Interview With Raluca Radu:
Raluca Radu is one of the key players who contributed to the education and nurturing of Romania’s e-commerce industry. Since 2012, she has been a co-organiser of GPeC – the biggest local e-commerce event, born in 2006 with the mission to support and reward the market (which was just at the beginning back then).
Raluca’s also the owner of MTH Digital, a marketing agency focused on e-commerce (MTH comes from “Making Things Happen”). With more than 12 years of experience in online marketing business, working as an e-commerce trainer and strategy consultant, Raluca was responsible for the growth of many top digital businesses in Romanian market. In the past 2 years, as country manager of Answear, she helped it become one of the biggest online fashion shops in .ro.
If you’re interested in learning more about e-commerce and/or online marketing, you can’t miss our interview with Raluca – it’s filled with lots of useful book recommendations. We also talked about whose words inspired her when she just started her own business, and what book had the biggest impact on her. Keep on scrolling to find out more!
What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.
As in my life, in my reading I simply adore the authentic. Therefore, I prefer to read biographies and comedies. In terms of fiction, I love comedies, in all forms, plays or prose. I loved everything Oscar Wilde wrote when I was younger, I re-read every one of his books because I love his wit and humor. Also I read everything by Jerome K. Jerome and P.G. Wodehouse and would recommend them to anyone. I think humor is the most honest form of fiction because it is easier to depict the reality in humor. When written well, humor is blunt, but also refined and smart. I also love biographies and I really adored “Open” by Andre Agassi as it is a very honest and authentic summary of a successful career with all its ups and downs.
In terms of business, some of the must-read books I would mention are “Hooked” by Nir Eyal, “Web Analytics: An Hour A Day” by Avinash Kaushik, “Call To Action” and “Always Be Testing” by Bryan Eisenberg, “Epic Content Marketing” by Joe Pulizzi, “How To Build Websites That Sell” by Peep Laja, “Content Chemistry” by Andy Crestodina. Also Stephen Covey had a strong influence on me in terms of management and business some years ago and the advice in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” are still the principles I turn to in my life always.
Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?
Yes, I read 1 year ago “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon” by Brad Stone and I had just started my own business. Most books you read about American entrepreneurs are so inspirational and it makes it seem so easy to work for a startup. This book shows you however the flaws of the leader, the leader and the business’s weak moments, the principles of frugality, the way he celebrated his team but also split with some of them, the tough decisions. Some of these really inspired me on how to move further and I got some nice and highly applicable ideas from the book.
What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)
The biggest impact was the before mentioned “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. It helped me a lot in my management and leadership skills. Also “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh inspired what I think of customer service ever since I read it.
What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)
I work in digital marketing so I would say:
I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?
I read daily at least 1-2 pages during my coffee and breakfast and sometimes before going to bed. It happens very rarely for a day to pass without me reading something. I read 95% in English since more than 15 years ago and this translates in me almost thinking in English but sometimes having trouble expressing myself in pure 100% Romanian. This is troubling sometimes because I speak a lot in public, especially during my online marketing trainings and here it would be better not to use so much Romglish :-)) I read on my Kindle, I haven’t bought any books since somewhere around 2008 I think when I received my first Kindle device. I love how Kindle decluttered my home and shelves and made reading far more accessible to me. I try to read 4-5 books at the same time because I get bored easily and I am not in the mood for the same type of reading every time. I read 1-2 books of fiction, 1-2 professional books – digital marketing, management, business & 1 biography. I usually finish the biography first because this is my favorite genre.
How do you make time for reading?
I don’t do it consciously or I no longer do it consciously. Books are part of my life, my routine, they help me relax and see another point of view. They really are very similar to talks with friends. No matter how busy you are, you always have time for a chat with a friend. Same goes for books.
Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?
I used to take notes but I rarely revisited them and I realised they created too much clutter. If the books are professional, I just revisit the books on my Kindle when necessary – when I do some client work or when I prepare a presentation or blog post and I remember some nice quote. I remember easily where it was I read something. I prefer to read and stay longer on quotes and ideas which are interesting to me but I never write them down. I think that what is useful for you, what serves you in your current context will stay with you easily anyhow. Otherwise, you will remember where to find it.
How do you choose what books to read next?
I ask friends for recommendations, friends whose taste in books are similar to mine. I also rely a lot on Amazon and GoodReads recommendations, some of them are really well suited. I also generally look for biographies of people who are interesting for me or whom I’ve heard of recently and try them. And I never miss any book in digital marketing and e-commerce which is trending at the moment. Even if some of them are not so good or don’t bring anything new to the table, I do my best to skim them at least. I see it as one of the best ways to see new points of view in my job and to get inspired.
Do you prioritize those recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?
I think I already answered this on my social media profiles recently :-))) I always ask one of my good friends, Gabriel Coarnă, for book recommendations. He also likes biographies, humor, fantasy novels and sometimes even light fiction, we have a lot of shared favorites. I also follow Valentin Radu, another friend and professional in digital marketing, who is always up to date with what is hot in terms of books in our industry and always check out his recommendations. And there are some international blogs and influencers I follow and I also check their recommendations. Also Goodreads is a nice source to get recommendations from friends and people in your network.
Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?
It is funny cause I am currently reading the books of Woody Allen – he is my favorite movie director and screenwriter of all times and I had no idea he wrote books. I am expecting to laugh a lot and reading his books (just like watching his movies) feels a lot like a very interesting and ironic conversation. I am in quite a stressful period – we are preparing GPeC SUMMIT November 14-15 – so a bit of good old Woody is just what I needed. And at the same time I read the new book of Eddie Izzard. So, yes, a funny time in my reading life.
Links where you can follow Raluca Radu or find out more about her projects:
Books mentioned by Raluca in this interview: