Entrepreneur Journeys Volume 1
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on November 19, 2008
There is no shortage of books covering the entrepreneurial experience. "Entrepreneur Journeys" takes a pragmatic and fascinating approach interviewing successful entrepreneurs. Asking with finesse the perfect questions Sramana Mitra goes straight into their soul to unveal the essence of how they did it, and how serial entrepreneurs reinvent themselves time and again with new ventures.

Reading story after story is like deep diving into different worlds, each with its own flavor, business models, challenges, landmines, mistakes, problem solving, lessons learned, and lasting impacts.

"Entrepreneur Journeys" is engaging, inspiring, provoking, and loaded with takeaways.

I appreciate in particular this one: "To create a big company you need a really big problem to solve". Sramana gives great examples:

* Create a global community of teachers, students, and parents.
* One-stop site for overall travel planning, including airlines, hotels/best rooms, restaurants, events, shopping, ratings, social networks ... all based on the user context to provide relevant information.
* Facilitate matching employers and candidates, while improving the current cumbersome candidate experience.
* Create a global scan of computer networks and reporting.

You will also take a trip into Google vulnerabilities, and how Zoho, 100% bootstrapped, with 8 people in the Silicon Valley and 600 engineers in India is challenging Microsoft Office and [...]

I highly recommend "Entrepreneur Journeys" to everyone willing to think broad.

Thanks Sramana, looking forward to the upcoming volumes.
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'Entrepreneur Journeys' is a collection of thought provoking, well-rounded interviews that should be in every aspiring entrepreneur's book-shelf. In her own inimitable style, Ms.Mitra navigates the conversations to bring out the obstacles, struggles and failures that have led to each of the success stories featured in the book.

The interviews themselves are very entertaining autobiographical accounts. More importantly, the author's goal is to teach and nurture entrepreneurs. By categorizing the conversations, she easily drives home the lessons she wishes to impart - some key entrepreneurial takeaways. The featured stories truly take us on small journeys. Much like a memorable trip, each story leaves behind a lasting effect and drills lessons that will get embedded into our system, our way of thinking. This is the book's strength - stories and not lengthy discourses stay in our minds.

For those unfamiliar with Ms.Mitra's work, and for others who cherish books over blogs, 'Entrepreneur Journeys' brings to your coffee table, the essence of her thinking and the power of her writings. For sceptics who do not believe in her rhetoric about mentorship, the nuggets you gather from this book will demonstrate the efficacy of being guided - in this case by the book itself.

Summary: Entrepreneur Journeys is very effective and efficient! I'll look forward to the next one.
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on August 2, 2009
I wrote this review in August 2009, when I was just Sramana's fan. In full disclosure, I am now working for the 1M/1M Initiative and 1M/1M Premium Program that Sramana launched in late December 2010.....

There are a lot of smart how-to books and blogs written on entrepreneurship. I read daily. I always learn something new, or at least refresh some old rules I already know.

But I can't name a book that I read lately that introduced me to a solid system of business thinking, in a way Sramana's Entrepreneur Journeys.

I mentor start-ups in Miami, Florida and I always refer them to Sramana's writing, along with Paul Graham's Essays of YCombinator's fame.

If you are an entrepreneur,you can turn this book into a very practical how-to guide.

Don't just read it. Read a chapter, write key points, see if you can extrapolate the ideas and apply them to your own business. It is like having a mentor in your pocket.

Hold a table discussions with your buddies based on this book. Argue, if you have to. It is a wonderful brainstorm starter.

From my experience many young start ups look for easy steps or lists of things to do or some magic. This book is only a half of magic, the other half is your brain. Put them together and you'll be way ahead.

