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Start Small, Stay Small: A Developer's Guide to Launching a Startup Paperback – June 8, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rob Walling believes we are at an unprecedented time in history where developers are able to change the world with their software. His blog, SoftwareByRob.com is read by thousands of software entrepreneurs every month. Rob is based in Fresno, CA.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: The Numa Group, LLC (June 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615373968
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615373966
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #538,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm a programmer. I really love writing software, both personally and professionally. I've always wanted to start my own software business, but have never had the willpower in myself to make it happen.

Rob's book has totally changed that.

This book is an excellent resource for any developer who wants to start their own business. I feel like Rob was writing directly to me when he wrote this, as he answers my questions one at a time in order, and leaves me wondering nothing.

The book contains practical advice for planning your business, starting it, marketing it, and running with it post-launch. It also discusses what to do once you've grown your business (do you want to automate it? sell it?).

After reading Rob's book, I couldn't help but feel empowered. The practical, logical advice presented in this book is a great tool for any programmer who wants to start their own business. Follow these principles, use your skill set, and you can't go wrong.

Rob, if you're reading this, thanks for writing this book.

**Update**: Since writing this review wayyy back when I've done quite a lot. I've started 2 companies, both of which have been fairly successful -- the largest of which is OpenCNAM (https://www.opencnam.com/), a very popular API service for software developers. I've also written two books, edited two more (for real publishers), and done quite a lot of hacking in between. It's been more than 5 years since I wrote this original review, but this is still my favorite book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The main thing I got from the book: stop writing code.

The author explains in a convincing way why an Internet startup is not about coding but about founding a great niche, building a product that executes at a plateau and make it run automatically. And repeat this proces to be serial startup founder. Nr 1 lesson: Out-source your manual tasks to virtual assistants.

The book goes into depth, how to build sustainable traffic for your website and how to validate your businessplan before spending months building.

The book is written in a blog-like reader friendly style. Short paragraphs and without unneccessary fluff.
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Format: Paperback
If you've ever looked into turning a software idea into a viable product, this book is a great guide. Clear and simple descriptions with a little humor mixed in make it easy to turn a few pages into action items. You'll read through once to know what you are in for and then use the book as a constant reference to keep you moving in the right direction. This book won't tell you what the right decision for your product is, but it will help force you to ask yourself good questions to make decisions with better information. With so many unknowns in launching your own product, it makes it a little less scary to have a simple blueprint to follow to make sure you stay focused, spend your time wisely, and don't miss important facets to make your product successful. Even if you decide to wait on launching your own product, the advise in the book will be helpful as a consultant, employee, and even in your life outside of work.
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Format: Paperback
This book goes against the common thinking that you have to build the next big web app, receive millions of dollars in funding, and then get bought out by Google. Instead of an all-or-nothing approach, Rob describes from his real-world experiences how a portfolio of niche software products and websites added up can allow you to make a great living doing what you love. As developers, many ways of how we think are challenged, but make sense when focusing on profit and freeing up time. Emphasize marketing before product development. Test a market before investing too much on building. Outsource to virtual assistants and possibly other developers. Rob has around 10 products at any given time himself, each with their own unique situations on how they were built, bought and/or managed, and he uses them as case studies throughout the book. If you're like me you'll be taking tons of notes and referencing the myriad of links and resources it has as you start building out your software ideas.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great read. The author does a nice mix of adding the basics of marketing with specific information for software developers. But don't shy away from this book if you are not selling software online. This book is a must read for ANYONE who is starting a small online business and needs to market their product/website. Period.

I have made many notes and plan on going back through this book a few times to squeeze out every idea and work it into my business plan(s).

And when I say the author has added the basics of marketing - it is distilled down to something actionable. This information is very similar to information that I personally have learned in those very expensive 4-day marketing workshops. Little things like dollarizing your product's worth / your time. Settings goals. Writing them down. And many other classic teachings condensed into something fun to read.

Add to that [solid marketing info] modern examples and tool referrences and you have a book that very current. Specific current online marketing techniques are reviewed. He even breaks down effective ways to design your website for maximum conversion.

If you're still not sure... Google the book's title and you will be able to download/sample the first chapter for free. That's what hooked me! Or save yourself the hassle and buy it now!
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