Installation Tips

Transferring your book to Kindle. Here's the method I use: Using the links provided after you buy, download the .mobi version of Map the Future to your computer. Connect your Kindle to your computer using the USB cable that came with the Kindle. On your computer, open the Kindle icon, and drag the .mobi file into the Documents folder on the Kindle. For more information, and other ways to load the book, refer to Amazon’s Kindle support website.

Transferring your book to iPad or iPhone. There are several ways to add ebooks to an iPad or iPhone, but here’s one very simple approach: When you order Map the Future from my website, you’ll automatically be sent an e-mail with links to download the book. Open that e-mail on your iPad or iPhone and tap the link to download the book. This will open a browser window that lets you select which version of the book you want. Tap the link for the .epub version of Map the Future. Your device will display a button saying “Open in iBooks.” Tap that button, and Map the Future will automatically be transferred into iBooks.  It will be saved there; you don’t need to reopen the e-mail again to read the book.

For Android tablets and other ebook readers, the loading procedure depends on which device and which ebook reader app you’re using.  Please refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you can’t find the information you need, try doing a web search for the phrase “sideload ebook to [insert name of device or app you’re using]”

Excerpts from Map the Future

Map the Future ranges from broad concepts to very detailed how-to instructions. Here are two samples that give you an idea of how that works. The first one tells you how to collect information on competitors, and the second talks about the problems in using the demand curve to forecast product sales.

From Chapter 1. Competitive Analysis: Peeking Inside Your Competitor's Brain
This chapter gives you detailed instructions on how to gather and interpret competitive information, one of the pillars of a future roadmap. In this excerpt, I talk about some of the best sources of competitive information...

1.6 How to collect competitive information
Most books on competitive intelligence-gathering fall into one of two camps: structural analysis and espionage. Structural analysis looks at the forces affecting a company: its financial status, the structure of the market, the supply chain, etc. This is the perspective usually taught in business schools. This information is very valuable, although it tends to assume that all companies behave rationally in response to external pressures, something that I question. I’m not going to spend much time on structural analysis here because it has been so well discussed elsewhere.

The espionage approach is all about collecting information that’s not publicly available. The techniques range from well-accepted practices like sending a “secret shopper” to hear the sales pitch of your competitor, to CIA-style stunts like aerial surveillance, to distasteful (and potentially illegal) activities like going through your competitor’s trash. If you want to see the full list, I encourage you to get a competitive intelligence book from the library.

What I want to focus on here is a different set of techniques that help you understand a competitor’s thinking. If you’re trying to project the future, getting inside the heads of your competitors is mandatory – not so much to understand what they’re planning now, but to anticipate how they will react in the future. But I haven’t seen much literature on how to do it. I’ve found that a few basic, straightforward techniques give me what I need, without the risk of embarrassing the company if word gets out about them.

Hands-on product testing. This is the single most effective competitive analysis tool. Unfortunately, most companies I’ve worked with are shockingly bad at competitive testing – the employees rarely even touch a competitor’s product, let alone use it intensely. They are so wrapped up in their day to day jobs that they simply have no time for looking at other companies’ stuff.

The amount of hands-on testing you can do varies by industry, of course. I once worked with a software company that makes enterprise products – programs that are used by large companies to manage things like payroll and customer databases. The competitive analysts there told me they can’t do hands-on testing because the competitive products cost millions of dollars. I think that’s short-sighted. You should get creative: find one of their customers who’s willing to give you some hands-on time with the product, or send one of your analysts to a training class in the product.

Of course, there are cases in which you really can’t test a competitor’s product. For example, I’m not sure how someone in a pharmaceuticals company would fully test the competition’s products. Taking a few pills home to try out over the weekend doesn’t seem like a good idea.

In those cases, you should talk directly to people who do use the products. Never accept the consensus in the industry or the “buzz” online – the web is too often just an echo chamber of people repeating the ill-informed comments of a few noisy cranks. Get first-hand, real-world experience with the competition whenever you can.

You learn a lot from hands-on product work. First, you’ll spot the competition’s advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages you tell to marketing, the advantages you show to engineering. Embarrass the engineers a little with the nice points of a competitive product, and challenge them to do better (if they’re good engineers it won’t take much to get them cranked up).

You may also find some opportunity areas where your products could be much better than the competition’s, if only you made one or two simple changes. It’s very important to communicate this sort of low-hanging fruit to the product people aggressively. Don’t assume the opportunities will be self-evident; the product managers don’t have the same background as you and so they may not get the same insights.