It is 2:50 am in Miami.. I will probably add more to this review tomorrow...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2009
Entrepreneur's Journey goes into the depths of each founder's life, their motivation, continued driving forces and describes in great details their unique technical, business and marketing challenges. When I started reading the book I mentally compared it to the "Founders at Work" in which entrepreneurs are similarly interviewed. One will see however that the author of this book successfully poses very probing questions - that clearly displays a knowledge of technology and business and therefore helps engage the reader very actively, coercing them into analyzing the pros and cons of each decisions during the journey. It was a great read for my analytical mind that refuses to easily accept a decision choice without being explained the complex personal and marketing choices that went into it.
(I found it interesting that the first two stories were interconnected - with respect to the optical communication meltdown !)
The book is very current in terms of the technology and trends it refers to. It is also very useful to young entrepreneurs like me to help learn more about the evolution of technology and industry (and consolidations) in the last twenty thirty years.
In this book one learns a lot about company culture, cost cutting, humility .. even the value of extreme skiing in entrepreneurship !
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I have been fortunate to have known Sramana since 1999.

We met when I was involved with the MIT Alumni Assn.
Even though I did not attend MIT, Sramana, who was on the events committee, was kind enough to welcome me aboard so that I could become involved.

Sramana has always been a unique voice with regards to her views on technology. This book is an example of her deep understanding, personal and inquisitive interviewing style and ability to share information with those who can appreciate the efforts she makes.

In my business, Executive Search, it is essential for me to understand many different technologies. As I read the book it became clear that someone like me who works from a 10,000 foot view can quickly absorb the information Sramana provides even though she understands technology an inch above the keyboard.

I am looking forward to reading more of Sramana's work as it becomes available. And am now planning to be a regular visitor of her website.

This book will be valuable for any aspiring entrepreneur seeking inspiration...

Kudos, Sramana, on a very valuable and informative piece of work! You are one-of-a-kind!
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on November 16, 2008
Sramana Mitra invites readers to be transported as they curl up with her book of "short stories". Like any good stories, Mitra's interviews with entrepreneurs from around the world are absorbing and entertaining, but they never lose sight on one of the book's premises: the transformative power of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneur Journeys is organized into sections such as Taking on Giants, Disrupting Business Models and Tackling Planet Scale Problems, and the entrepreneurs featured wield this power not only to create wealth but also to improve key aspects of people's lives. One of Mitra's stated aims for the book is to demystify entrepreneurship, and her conversations with these entrepreneurs achieve this aim by rendering their challenges on a human scale. Readers see how others solved problems like starting a business with very little money or convincing disbelievers. They also benefit from always watching two entrepreneurs - Mitra and her interview partner - at work, generating ideas or even just talking shop.
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on December 21, 2008
"Entrepreneur Journeys 1" is the must-have book and a perfect gift for a budding entrepreneur or an entrepreneurship enthusiast. In this book, the author Sramana Mitra presents engaging narratives of successful entrepreneurs who built disruptive businesses with minimal funding, met unaddressed consumer needs, and even tackled planet-size problems - through good old entrepreneurship. Sramana also provides insights into the latest technology trends such as Web 3.0, software as a service, and vertical search engines. Overall, I highly recommend "Entrepreneur Journeys 1".
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on November 17, 2008
This book contains an excellent sampling of interviews of top innovative and successful entreprenuers. Rather than being a series of "pat you on the back" interviews, they are truly mentorship interviews. It is as if you were sitting down directly with these individuals and getting a mentorship session from them. You learn the good and bad. I find their mistakes to be just as valuable as their successes. The interviews are technically oriented, but the business practices are universal... (ie, the value of boostrapping).
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2009
Truly inspirational book... Every journey will ignite your entrepreneurial spirit... Great Insights...

Well structured format: set the context, background of the entrepreneur, their current venture, the marketplace, their challenges and their success factors.

Each journey is unique; Sramana Mitra has clearly captured the insights in each journey.

A must-read book for every entrepreneur.
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on November 20, 2008
Sramana Mitra has writtten a great book that works well in our present economic environment. Wonderful examples and loads of helpful answers to some of the most challenging situations facing entrepeneurs. Sramana has provided a working framework in this book that all readers should benefit from. Highly recommend.
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