Both a memoir and a source of practical advice for readers interested in working in the industry, The Delivery Man provides a comprehensive breakdown of the steps and roles crucial to creating a successful tech product. Taveau chronicles his humble beginnings in start-ups, his record of expertise and innovation working from the ground up with companies like PayPal Mobile and Zelle, offering clear-eyed lessons from those experiences—and from challenges, triumphs, and disappointments alike. Each chapter ends with a "key takeaway" (“It’s going to be messy. Just accept it.”) or important advice, though the book’s power is in its detailed, engaging narrative and Taveau’s welcome frankness.
This in-depth account from a seasoned professional in the field is a valuable resource for anyone interested in becoming a part of a startup team, improving the work of their current team, or just interested in understanding the techniques, processes, and decision-making of the industry shaping our lives. Taveau captures not just the everyday work of implementing ideas, but the drift of mind of those who do so.
Takeaway: An informative memoir on the inner workings of startups and the people who make visions reality.
Great for fans of: Jimmy Soni’s The Founders, Nir Eyal’s Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
This book is a memoir and operating manual on delivering new products and services. The author, Sebastien Taveau, is a Silicon Valley veteran who has delivered great things for a wide variety of companies.
The Delivery Man is a must read in today’s complex technological world, where you cannot deliver anything without the full collaboration of lots of stakeholders who may not report to you and that you can’t simply order around.
If you’re the delivery person in your company, Sébastien’s book provides an invaluable resource on a topic that is often overlooked in business literature. I have coached a number of people filling this role who often feel alone in dealing with visionary CEO’s and large, matrix organisations. Sebastien’s book is invaluable in seeing how others deal with complex delivery environments.
If you’re a CEO, this book will give you insights into the processes needed to deliver your vision, so you can be an even more inspiring and empowering leader. Understanding the detailed and diligent thought processes necessary to bring ideas to life is crucial in your role motivating your teams.
“Every great creator or dreamer needs a sidekick to help them,” Sebastien writes. “In the 17th century, Miguel de Cervantes wrote Don Quixote. Honestly, I made most of my living across all these years by being Sancho Panza to many Don Quixotes. And I have zero regrets. The adventures were great.”
This is a wonderful book to sit with and absorb.
I know I will re-read it multiple times and each time gain insight into things I can do better and where I can improve my effectiveness.
The relationship between Visionaries, Delivery Men, and Team (including culture) is a complex mix of personality and process but wherever we are in a position that makes use of the time and talent of any other human being(s) it is incumbent to use it well. Sebastien has captured a priceless and succinct guidebook in “The Delivery Man” written from his personal experience.
Having operated as a Founder/CEO for 30 years I have benefitted from riding on the shoulders of great Delivery Men (sometimes individuals) and sometimes teams that work so closely together as to be a single unit together fulfilling the character Sebastien describes. It is a privilege but also a responsibility.
I challenge Founder/CEOs like myself to read this book and be honest with ourselves about whether we should perhaps follow SSOCCADD every time in the linear process from the start before reaching any key executive “D” decision that charts a future of effort for the creative input of the Human Resources we steward… even where we are super confident in our “Vision”. (The market always has a way of getting us there in the end anyway :-). ).
I also encourage any Product, Project, Market Facing, Finance, and Technology (science, engineering, data, coding) professionals to read this book and seek to bring some of it into your own current activities, your team, and your future path.
Ideas are great… but… Delivery makes it real !!!
Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5
The Delivery Man features a wealth of strategies and advice for those working within the field of technology.
Drawing on personal experiences, Sebastien Taveau’s informative business book The Delivery Man suggests methods for delivering information technology products to customers in difficult and challenging situations.
Taveau spent twenty-five years working in Silicon Valley, where he was part of projects with PayPal and worked on the Masters of Code project. In 2014, he was tapped to speak to bank executives and fintech entrepreneurs. The experience led him to develop the four “magic ‘I’s:” Invention, Innovation, Integration, and Imitation.
Exploring each I alongside complementary concepts, this book mixes practical and inspirational suggestions with thoughts on leadership, teams, and entrepreneurship, reminding leaders to avoid noise and to keep focused. Taveau’s own work history is used to illustrate his points, as of the importance of learning “what you are good at as soon as possible in your career and accept[ing] it even if it may not lead to your original dream.”
In the technology sector, Taveau says, good ideas often fail without delivery people to bring them into being. But visions that aren’t developed risk failing: “Silicon Valley is the graveyard of many ideas that never reached the market because of timing and delivery.” His book covers project development processes’ hidden traps, like undefined or ill-defined goals. Those who wish to succeed, the book says, should begin with their ends in mind—and should be prepared: “It’s going to be messy. Just accept it.”