Testing is important not just because you learn how you stack up competitively, but because it helps you understand the thinking of your competitor. Like people, most companies have distinct personalities that make them act in predictable ways. A small company usually carries the personality of its founder. A larger company will usually carry some residue of the founder’s personality, plus others that have been grafted into it. If the company has been built through mergers, it may have several competing personalities inside – in other words, it may be schizophrenic.

A company’s product decisions reflect its thinking. As you work with the product, ask yourself some questions:

—What sort of user are they targeting? Is the user well defined? Are they designing for themselves, or for a particular person?

—How well integrated is the product? Is it easy to set up and learn? Do its features work well together? For example, in the mobile phone market, it’s a common sin to stuff a phone with apps that don’t work well together, or with hardware features that don’t really work with the installed software. What does that tell you about the company’s internal planning and organization?

—Look at the packaging and marketing. Do they target a particular person and problem, or do they just talk about the product?

—How does their pricing fit with the product and marketing? Are they trying for a premium price? If so, what do they do (if anything) that justifies that price?

—What assumptions are they making about the customer’s background and skills? Can a new customer figure out how to use it? That may not matter for a piece of heavy equipment sold with training, but in that case you want to ask how the training fits with the product. Is it an afterthought? A core benefit? A profit center for the manufacturer?

If you do the right sort of testing, you’ll get a window into how your competitor thinks and what motivates them.

For example, Microsoft’s products give an endless essay on its thinking and motivations. From the 1990s until 2012, it designed most of its core software products for power users of Microsoft Windows. The software’s look, and the way the user interface worked, all reflected the assumption that the user was already comfortable with Windows.

Generally this was a good assumption, since Windows has such dominant share in personal computers. But it became a handicap when Microsoft started dealing with other categories of product. Many of the design elements of Windows (created for a large screen and a mouse) did not work well on a cellphone (small screen and no mouse). Microsoft struggled with this issue for more than a decade, repeatedly shipping products that forced smartphones to work like Windows. To a competitive analyst, those products were a billboard saying “Microsoft’s internal thinking is dominated by the PC mindset.”

After a decade of failure, in 2012 the company finally gave up and redesigned Windows to work more like a smartphone. That product, Windows 8, has not been a raging commercial success as I write this, but it was very significant because it meant Microsoft’s mindset had finally changed, and therefore that we could expect different behavior from Microsoft in the future.

Nokia’s struggles in smartphones were another great example. For years, Nokia created the world’s most elegant mobile phones. They were usually both more beautiful and more durable than competitors, a difficult combination. Nokia once invited me to a publicity event in which it wined and dined bloggers and passed its latest phones around the table. I remember spending five minutes opening and closing the keyboard on a new Nokia smartphone so I could feel the incredibly nice way the hinge worked. The keyboard didn’t just unfold, it snapped out with a subtle click. But despite the complexity of the hinge, it never felt loose or unsteady. If you know hardware, that’s a remarkable accomplishment.

Yet as soon as I started trying to use the software on the phone, I wanted to throw it out the window. The device was very awkward to use, but what’s worse, there were bugs and missing features.

Nokia was a hardware company in a phone market that had been dominated by hardware features. The selling points for a next-generation mobile phone were almost always hardware: does it have a camera built in, does it have a color screen, etc. Software was just the glue that made the hardware work. Nokia succeeded for many years because it played the hardware game better than anyone else: it turned out lots of phones with great durability, on time, and very competitive pricing. And its designs were, as I mentioned, often very elegant.

But when companies like Apple and BlackBerry shifted the value in phones toward software, Nokia’s advantages became handicaps. The rigid development process needed to produce dozens of phone models a year was an impediment to software developers, who tend to be more fluid and exploratory. Nokia’s strict development deadlines, essential when you’re shipping millions of phones that go obsolete within months, forced the company to sometimes ship phones with unfinished or buggy software.

That pattern of thoughtful hardware and thoughtless software led directly to Nokia’s struggles in the smartphone market, and opened the door to Apple’s success.

It’s hard to believe that you could learn all of that from a few minutes of product testing, but it was blindingly clear in Nokia’s products if you knew what to look for.

Sometimes what you learn from hands-on testing isn’t easy to describe, it’s just a feeling for how the company thinks and operates. But that impression will be immensely helpful as you try to predict the competitor’s actions in the future.

