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Swipe to Unlock

by Rovin Vazirani


Swipe to Unlock as best described by the authors, is a must-read for anyone pursuing a career in technology. The book covers a good spread of topics, it is very well-written and is a quick read.

This book is a collection of case studies on topics such as software development, economics, technology policy, emerging markets, future trends and much more. The authors have done a marvelous job in explaining tough technical concepts in easy to understand language. Few of the interesting topics that were covered in this book:

  • Why does Tinder make you login with Facebook?
  • Why does Google make Android free to phone manufacturers?
  • How does Robinhood let you trade stocks with zero commission?
  • How is Google Drive like Uber?
  • How does Pokemon Go work?
  • Why does Nordstorm offer free Wi-Fi?
  • How does free mobile data hurt customers?

The authors have done a great job of researching and demystifying the workings of the tech industry. On the surface, tech companies do not seem to be following the general rules of economy, but this book does an amazing job of explaining behind a lot of these strategies. This is not a surprise since all three authors of the book are Product Managers at some of the top tech companies.

My Thoughts…

This book is one of my personal favorites and on my re-read list. It is one of the books I refer to it when preparing for panel discussions/interviews. If you don’t have an engineering background, this book will be a good help to understand basics. Personally, a lot of the concepts in this book were not new to me. What stood out is how the book explains tough concepts in simple, non-technical language. This has helped me immensely as a product manager.

Swipe to Unlock has also been the inspiration behind my blog. It takes immense research, technical understanding and a good grasp of concepts to explain to a layman how Spotify recommends songs to you. This book challenged me to think out of the box and I definitely put that to use by creating my blog. This book is engaging, inspiring and very educational.

One thing I would have like for the book to cover are stories from emerging markets like India and China where typical western business strategies do not work. I would like to read the authors analysis on upcoming Indian startups such as Dunzo and Swiggy and also their thoughts on big Indian tech giants like Paytm and Flipkart.

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