While some of the book’s revelations are delayed, they are complemented by a detailed methodology, though one that uses a clunky acronym, SSOCCADD. Its steps include paying attention to situate the problem and controlling and communicating about outcomes. Of most use are the takeaways that conclude each chapter and that help to clarify the book’s messages. Humor also makes the book approachable: here, there are three types of managers (“the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Donkey”). And Taveau is a humble guide whose recollections humanize his recommendations. He names his past struggles to showcase the perils and promise of working with capable teams and inspiring visionaries. Diagrams are present to clarify some material, too. Still, some familiarity with the world that he describes is presumed; some of his insights will be of most use to technology insiders. Others will find it to be a fascinating glimpse into the world of big tech.
Forwarding thoughtful advice on how to develop projects from start to finish, The Delivery Man is a business book featuring a wealth of strategies and advice for those working within the field of technology.
Reviewed by Jeremiah Rood
December 2, 2022
A comprehensive guide to pursuing entrepreneurial success in the technology industry.
“You don’t need to be the greatest innovator to make a living” in California’s Silicon Valley, writes tech-industry expert Taveau in his nonfiction debut about what really moves the levers of success there. Many of his own mentors and colleagues, he reflects, didn’t have the mindset of true innovators but were rather “integrators” of already existing concepts: “Everyone wants to be an innovator,” he writes, “yet you can be successful in being the delivery person for a visionary.” Taveau confides that he always envisioned that he would become a tech pioneer in the style of Apple’s Steve Jobs, until he finally discovered what he calls his “superpower”: “understanding the mind of the visionary, converting it into a practical reality, and then delivering it to the world.” This, of course, is a tall order, but Taveau has had success managing high-profile tech projects, including as chief technologist at Zelle. He effectively takes readers through the twists and turns of working to realize the ideas of others. This includes getting an understanding of what makes a good, supportive manager and a bad, unmotivating one; how to successfully work with teams; and how to implement a method for project flow called SSOCCADD (Situate, Secure, Observe, Control, Communicate, Analyze, Distribute, Decide). “With success comes envy. And with envy comes negativity,” he adds, and he warns readers about the competitors one might encounter, the perils of credit-hungry innovators, and the ever present danger of corporate overlords shifting a project’s direction without warning. Taveau fills his book with energetic prose even as he tells readers the unpleasant truth: A great many people want to be innovators, but few set out to be the person who makes the innovator’s ideas work in practice. In straightforward, congenial prose, he advises his readers to stick up for themselves even while facilitating the dreams of others. In Silicon Valley, he reinforces the idea that “you have to be your own champion,” otherwise “someone else will take the spot.”
A readable and relatable guide to being the one who makes tech dreams come true.
Reviewed by Maria Victoria Beltran for Readers’ Favorite
The Delivery Man: The Art of Turning Ideas into Products in Silicon Valley by Sebastien Taveau is a must-read for anyone who would like to build a successful career in today’s complex technological world. It’s a candid and fascinating account by a Silicon Valley veteran with a wide range of experience delivering to various companies. The book should give readers a basic understanding of how products are developed by companies based in Silicon Valley. It stresses the importance of the delivery man whose role is often unnoticed but is critical to the success of the product being launched. As a young immigrant to the US in the mid-90s, Sebastien Taveau found himself immersed in the rapid growth of technology. Today, he is known as a puzzle solver and beyond-the-horizon watcher, with twenty-five years of technical and professional experience. This is his story.
Sebastien Taveau’s The Delivery Man is an interesting glimpse into the complex behind-the-scenes world of technology. It’s a candid recollection of the author’s experiences in his professional journey which can be used as a manual, especially by IT professionals. The book emphasizes the need to find your true professional strength, know who you need to include on your team, have the support you need from the top, and have the energy to drive the projects to the end. This is a gem of a book for anyone who wants to have a successful career in any field they choose because while it focuses on the world of Silicon Valley, it also applies to any line of work. Highly recommended.
Nowadays, everyone is walking around with their faces in their phones or sitting at a computer staring at a screen for hours on end. But how much does the average person know about the processes it takes to get those apps and programs we use up and running? If you’re not someone who works in the tech industry, you probably don’t know much. As someone who lives and works in Silicon Valley as a non-tech employee, I was excited to pick up a copy of Sebastien Taveau’s new book, The Delivery Man: The Art of turning ideas into products in Silicon Valley. Many of my clients work in the tech industry, so over the years, I have gathered bits and pieces of knowledge about how their jobs work and why they are called into emergency meetings in the wee hours of the night (or morning). Having worked for companies such as Mastercard, Zelle, and Paypal, Taveau explains some of the processes used in the tech industry as they pertain to his job as a delivery man.