Watch your competitors talk.
It’s surprising how much you can learn about a company’s thinking by watching its executives talk. Try to attend executive speeches – live when you can, or on video when necessary. Pay attention to not just their messages but also the way they’re delivered: everything from body language to choice of words to clothing. When Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, wore a hoodie to his meetings with Wall Street financial firms, the analysts said it was a sign of immaturity. I disagree; I think it was honesty. Zuckerberg’s hoodie said more about his attitude toward quarterly earnings than a stack of financial filings two inches thick.

Interviews will be more useful to you than canned speeches, because they’re unscripted. Google is a great example. Google CEO Larry Page is notoriously reclusive for a CEO, rarely speaking in public, and allowing Chairman Eric Schmidt to be the company’s main spokesman. This has led to a lot of confusion in the tech industry about Page’s long-term plans, and about the relationship between Schmidt and Page. Although Page was Google’s founding CEO, investors convinced him to allow the far more experienced (and older) Schmidt to run the company from 2001 to 2011, after which Page took over again as CEO and Schmidt was chairman. There were occasional reports of tension and disagreements between Page and Schmidt, but because Google is so secretive, it was hard to determine what was really happening.

Video interviews shed some interesting light on the relationship. In 2002, a year after Schmidt came into Google, he and Page took questions from a live audience as part of an entrepreneurship program at Stanford University. In the video of that talk, Schmidt repeatedly interrupts Page, framing his comments and correcting things Page has said. I think Page looks very frustrated at times.

Fast forward to 2011, when Page took over again as CEO. He immediately reorganized Google, and purchased mobile phone maker Motorola Mobility for about $13 billion. The purchase shocked many observers, but it was in character given Page’s history. In 2000, a year before Schmidt came in as CEO, Page was interviewed on video by the Academy of Achievement, which asked him about the handicaps of being a CEO at age 27. Page replied:

“If you manage people for 20 years, or something like that, you pick up things. So I certainly lack experience there, and that's an issue. But I sort of make up for that, I think, in terms of understanding where things are going to go, having a vision about the future, and really understanding the industry I am in.”

Connect the dots: Page calls himself a visionary at age 27, and then spends the next 10 years in a sometimes frustrating apprenticeship. When he finally takes over, should we be at all surprised that he makes bold moves? I think we should expect more of the same in the future.

Read their books. If a competitor’s employees write books or blogs, those can also be a useful source of insight. Blogs by typical employees can be very helpful for learning a company’s culture and decision-making, and sometimes you can piece together insights on what a company is working on by comparing the things written in various employee blogs.

Executive blogs are a little harder to interpret. They’re often ghost-written by a PR person, and so may be full of marketing fluff. But over time, most companies end up believing the stories that they tell about themselves. Besides, even if something is ghost-written, the executive usually is involved in the choice of topics and language, so you’ll still get a window into the company’s thinking.

Once in a while you’ll pick up a real gem. In 1986, retired IBM VP of Marketing F. G. “Buck” Rodgers wrote a book called The IBM Way. It’s a tribute to the IBM selling process, and even today you can pick up some interesting techniques from it. But far more important is what it said about IBM’s culture at the time. In the introduction, Rogers promised to “expose the heart and soul of IBM.” That raised the question of whether the book would aid IBM’s competitors. Rogers wrote:

“If because of this book other companies increase their level of productivity and profit, we all will benefit. And if competitors improve their operation and make an effort to close the gap, IBM will feel the heat and enjoy the challenge.”

Nothing could better communicate the self-assured sense of invulnerability that permeated IBM in the mid-1980s. Read that quote and you’ll start to understand why Microsoft and Intel were able to steal the PC market from IBM...

The section goes on to discuss other techniques, including going on sales calls, gathering information at conferences, and filtering online information.

From Chapter 7: “Are We There Yet?” Knowing When You’ve Crossed the Chasm
In this chapter, part of the advanced techniques section of Map the Future, I discuss the difficulties in using the “demand curve” to project your company’s sales...

7.4 Which demand curve are you on?

Many high tech products are flexible, and can be used for multiple purposes. The Internet’s a great example – its first mainstream use was for transferring e-mail. Then it was used for browsing information. As the new medium grew, companies created additional uses for it – sharing music, shopping, video, and so on. If you’re a company selling Internet access or Internet hardware it’s almost impossible to plot Internet demand on a single curve. Instead, your demand is a composite of a lot of different curves – one for e-mail, one for music, one for videoconferencing, etc. Some of those curves are probably saturated (e-mail). Others are still in the early adopter stage.

