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Smartups: Lessons from Rob Ryan's Entrepreneur America Boot Camp for Start-Ups Paperback – September 19, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0801488313 ISBN-10: 0801488311 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (September 19, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801488311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801488313
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #861,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A very readable book for the high-tech entrepreneurial wanna-be or for anyone interested in what it takes to be successful in the high-tech venture capital system. The case studies and real-life examples provide fascinating examples of how to do it right, and why so many start-ups never get off the ground."—Craig Barrett, CEO, Intel

"Rob is a walking reality check for entrepreneurs. . . . He pushes really hard and pulls no punches. Rob was a key driver in helping LookSmart emerge from a dire financial crisis to a two-billion-dollar public company in less than two years—his results speak for themselves."—Evan Thornley, CEO, LookSmart

"A must-read for venture capitalists, angel investors, and small capitalization investors. Rob captures the essence of successful investing. He articulates both the discipline and the decision-making process that are necessary in order for companies to be successful in this highly competitive environment."—Ken Siebel, Managing Director, U. S. Trust Company

"Rob Ryan's book is a no-nonsense guide to starting a company. His real-life examples focus on what it takes to develop a profit-generating company, and his view of the role of technology in a venture's success is particularly insightful."—Harold Craighead, Charles Lake Professor of Engineering, Codirector of the Nanobiotechnology Center, and former Dean of Engineering, Cornell University

"In its depth, wisdom, and futuristic insight, Rob's bootstrap philosophy gave us the tools to execute our vision. Rob challenged us to discover our true value proposition for customers and investors. Rob is the true start-up guru!"—Ben Weisshaut, Blue Market

About the Author

Rob Ryan is founder of Ascend Communications. Shortly after taking the company public, Ryan retired from Ascend and started Entrepreneur America from his 1,000-acre ranch in Montana.



David J. BenDaniel is Don and Margi Berens Professor of Entrepreneurship at Cornell University.


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Customer Reviews

This book is also a fun read.
John F. Holt IV
I'd recommend this book for anyone thinking about starting a business and wants a how-to guide from someone who has successfully build a large company from scratch.
Jane Doe
This book takes a pragmatic, no-BS approach to high-tech startups.
Brad Treat

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Dr. R on November 20, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is nothing more than a renamed paperback version of Rob's 2001 "Entrepreneur America: Lessons from Inside Rob Ryan's High-Tech Start-Up Boot Camp". The origional book gets a 5 star rating from me. (...)this was promoted as a new book, not a new printing with a different name. If you already have the earlier edition, don't waste your money on this one. If you don't, buy it and learn from Rob. My criticism is the lack of disclosure that this is a reprint and the false expectations that were built from the advertising that this actually offered new content from an author I greatly respect and will automatically purchase any of his new books.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "robertinseattle" on June 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the newly released paperback version of Rob Ryan's earlier Entrepreneur America book. Great basic advice from a guy born in the Bronx and nurtured in the Valley who wnet on to found Ascend. Ryan pulls no punches in leading the reader (and his select entrepreneurs) on asking the hard questions about their ideas, companies and products to determine a core value propostion (and if there is one!). Definitely a must-read for anyone wanting to start a new business regardless of whether you've done it once or ten times! (So where's my autographed edition, Rob?)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gregg Favalora on October 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
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This is one heck of an instruction guide for entrepreneurs.
I own the first edition of this book by Rob Ryan; it's on our bookshelf at work. My friends have it. Our PR firm has it. They recommend it at MIT.
Now, I'm a biased reviewer, and am proud of it: the author is a mentor and Chairman of my company. I've known Rob since 1997, and earnestly believe that he is uniquely qualified to give hands-on advice to entrepreneurs, through his experience at Ascend (which he founded & took public, and was sold to Lucent in a deal valued at $24 billion) - and through leading and/or mentoring Silicon Spice (which was acquired by Broadcom for $1+ billion), Mimio/Virtual Ink, PatientKeeper, and Actuality Systems.
Rob is the principal of what could best be termed an entrepreneurial bootcamp in southwestern Montana. Typical bootcampers arrive as bewildered techies, like I was, and leave with real direction on:
+ Validating markets for their products
+ How (at the mundane operational level) to contact sales prospects
+ How to structure a clear, logical VC/angel presentation
+ How to build an IP fortress
And, once they've raised funding,
+ How to build a board of directors and run useful meetings
+ How to sell product
+ How to build their companies by identifying additional "petals" on the sunflower (in the book, too.)
_Smartups_ distills Rob's legendary bootcamp advice into a practical manual for success. It is full of real-life examples culled from his own startups, short quizzes, actual PowerPoint slides of his IPO presentation, and real Board of Directors Meeting minutes.
Any reviewer willing to publicly state his name is going out on a limb. Please take it from me that Smartups is a clear, no-bull, field manual for entrepreneurial operations. I completely recommend it without reservation.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Russ Fletcher on March 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you're an entrepreneur or you think you can spell entrepreneur, you should read this book. His incredible success at guiding his own company and then several other multi-billion dollar companies is a unique opportunity for wanna-bes to learn the real secret to the keys to the goldmine.

I have the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs but have found that we get a heck of a lot more done if they first read SMARTUPS. Their ability to see how real companies are developed and grow is increased exponentially.

This book should be a required reading at every college and university that strives to teach entrepreneurship or leadership. The students deserve to know how the real world works and that just a 75 page business plan is not the way to really develop and grow an idea into a real company.

I also have the pleasure of knowing Rob and am thrilled that he's released a great new website [...] (the videos are worth their weight in gold) and that he's working on a new book that will help entrepreneurs understand why too many continue to focus on the wrong lamposts. I hope it's going to focus on the Sunflower model.

Can't wait for the new book. The folks I work with will be reading two books... On behalf of the successful entrepreneurs I work with, thanks Rob.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John F. Holt IV on April 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is targeted at entrepreneurs who need advice on vetting their idea, and what to do next. His sunflower model is good for identifying your company's core competency and platform technologies.

This book is also a fun read. Rob's personality really comes through and you get a feel for what it would be like to work with him. After you finish the book, you are going to want to visit his website and apply for his bootcamp.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John C. Dunbar on May 8, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I discovered Rob Ryan's web site years ago (before this book or its previous 1st edition) when I was searching for information on startups using a web search engine. There I found a well researched set of slides that would-be entrepreneurs could use when presenting to venture capitalists. He had made them free for anyone to reference online.

The concept was that you, the budding entrepreneur who wanted his help, would prepare your presentation to him before you arrived. If he liked your business idea he would help. But he found that too many budding entrepreneurs hadn't thought things through or hadn't taken their new business idea far enough along (like not having any customers and or even a product or its prototype). So this web site with its slides would fulfill this information role, and also fulfill the role of filtering out bad ideas.

Previously the author had a back injury and resigned from his CEO role at Ascend. He had started a ranch in Montana to coach engineers, more than others, wanting to get tech start-ups going. He put the slide presentation online using Microsoft Powerpoint. This was quite novel at that time.

Over time he developed this book (1st and 2nd edition) which included his recommendation for the ideal slide presentation to prospective investors in startups. It now includes much other discussion on how he developed his philosophy on startups as well as detailed discussions on the startups he's been involved with since opening his ranch in Montana. It's filled with rules, opinions, wisdom and commonly-made mistakes by start-ups. This book is particularly informative on what the entrepreneur needs to do in the early startup stage.

The author is biased in the favor of high-technology startups with engineers at its core.
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