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Bootstrap: Lessons Learned Building a Successful Company from Scratch Hardcover – September 15, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 301 pages
  • Publisher: S Curve Press (September 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971187304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971187306
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,747,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

An excellent reference for anyone wondering what it takes to be an entrepreneur. -- John Glynn, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Stanford Graduate School of Business

More than a how-to book, it is one of an entrepreneur's journey... -- John Neer, Executive, Lockheed Martin and former Founder, Space Imaging

More than a how-to book, it is one of an entrepreneur’s journey... -- John Neer, Executive, Lockheed Martin and former Founder, Space Imaging

Not your typical Silicon Valley venture capital story... -- Chuck McMinn, Founder and Chairman, Covad

Solid advice on every step of building a company, from developing a product to selling the company. -- Heidi Roizen, Managing Director, SOFTBANK Venture Capital

From the Author

What's it like to start a business from scratch? I found it to be intensely creative and stimulating -- so rewarding that I'm in the process of doing it again. Yet the very thought of leaving a job to start your own business scares many people. Should you start your own company? This book provides and insider's window into the process I went through, starting with a dream and ending years later with the sale of my company, Banner Blue Software, at a handsome price. As I built my business, I learned answers to these questions and many others. Ultimately, I did more right than wrong, for Banner went on to great success. I hope that by sharing what I learned, you can improve your chance of success and minimize your mistakes.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, for a multitude of reasons. Ken details the entrepreneur's issues when bootstrapping a company quite well (we bootstrapped our company also, and ran into many of the same problems). I enjoyed reading more about how Ken FELT while the company was growing. As an employee, you don't often know how the CEO feels about anything (Ken is good at controlling his emotions). Turns out he had similar feelings most entrepreneur's do when starting a company.
The book is engrossing and at times reads like a story. Sometimes it's hard to believe, but I know it happened because I had the fortune of living through part of it. I highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to be successful at building a company. I'm convinced that the "Banner Blue Way" is the way to run a company and run a short-term project. Many companies later, I'm still running things the way Ken would have done it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on February 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Kenneth Hess was the founder and President of Banner Blue Software which he took from a raw "bootstrap" startup and build it into an established company with a multimillion dollar annual sales record. Bootstrap: Lessons Learned Building A Successful Company From Scratch is the author's true story of successfully creating his viable business from scratch. Filled with risks, rewards, lessons learned the hard way and the fruits of up-close and personal inspiration, Bootstrap is an inspiring read filled with the wisdom that comes from earned experience. Strongly recommended reading for all entrepreneurs aspiring towards achieving corporate success with their own business enterprises, regardless of services furnished or products produced.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. Hendricks on February 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
An interesting book that would have been more useful had it delved into some of the 'mistakes' a bit more. Hess makes it all sound so simple, a straight, clear path that was always obvious to him. Any mistakes (like new products started and abandonded) are dealt with in a very cursory way. As the owner of a bootstrap software company I was hoping for more insight and to learn a thing or two. I was entertained (athough slightly irritated by some of it) but would not really recommend it other than as a bit of light reading. I bought this book because of the rave reviews on the Amazon site, but would have to say that overall I was disappointed. All those people who provided 5 star reviews clearly need to get out a bit more and read something of substance for a change!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Wish I would have read this book when I started my business.
Presents logical plan to act, rather than react, to the problems
or situations that a new business owner must confront to succeed.
A true guide to making a new business work
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Y. Malaika on June 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A story that talks as much about the satisfactions, disappointments, and inter-personality issues (both people-wise and corporate-wise) involved in starting a business as it does about strategy, finance, product development, and marketing. I found it very enjoyable to read and essentially filled cover to cover with insights and lessons learned. I would highly recommended it. Read other books to learn the details of running a business; Read this one to expose yourself to one man's hard-earned wisdom.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Funconomy on February 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a thoroughly insightful chronology of the author's journey from employee to technology start-up entrepreneur, and back around again (though substantially wealthier). Business tactics, mistakes, family life, and attendant emotions are the main topics.

I'd like to operate my own business someday and I've dog-eared numerous pages of this book to refer back to for insights like:

"A product's sales volume is like a rolling snowball. As the snowball tumbles along, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. In a similar fashion, having a higher sales volume at one retailer makes it all that much easier to obtain distribution at yet another retailer, further increasing sales. Higher volumes also make it more cost-effective to do sales promotions, which in turn increase sales. A collection of [mediocre] products would not have this snowball effect, but one single, strong product would."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Clouser on October 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Bootstrap: Lessons Learned in Building a Successful Company from Scratch by Ken Hess, a graduate of Stanford University (BS Engineering) and a Harvard University (MBA), is one of the best books out there for teaching entrepreneurship to nascent technology and creative entrepreneurs. While the book is a few years old now, this is true even today, especially considering the current financial environment, which is showing signs of a down market for either angel capital or venture capital for most start-up companies. Depending on the depth and length of the downturn, boostrapping will become an even more important subject, and thus I feel its important for me as an entrepreneurship educator to learn more about this strategy and find out who has written about it. Fortunately, I've had Ken's book on my radar for the last five years. If anyone has other books they can recommend to me as well, please do let me know -- or let us know. But as of yet I haven't found a better one than Ken's for what I'm trying to accomplish in the classroom.

I have been teaching entrepreneurship to MSc, Ph.D. and UG4 students at the University of Edinburgh now through the Edinburgh-Stanford Link programme for 4 years now. I have always recommended the book for optional reading, and for my second semester course for digital design MScs called "The Digital Marketplace", I have made the book required. In fact, I even invited Ken over to guest speak in my course! Fortunately he accepted :-). Because of the nature of these (student) ventures and the fact that most if not all will need to be bootstrapped, I feel it important to give the students a well rounded view, and a thorough case of how someone has done it.
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