In the case of PCs, demand went through several curves as different uses for the PC emerged. PCs started mostly as appliances for word processing and spreadsheets. Desktop publishing came along in the late 1980s and created a new surge in demand. Games, multimedia, and the Internet drove much higher penetration of PCs into homes in the 1990s. Other applications have created their own smaller surges in demand along the way.

Looking back at the development of the market, it’s easy to see how these overlapping demand curves worked, but at the time it was very hard to predict them. For example, in the mid-1980s it was very easy to predict that PC sales would soon plateau, as usage of spreadsheets and word processing saturated. In reality, a new wave of growth was about to start.

Today it looks like PC sales have saturated, and tablets are the new growth area. But will they take over the PC market, or just pieces of it? And how big will the tablet market grow?

No one knows.

Although multiple usages are commonplace in high tech products, they’re not unheard-of elsewhere. For example, as low-carb diets took off, beef and eggs became diet food for some people.

Let me show you what those overlapping demand curves look like when you chart your sales:

The chart above shows the overlapping adoption curves of a hypothetical product with multiple usages. The first usage gets the product launched. After a few years, it becomes a popular gift item, producing a huge but short-lived surge in sales. The third, most popular, usage doesn’t emerge until years later.

Here’s what those three adoption curves would do to the sales of our hypothetical product. At any point on the curve, it’s extremely difficult to predict what will happen next. In this case, I have imagined a happy outcome for the company and its investors–they are patient enough to get to the third wave of growth. In reality, most companies today make savage resource cuts at the point I’ve labeled “panic,” and wouldn’t have enough money to fund the next wave of growth. You must understand your market segments, and where you stand in each one of them, or this sort of demand hiccup can easily cripple your company.

You might think those charts are just theoretical and don’t happen in the real world. But check out this classic chart, which was created by the US Federal Reserve in the late 1990s to show the adoption rates of some of the most important consumer technologies in the US:

This chart shows the real adoption curve for various products into American households over time. Although most people look at this chart and take away the lesson that eventually everything goes up, you have to keep in mind that this chart shows only the winners. It doesn’t show the adoption curves for, say, digital watches or 8-track tape players. But even if you do focus only on the winners, I think the most striking thing about the chart is how many glitches and reversals there are in the curves. All the lines do eventually go up, if you’re willing to wait 100 years. But if you were actually living at a particular point on one of those curves, you couldn’t reliably predict the size and timing of future growth. For example, imagine yourself as a telephone executive about 55 years after the invention of the phone. Telephone penetration has been dropping for the last five years, and is now back down to where it was twenty years ago. Would you predict that it was about to start going up again? What would shareholders do to an executive making a prediction like that today?

When I was working at Palm, we had a terrible time figuring out where we were on the adoption curve for PDAs. When we researched our customers, we found a situation that diffusion theory says shouldn’t exist. Our penetration into early adopters of technology products was okay but not very high. A lot of early adopters were still thinking about buying our products. This should have meant we were still in the early stages of growth.

But many of the people who were already using our products looked like mainstream and late adopters of technology. You’re supposed to get those people after you saturate the early adopters. So how could they possibly be using our products while most of the early adopters hadn’t bought yet?

I think two things were going on. The first is that there were two demand curves for PDAs. One demand curve was for the use of a mobile device to track your calendar and address book. In that market, we were well past the early adopter stage, and in fact were approaching saturation. There are only so many people in the world who are so obsessive about their calendars that they want an electronic tool to track them, and most of those folks had already bought. That’s why there were so many technology late adopters in the installed base.

But the second use of a mobile device is more generalized information management. Add software, and a mobile can become a medical database for doctors, or a flight computer for a pilot. In the early 2000s, Palm had tens of thousands of such apps, covering almost any vertical market or hobby. But the add-in software was hard to find and no app store was bundled with the devices. The growth in awareness of these programs was much slower than the growth in calendar and address book, so the second demand curve was still in the early adopter stage.

The applications market became a driver of iPhone sales many years later. Palm was tantalizingly close to unlocking that much larger market, but didn’t recognize the opportunity.

The second factor complicating the demand curve was that during the bubble years around 2000, handhelds became a popular gift item. Gifts don’t follow the normal adoption curve. Instead, they’re driven by fashion and herd thinking. The fashion cycle moves very quickly – a hot gift one year is likely to be a doorstop a couple of years from now. Explosive growth in gift purchases of Palm handhelds made the market look much bigger and more mature than it really was.

