Recent Entrepreneurship Readings…
Here is some of the recent stuff I have been reading:
The startup of you - Reid Hoffmann
Good book, but skewed towards promoting LinkedIn - it is a career enhancement book with tips and tricks on how to use LinkedIn embedded in the text. Cool to learn more about Reid and the company’s history.
I was blind but now I see - James Altucher
Not more than a funny weekend reader on leaving the corporate world and setting out on your own. Some cool tips and tricks, kind of like YC meets The 4-Hour Work Week
Jony Ive - Leander Kahney
Not very inspiring because i) Jony is not an entrepreneur and ii) the book talks little about the rationale behind Apple’s designs. But it is very cool as a way to understand the power of design thinking and having a design-centric organization.
Hatching Twitter - Nick Bolton
Again, more of an entertainment piece that will tell you the inside story on the founding of Twitter. Interesting because it may show you the downside of having too many co-founders, or ones about whom you know very little.
Supernova Advisor - Rob Knapp
Focused on wealth management, yes, but interesting as a tool to build relationship management teams in professional services’ firms.
Behind the Cloud - Marc Benioff
Meatier than the above. It is a cool resource to learn more about i) enterprise software, ii) SaaS and iii) alternative ways to acquire customers and market your company. Relates interestingly to my post below about Aaron Levie in how it inspired later SaaS companies in reverting the established logic of selling enterprise software to corporations.
The Launch Pad - Randall Stross
Very interesting. The book tells the story of a number of YC startups, and in the process explains to us outsiders how the accelerator works. It is very interesting to learn how this very nucleus of the Silicon Valley functions, and to understand a little bit about how B2C, consumer tech companies are born in a very systematic way. It is also almost comical how YC funds a number of very silly businesses (Rap Genius, anyone?) but makes some big hits every couple of batches.
YC is probably the greatest sign out there pointing to entrepreneurship becoming a competitor for talent against i-banking,
- The Everything Store: Brad Stone Here, a very inspiring book. Maybe the most inspiring entrepreneurship book I have ever read, because Bezos is probably the business leader I admire the most. Brad Stone describes in close details how strong a personality Bezos is, how he has made Amazon into a company that is driven by excellence in every way (maybe even too much), and how incredibly sophisticated this business is. Amazon has been, in my opinion, the ONLY successful e-tailer in the world, been able to consistently make money and remain in the forefront by being data-driven in all its corners, from picking to packing to A/B testing. That is the only way one can make money in such a brash, low-margin, low entry barrier business as e-commerce.