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Entrepreneur Journeys: Bootstrapping: Weapon Of Mass Reconstruction Paperback – April 16, 2009
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“Sramana Mitra’s Bootstrapping: Weapon of Mass Reconstruction is a book for our time because it’s something real out of Silicon Valley. No more stories about legendary VC fundings of startup-to-IPO in six months. In this, the second volume of Entrepreneur Journeys, her focus is on doing more with less, in tune with the times. This book has some fascinating histories of the different paths people take to entrepreneurship, and the difficulties they face. I would only have wished each of the interviews to be longer and deeper, because every story is worth telling.”
– Fast Company
In a world battered by economic crisis, Sramana Mitra believes entrepreneurship is the only sustainable path forward to a healthy economic world order. And core to the success of entrepreneurial ventures today is the invigorating art of bootstrapping. Sramana Mitra--a serial entrepreneur, strategy consultant and Forbes columnist--takes aim at this essential route along the roadmap to startup success with Entrepreneur Journeys, Volume Two: Bootstrapping: Weapon of Mass Reconstruction.
Along with the incisive analysis and commentary that have popularized her blog and Forbes columns, Mitra showcases a dozen successful entrepreneurs and their lessons from the bootstrapping trenches. Overflowing with lively entrepreneurial tangents, theories, and behind-closed-doors-experience, the book rises to the level of economic policy discussion while simultaneously offering practical advice from experienced bootstrappers. Important issues like doing more with less, getting started with little or no capital, and validating the market on the cheap are discussed with the likes of Om Malik of GigaOm and Greg Gianforte of RightNow.
In her characteristic narrative style, Mitra shepherds established and aspiring entrepreneurs through a territory she hopes will be claimed by many more in the years to come. “From my perspective it is clear that small business must be a top priority,” explains Mitra. “Let us hope that in the coming decade the number of small businesses will double, then triple and quadruple. For here is the most powerful engine of economic growth and sustenance. Here is our way back.”
About the Author
"Mitra clearly has a passion for small businesses. This useful volume is largely comprised of interviews with the founders of such companies. Her skilled questioning prompts a discussion of the many issues involved in starting and growing a business. The entrepreneurs share wisdom and insight useful to any budding or existing business owner. The reader will be struck by the vision, inventiveness and sheer determination of these entrepreneurial heroes, who operate businesses that are successful but far below the radar. A highly relevant and timely work on entrepreneurship's role in economic reconstruction."
- Kirkus Discoveries
Online Roundtables for Entrepreneurs:
Sramana Mitra offers a series of free online roundtables to mentor and help entrepreneurs further develop their business ideas. In these roundtables, she also addresses financing strategy for each business.
During each 60-minute online session, entrepreneurs are invited to pitch Sramana their ideas in a three-minute presentation. She reviews the material in real time and provides feedback on each pitch, as well as addresses specific questions from the entrepreneur. Afterward, she takes questions from other participants. Each session is open to 1,000 people but only the first five to sign up have the opportunity to pitch Sramana and discuss their business in an interactive mode.
You can find more information about these webinars, recordings of past roundtables and registration links to upcoming sessions on the Roundtables page of her blog, "Sramana Mitra On Strategy".
"Sramana's work on bootstrapped entrepreneurs is an inspiration in these tough economic times. The solutions to our economic problems ultimately lie with the entrepreneur who brings imagination, resourcefulness and good old-fashioned elbow-grease to tackle old problems in new ways, create new solutions and new industries. It is all too easy to forget this, particularly when we feed on the depressing daily diet of endless bail-outs and hear trillions of dollars being thrown around. A great entrepreneur can do a lot with ten thousand dollars. This book is a good antidote to the depressing mood of these times."
- Sridhar Vembu, Bootstrapped Zoho to over $50 million in annual revenue
"In the end, a true entrepreneur will not be denied. What Sramana captures with simple grace are the riveting personal stories of modern day business alchemists, who mix vision, pragmatism and relentless effort to forge creative, new and successful ventures. Her collection of interviews will make for an engaging, educational read, for those in the entrepreneurial space, those considering joining the game and those just plain curious about the formative innovators whose efforts provide outsize social returns of the most concrete and enduring nature."