Looking back, after the fact, it’s possible to tease apart all of these threads and see how they fit together. At the time, it was almost impossible to see. Palm was widely hailed by market experts as a case study of a company that had successfully “crossed the chasm” and was selling to a mass market. The analysts were exuberantly predicting sales would rise from 10 million units a year to more than 60. It was very hard not to get caught up in that exuberance – especially when some of our research seemed to support it.

Unfortunately, in the real world PDA demand plateaued at about 20 million units a year and then collapsed. Palm missed its sales forecasts, cut back on its investments, and eventually lost the smartphone market...

To see the full Table of Contents, click here.

To purchase Map the Future, see "Buy it Now" in the sidebar at right.

Comments on Map the Future

“Highly recommend @michaelmace new book "Map the Future." Its a great "how-to" on biz strategy. #nofluff”
—Michael Gartenberg @Gartenberg  Research Director, Consumer Services and Applications, Gartner Group

“I've been reading an early copy of @michaelmace's book on biz strategy - it's extremely practical, 'how to build a dept that works' stuff.”
—Avi Greengart @greengart Research Director for Consumer Devices, Current Analysis

“Whether you are building a new team at a startup or managing an existing business in a large organization, Map the Future is essential reading. Mike’s years of front line experience in Silicon Valley are encapsulated in a practical guide to maximizing your chance of success in rapidly changing markets. Map the Future reminds us to stay focused on the fundamentals – customers, competition and technology trends. Mike provides the frameworks and tools to help us deeply understand our markets. Ultimately, our job as managers is to apply good judgment and make decisions. Map the Future will sit on my desk for years to come as an invaluable guide to help me make good decisions about the future. 
Tom Powledge, VP and General Manager, Symantec Corporation

“If your company needs to think about the future – and today, EVERY company needs to think about the future – then Mike’s book is the essential guidebook to have by your side while you do it. Even if you can’t revolutionise your organisation, your teams, and your activities overnight, there are plenty of small steps you can take today to help you plot a wiser course into an uncertain future. Map the Future explains the small steps and the big ones in a clear, compelling and convincing narrative that’s fun to read, too. I wish all the business guidebooks I've read were as good as this one. Hell, I wish ANY of them were."
—Matt Bacon, Deputy Director, Device Strategy and Communication, Orange-France Telecom Group

Map the Future provides vivid reminders that we technology forecasters have a lousy record of seeing what’s just beyond the horizon. I frequently chuckled at the missteps described, with more than a twinge of recognition. But it also provides highly practical suggestions for how we can improve our game. Even before finishing the book, I had written a stream of emails to my professional colleagues, making suggestions for new approaches in our projects, based on the examples I had just read. It’s a book that should be read by all technology forecasters, roadmappers, and futurists.”
—David W. Wood, Technology Planning Lead, Accenture Mobility

Map the Future is your cookbook for developing a strong roadmap and strategy. It's a must have for technology product managers. I wish I'd had a guide like Map the Future when I started my career."
—Gina Clark, Vice President & General Manager, Integrated Collaboration Group, Cisco Systems, Inc.

Map the Future is a landmark guidebook for forward-thinking executives and strategy consultants. Michael Mace offers a uniquely rigorous and robust framework for informing product and technology decisions. How to integrate the roles and processes is an ephiphany I wish I could have had a decade earlier in my career.”
—Martin Geddes, Founder & Principal, Martin Geddes Consulting Ltd.

Map the Future is an indispensable complement to all the executive strategy guides and market research manuals overflowing airport bookstores everywhere because it not only provides a new set of competitive techniques, it also shows how to make them work within today's leaner, faster organizations.”
—Craig Froehle, Ph.D., Professor, Lindner College of Business, University of Cincinnati

To purchase Map the Future, see "Buy it Now" in the sidebar at right.

Lessons Learned: Formatting an Ebook

Writing was the easy part. Although it took me years, writing Map the Future was relatively straightforward because I was in control: If I didn’t like something, I could change it, and control the results precisely.

Things got frustrating when I started trying to format the book for publication. I had this stereotype in my head that I could produce an ebook the same way as I’d produce a PDF file: hit “save as” in Microsoft Word. That turned out to be horribly naive. You can fairly easily produce a bad-looking ebook that’s text-only, but if you want to use anything other than plain text (footnotes, illustrations, tables, unusual formatting), things rapidly become mind-numbingly complex. 

