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CEO: Building a $400 Million Company from the Ground Up Paperback – Import, May 1, 1994


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Paperback, Import, May 1, 1994

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill (May 1, 1994)
  • ISBN-10: 0071035923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071035927
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,489,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't understand where all these negative reviews come from, we must have not been reading the same book. I'll address a few points.

This book is not meant as feminist advice. It is a book about personal struggle that just happens to be written by a woman. If you are a woman looking for self serving feminism seek elsewhere. The author barely touches the aspects related to her gender and does so in light of the way such matters affected her business. I was pleasantly surprised to see how well she managed to not make the story about "a girl against the world" even though it is easy to imagine how hard it must have been for a female software entrepreneur back in the 1970s.

The book is written as an autobiography focused on the development of the authors company, ASK, presented as a success story, and tastefully humanized with insight into the landmarks of her personal life as the business struggle takes place.

I have read several books on entrepreneurial success and I highly recommend this book as a good addition to anybody's collection. Don't expect heavy tactical advise, the essence of this book is its view of the CEOs personal life and the journey of developing a fresh eager sales agent into a seasoned CEO with precise instincts. The author takes us through the personal learning stages of how to deal with clients, successes, losses, negotiations, lawyers, family, merges, etc. For instance, another review attacked her "flinch method", I particularly consider it one of the highlights of the book. The author is not afraid to tell you that at first she didn't know how to price her software, and how she came up with the "flinch method" to find a way to negotiate her products in a time when the word software was synonym for lingerie.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
I'm CFO of a fairly new e-commerce company and all I can say is that I've wasted several hours of my life that I will never get back after reading her book. She continually and erroneously predicts the demise of the Internet, keep in mind this book was published in 1994! She also has a technique she refers to as the flinch test as a means of pricing her software, she says, "I told them that the price was 50 k" if they didn't flinch "per module" if they didn't flinch "per year." It's bad enough that she employed these tactics but she even had the audacity to publish this! I don't know about you, but I would be furious if was one of her customers. I would suggest "CEO Logic : How to Think and Act Like a Chief Executive" it's much more relevant and up to date.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is full of great advice for anyone starting a software company. It is also an interesting story. The negative reviews on this site to the effect that Sandra Kurtzig is some sort of vain egomaniac are just plain wrong. The book is NOT just for women. Its for anyone starting a high tech business.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book can be summed up as follows : Get as much for yourself as you possibly can while giving back as little as you possibly can. An unfortunate rework of the 80's ethic of justifiable selfishness in the name of "accepting the new realities" of the present. A few useful ideas (some lifted from other sources without attribution) combined with a lot of tips you could pick up from any number of less expensive and self-righteous books. The separation of ethics into two separate areas -business and personal - reminds me of the mentality of the old clipper ship captains that felt it was OK to pillage and rape while they were in the South Pacific; as long as they attended church and were good to their families when they were home. She's worse than a lawyer.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "context5" on April 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
I loved this book because it shows what it takes to start up and manage a business in a new niche -- forging relationships with early adopters and establishing alliances with industry giants. Sandra Kurtzig's personal story demonstrates how entrepreneurs succeed not by the quality of their product alone. Everyday decisions about employees, customers, alliances, board members, investments -- and the negotiations and timing of them -- contribute as much if not more to an organization's fate. The importance of listening to customers, seeking education and advice from others outside your business, and trusting your intuition are all lessons to be learned. Some earlier Amazon reviewers dissed this book because ASK declined in later years. These reviewers are missing the point. When Kurtzig stepped away from running day-to-day operations in 1985, after her father died and she desired a better work/life balance (as many people do after a close family member passes away), she faced a critical juncture in her business and perhaps mishandled planning her succession and exit strategy. Burnout is something about which all entrepreneurs need to be aware. I was inspired by her decision to return to ASK in 1989 and would be very interested in reading an addendum to the story.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
As a woman who is starting my own " Silicon valley startup" I am always on the lookout for material that is both helpful from a business perspective as well as empowering to women. This book provided neither of these things. It had the possibility of giving women who are running their own businesses an inspiring message to succeed but fell far short of this goal. Ms. Kurtzig's message to women is one that needs some serious debugging. E-benefits and Ask computing customers be wary!
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