. Now that I've read through this guide and visited the website several times (which has a blog along with several great tips) I feel that I am ready!

I should mention that although the website has a list of many businesses that are in the customization world many are out of the country. I wish they would update the website with more US based companies to make it a little more relevant. I would have given Custom Nation 4 stars for the book + the website, but I decided to give it 5 stars based on the book alone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CPascoe on August 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Custom Nation was an enlightening and fun read! I'm currently an economics and finance undergrad student and it never occurred to me until I read this book how integral customization is becoming for businesses. I was actually shocked my college classes hadn't explored the impact of customization on businesses! It's something that everyone does now without even realizing it. Furthermore, it is clear the authors researched the history of customization thoroughly. There are so many neat facts/tidbits and graphs about businesses and customization that I never would have imagined. Anthony Flynn doesn't preach the success of his own company in this book, he's sharing the key feature for businesses to succeed now. Custom Nation has countless impressive interviews from CEO's (Vistaprint, Zazzle, CafePress, etc.!) that it makes you truly realize and appreciate the importance of customization.

The book also explored the concept of customization from various perspectives, which made the book more enjoyable. For example, Flynn includes a neat experiment study and interview from Dan Ariely (someone who I was thrilled was in the book because I also had the pleasure of interviewing him myself for a term paper), a behavioral economist at Duke, on peoples' willingness to buy something after their own ideas have been imprinted within a good. Flynn has the ability to extrapolate studies such as these and explain them in simple terms for what they mean for customization.

If you have the entrepreneurship spirit, this book is definitely worth the read. Custom Nation isn't a "Customization for Dummies" or anything near it -- it's simply a brother and sister reporting on the revolutionary changes that are happening in every business field -- from food to fashion. I highly recommend everyone to check this book out, even if you aren't interested in managing a business.
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