I was lucky in that I found two resources that helped me learn.  APE, the e-publishing how-to book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch, taught me how the e-publishing ecosystem works and pointed me toward several useful tools. It’s well worth buying. The second resource was, a discussion forum on everything e-publishing. I used it to research particular problems I ran into during the formatting process. Generally someone on Mobile Read had already answered my question.

Despite this help, I ended up spending about a month part-time dinking around with various tools and formatting approaches for Map the Future, going down numerous blind alleys and learning through repeated failure. I’d like to spare other people some of that pain, so here’s a summary of what I learned:

1. Ebook file formats are primitive and mutually incompatible. The leading formats are PDF, mobi (used by Kindle) and epub (used by most other book readers). Microsoft Word can export directly only to PDF. For the other two, you have to export to an intermediate format and then convert to mobi or epub.

PDF lets you control the exact appearance of your book, including font choice and size, page breaks, headers, footnotes, etc.  The other formats are more like suggestions; the ebook reader software feels free to override you choices on font, text size, etc. Handling of graphics can also vary enormously, headers and footers are not allowed, and footnotes are handled very badly.

2. As suggested by APE, you can’t just use one master Word file and convert it to all three formats.  Instead, you need to create one master for PDF, which you can format precisely, and a second master for the e-formats, which you tweak to accommodate their limitations.

3. For ebook format, replace footnotes with hyperlinks. Footnotes work badly in the e-formats. The superscripting of the footnote adds extra space between the lines of text that include the footnote, and looks terrible. Instead, indicate your footnote with a good old asterisk * and use Word’s Hyperlink feature to link that asterisk to the text of your footnote. Put each footnote on a separate page at the back of the book. The nice thing about this is that you don’t have to number the footnotes, since each one is linked to directly.

4. Render all your graphics as high-resolution images.  I saved all of mine as 200-dpi PNG files and then placed them in the text using Word.  This seems to produce fairly smooth-looking graphics in the finished book. Before I learned to do this, I ended up with some terrible-looking graphics: jagged, blurry, etc.

5. Convert tables to graphics. Sometimes tables work well in ebooks, but it’s like playing the lottery. You’re safer if you make them into graphics.

6. Use styles for all the formatting. I’m used to setting fonts, line spacing, and other characteristics directly with Word’s formatting controls. This is a problem in ebooks because all of those individual formatting commands can easily go wrong. Instead, use styles. Chapter headings are Heading 1, subchapters are Heading 2. Body text is Normal. Create new styles for anything else you want to format (I created styles for bulleted lists and indented text, for example). You can use the normal Word commands to do italic and bold, but for everything else you are safest if you use styles.

Using styles makes it easier for the ebook formats to detect the structure of your book, and makes it easier for you to make global changes when changing your formatting between PDF and the other formats.

7. My conversion workflow was as follows: Save from Word to HTML Filtered format. Then use Calibre (an ebook management program) to convert the HTML file to epub. In Calibre, attach the cover image and author information. Then choose Convert books. Under Table of Contents, set level one of the TOC to h1, and level 2 to h2. In Structure Detection, set breaks to h1.

After you have created the epub file, open it with Sigil (an epub editing program) and choose Tools : Validate Epub. This will give you a list of the HTML commands created by Microsoft Word in its conversion process that are not acceptable in the epub standard. In most cases, they will be tags that you can safely delete. Fix the errors and revalidate until there are no more errors. Then save and return to Calibre.

In Calibre, convert to mobi format. Then use Amazon's Kindle Previewer to check the conversion.

This process will not be survivable unless you have some technical skills. You don’t have to be a programmer, but you must be at least a little comfortable with HTML. I find it outrageous and irresponsible that the tech industry has not made it easier for authors to create ebooks. We pontificate long and loud about empowering people to do great things, then don't bother to carry out the simple basic steps needed to enable a normal person to actually do it. I am embarrassed on behalf of my industry.

8. The alternative to the sort of workflow I described above is to either hire somebody to do the conversion for you, or flow the document into Adobe’s InDesign, which does a more automatic job of conversion. I tried InDesign but dropped it because it messed up many of the styles I had carefully created in Word. 

APE gives more advice on both of those options.

After doing all of this stuff, I have finally reached the point where my book looks fairly good in PDF, mobi, and epub.  I have a nasty feeling that I’m going to learn more hard lessons as time goes on; when I do, I’ll update this post.

Good luck with your ebook, and feel free to post questions and suggestions.