The Delivery Man is part memoir and part how-to guide. As Taveau states in his book, “…while the Delivery Man can be quite unnoticed within a company, the role is critical to the success of many product launches.” Understanding how products come into existence is an integral part of being a good delivery man, and so Taveau outlines each role involved from start to finish. Finding a need, strategizing, putting together the project, and getting an executive sponsor, business analyst, and product manager are just the basics. There are so many things that can go wrong in every stage of product development, and I enjoyed reading Taveau’s anecdotal stories. Taveau shares a takeaway at the end of each chapter which is very helpful in summing things up. He talks about bosses, managers, and coworkers and the importance of good leadership. He also talks about negativity, keeping on task, not getting sloppy, and of course, the hard work that goes into creating and delivering a product. My favorite takeaway was a methodology that everyone can apply, whether in the tech industry or not. SSOCCADD is a military concept associated with repetitive training that allows a person to flow from one stage to the next, kind of as if he or she was on autopilot. Taveau does a great job of breaking down each step in the book.
The Delivery Man is the perfect book for anyone who is thinking about going into the tech industry, training young students, or is an entrepreneur just looking to get a better understanding of what goes on in the world of tech.
Reviewed By: Kristi Elizabeth
Bolstered by the experience of decades working in the heart of Silicon Valley, The Delivery Man: The Art of Turning Ideas into Products in Silicon Valley by Sebastien Taveau is an accessible and revelatory glimpse into top-shelf innovation and personal achievement.
Most people can rattle off half a dozen major tech CEOs, but the critical product designers and dreamers behind those success stories are normally hidden from view. As the delivery man – the person trusted to deliver “dreams come true” – Taveau goes deep into the tangled weeds of product development. Though this memoir and manual is inspired and directed by the Silicon Valley world of startups, it holds deeper existential and philosophical lessons about work ethic, ambition, praise, and purpose.
As is well-articulated in the introduction from Dave Birch, rarely are common consumers and readers given access to the real seamstresses behind the scenes. The author’s opening statement explaining the Big 4 I’s – invention, innovation, integration, and imitation – helps set the tone for the book, breaking a potentially daunting subject into tangible ideas. The message throughout the book reflects this genuine desire to share knowledge openly – rarely does the writing dive too deep into nuance or get lost in the details. Taveau is matter-of-fact in his teaching, leaving little room for uncertainty or contradiction.
Whether you are a veteran developer at a Fortune 500 company or a design student with only an internship under your belt, there are lessons to be learned throughout the book. Taveau gives advice that middle managers can immediately apply, encouragement for fresh-faced hires who feel out of their depth, and cautionary tales that will make CEOs take pause. The key takeaways at the end of each chapter could be copied on Post-It notes in any professional’s office. Taveau’s ability to shift between perspectives makes the book especially appealing and effective, and likely what made him such a reliable voice on cutting-edge dev teams.
Perhaps most important is the confident authority with which Taveau can speak – his resume is undeniably impressive, having been a part of major mobile and global tech developments, from Paypal Mobile and Zelle to Validity and Codewarrior. The real-world examples of obstacles, frustrations, and creative workarounds are fascinating, particularly when you can readily Google and verify so many of the author’s colleagues, bosses, products, and commercial successes.
There are occasional moments where the tone could be seen as patronizing, or dismissive, particularly when talking about salaries and personal demonstrations of advancement. These instances are rare, but also unnecessary, as the wisdom in these pages is aspirational enough, without putting increasingly high price tags on success. On a technical level, there are some lapsing passages that slip into overly casual narration, as well as sloppy syntactical and grammatical errors. A final proofread of the entire book is recommended to eliminate these oversights.
As a whole, The Delivery Man is an exceptional insider’s look at tech creation, seasoned with actionable wisdom from a truly impressive career, and offering a crib sheet for powering forward in one’s chosen field.
The Delivery Man: The Art of turning Ideas into Products in Silicon Valley by Sebastien Taveau answers the simple, yet least considered question by the ordinary person or consumer: What does it really take to bring new tech products into the market? In this book, the author documents his unique journey from the moment he comes to the US in 1996 to becoming one of the top technology executives in Silicon Valley. The author defines The Delivery Man, as the person with the hands that create — products and services; they are crowds unknown to the consumer. Readers will understand the crucial position of the Delivery Man in the process of creating and delivering a new product into the market and more.
Sebastien Taveau's book is a must-read for business executives and leaders, and while the author shares his unique experience in Silicon Valley, this book contains insights and lessons that will help any leader create deeper levels of success with their team or organization. The author underlines the importance of creating unity from diversity: “This is not a one-person job, even if you are a great delivery person. You need the help and support of so many roles to get anything out of the door.” He shares his lessons on how to get people — with different skills, strengths, and challenges — to rally behind a project. Readers will learn how to deal with negativity, handle uncertainty, and find the right tools to deliver. This author offers a lot in this captivating, thought-provoking, and how-to book, from his rich experience to the compelling leadership ideas, and he writes in a voice that is irresistible and in prose that is crisp.
Reviewed By: Romuald Dzemo
Reviewed Date: January 23, 2023
Category: Non-Fiction - Business/Finance