Friday, December 28, 2012

Founders At Work: Book Review

Author: Jessica Livingston

Length: 453 pages

What is It: An inside look at the creation of some of technology's most popular and most innovative startups, as told by the founders themselves through interviews. 

What's Said: Founders go through the evolution of their startups from conception to execution and often through exit. Difficulties, mistakes and setbacks are disclosed. Turning points and surprises of the businesses and their skills are discussed. Founders share times when they or their product were misjudged/misunderstood. The triumphs and tribulations of bootstrapping and funding are laid bare. Includes direct advice for potential entrepreneurs. Interviews are grouped by company and loosely ordered by relevance to previous interviews or technologies.

What's True: Founders tend to be product and user driven. Absolute persistence is a necessity. Adaptability and flexibility are key because nothing goes according to plan. Constraints on resources like time and money often spur creativity. Trust and culture are incredibly important between (1) startup founders, (1) + (2) first hires, and (1) + (3) active investors. Startups are very often built to solve personal problems or as vehicles for significant impact. Founders deliberately nurture incredible ideas, but they also simply stumble into them. Entrepreneurs create value from depth of experience as well as from naivety. Timing and luck are notable x-factors in the success or failure of a business. Good advice is not necessarily correlated with spectacular success, i.e. do not discount the startups/entrepreneurs you have not heard of.

So What: Each venture has its own solution that must be optimized for, but Founders at Work outlines very timely variables in the startup equation. Beyond the practical, FW can serve as a good motivational guide for frustrated, impatient or weary entrepreneurs. It humanizes these heroes who have often attained mythical qualities from afar (with some exceptions). By the end, Founders seems to ask the question, "Now that you know these things, what are you going to do about it?"

Final Word: Definite Read

No comments:

Post a Comment