Swipe to Unlock: The Primer on Technology and Business Strategy

swipe to unlock pdf

Authored by 3 Product Managers at Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, Swipe to Unlock is a comprehensive guide on the must-know concepts of technology and business strategy. It is a must-read for anyone pursuing product management, design, marketing, consulting or business strategy roles in the tech industry.

***Swipe to Unlock was updated in 2019 to include over 40 pages of new content to cover the latest developments in the world of tech.*** We highly recommend buying our book directly from Amazon rather than a third-party seller as it’s the only way to ensure you get the latest version.

This #1 Amazon Business Bestseller won a medal from the North American Book Awards and has been featured in The Wall Street JournalForbes, and Business Insider. Swipe to Unlock was touted as “our generation’s Rosetta Stone for enabling anyone to peer into the technology changing everyday life” by Jeremy Schifeling.

  • How does Spotify determine what songs to recommend to you?
  • How did KaiOS become the third largest mobile operating system in just two years since launching?
  • Why does Amazon offer free shipping with Prime if it loses them money?
  • How did a single typo take down 20% of the internet?
  • Why did Microsoft acquire LinkedIn?

By answering real-world questions like this, Swipe to Unlock gives you a peek under the hood of the technology you use every day, decodes tech’s biggest buzzwords, and shows you how technology is changing the society we live in for better or for worse.

Topics Covered: Software Development, Business Models & Strategies, Economics, Hacking & Security, Hardware & Robots, The Internet, Cloud Computing, Big Data, Technology Policy, Emerging Markets, Future Trends, and much more!

Featured Companies: Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Spotify, Uber, WeChat, Yelp, Tinder, Washington Post, Grab, Toyota, GoJek, Samsung, Salesforce, M-Pesa, Quora, KaiOS, Twitter, Tesla, ByteDance, Airbnb, Robinhood, Adobe, Alibaba, Netflix, Paytm, Target, and many more!

Unlock the answers you need to ace your tech interviews or become a better-educated digital citizen. Buy Swipe to Unlock today to understand why it’s a Top Gifted Book of 2018!

Book Review by Jean Ren

A Must-Read for All Those Interested in Breaking into the Tech World

I am a PM at Quora and discovered Swipe to Unlock through our company book club. One of our leads nominated it as our read of the month. Our books are usually more of stories (e.g. Bad Blood) rather than case studies, so I was a bit reluctant reading “a primer” given that I have been working in tech for almost 8 years now. I have to hand it to the authors though, they did a phenomenal job incorporating vivid storytelling into the book!

Each chapter of the book is full of key insights regarding business trends and tech developments. I think this book is a must read for everyone working in tech, but especially product management professionals. There’s few good resources to help PMs think big and critically analyze opportunity. I think Swipe to Unlock and Zero to One are probably the best books on the market for that.

I was familiar with at least half the material in this book, but I previously lacked the ability to explain the concepts in ways that non-technical members of my team could understand and thus comprehend the significance of the technical product decisions we were making. So this book definitely helped with that. But, the real value I got from this book was in the later chapters which focused more on business strategy and emerging market trends.

Having a Western-centric user base at Quora, I haven’t yet had much exposure to the tech trends in high growth tech markets such as South East Asia. This book does a phenomenal job breaking down key growth strategies other companies have used to successfully win market share in emerging markets. It also reveals that rationale behind major acquisitions such as Microsoft acquiring LinkedIn and provides actionable analysis on what things to look for to make an acquisition successful.

If you are a product manager, I would highly recommend reading this book. It will broaden your perspective from thinking how to incrementally improve your product to how to spot the next major opportunity. I just ordered copies for both of my reports to read!

Editorial Reviews


“The 21st century will be ruled by technology that very few people actually understand. Swipe to Unlock is our generation’s Rosetta Stone – letting even non-engineers peer into the machines and code that are changing our lives everyday!” 
— Jeremy Schifeling, Founder of Break into Tech; Formerly @ LinkedIn and Apple

“Written in an upbeat, accessible manner, Swipe to Unlock demystifies the jargon and concepts of the tech world. I’m recommending it as a “must read” to all my business students and advisees seeking jobs in the tech sector!” 
— Professor Deborah Streeter, Applied Economics and Management @ Cornell University

“The first of its kind, Swipe to Unlock is an essential guide for anyone looking to understand the tech and business concepts you need to know. A comprehensive, well-researched book and a definite no-brainer resource to leverage for your job search!” 
— Pam Silverstein, Entrepreneur in Residence @ Cornell University

From the Back Cover

How does Spotify determine what songs to recommend to you? Why would Amazon offer free shipping with Prime if it loses them money? Why did the FBI sue Apple to hack the iPhone?

You don’t need a computer science degree to answer questions like these. Written by three former Microsoft product managers, Swipe to Unlock uses real-world examples to break down the core concepts of technology and business strategy. Learn how to decode buzzwords like “big data,” “the cloud,” and “machine learning” — all without writing a single line of code.
Friendly, accessible, and refreshingly clear, Swipe to Unlock is your guide to landing a non-developer role at a tech company, using technology to improve your business, or becoming a better-informed digital consumer.


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