- Don Hutchison, Angel Investor
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Top Customer Reviews
Doing More With Less: The Real VCs Of Silicon Valley; Fund Envy; Bootstrapping, Montana Style (Greg Gianforte - Right Now)
Getting Started with Little or No Capital: Passion and Leverage (Cree Lawson - Travel Ad Network, Beatrice Tarka - Mobissimo), Barack Obama's Finance Lesson (Om Malik - GigaOM, Rafat Ali - paidContent, J. R. Johnson - Virtual Tourist, Guillaume Cohen - Veodia, Wayne Krause - Hydro Green Energy); Weapon of Mass Reconstruction (Scott Wainner - SysOpt & ResellerRatings, Ramu Yalamanchi - hi5)
Validating The Market - On The Cheap: Carts Ahead of Horses (Murli Thirumale - Ocarina, Manoj Saxena - Webify)
Resurrecting The Dead: Silicon Lazarus (Lars Dalgaard - SuccessFactors)
Mitra structures Entrepreneur Journeys as a series of interviews with people who have started businesses and willingly (or unwillingly) went without massive funding for the first part of their histories. The ranges of personalities are rather astonishing...Read more ›
-Marketing segmenting is more than just race, gender and age
-Passion is essential to entrepeneurial success (not exactly new, but yet another reminder)
-Niches abound within niches
This last one really struck me in a couple of the interviews. The author never states it outright, but a number of the successful companies found their success by locating niches within niches. I'm going back to my marketing team now to ask, "What is the most valuable 10-20 percent group within our customer base? How do we provide unique value to them? How do we communicate this value?"
Thanks once again Sramana for an excellent read.
All of the companies have a few things in common. First they are all cutting edge technology. Secondly each entrepreneur at some point in their journey raises money from angel investors or venture capitalist. Since the book is basically interviews with the different entrepreneurs and both Sramana and the entrepreneur speak the same language, there is some information they assume the average reader knows. If you are not familiar with the terms and concepts of raising money from investors, you might find that part of the book a little disappointing. While raising money was an integral part of these businesses, the book is not about tips and techniques for raising money.
It would be easy to dismiss the book because the stories are about leading edge technology and each has raised huge sums of money to fund their venture. But there is no profit in taking that approach.
The value in the book is to "read between the lines", read the stories each person tells and learn the lessons that made each entrepreneur a success. There are some recurring themes in each story. They are recurring because they are basic principles required for success.
Here are some of the more important principles:
Make sure there is a market for your product. Do that by talking to prospects. Follow the SDBS model. Sell, Design, Build and Sell. Most failures design, build and then try to sell. Prove the concept before you sink your time and resources into designing and building a product.
Focus on cash flow.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I like this book in that it offers some valuable insight about bootstrapping a company's finances from the ground up. Read morePublished on March 21, 2013 by Amazon Customer
I was not sure what to expect from this book - however I read it cover to cover on a flight.
It was interesting and provided some useful tip and quotes for a team... Read more
Mitra showcases a dozen entrepreneurs and their lessons from the bootstrapping trenches.
Some of the quotes from these interviews are below:
Ramu Yalamanchi,... Read more
Bootstrapping: Weapon of Mass Reconstruction - It's a powerhouse of twelve inspirational stories of how aspiring entrepreneurs went from zero (or almost zero) to millions of a... Read morePublished on March 11, 2010 by Breaking The 9to5 Jail
This book is primarily a series of interviews with entrepreneurs who started tech companies. I found some of the interviews very interesting, though I thought that the questions... Read morePublished on December 18, 2009 by D. Brennan
More of a pr piece--very one sided conversations with almost no summery. It is like hearing CEO's talk about how wonderful their companies are but with little to no take aways or... Read morePublished on November 19, 2009 by William Hardin
There are so many entrepreneur stories out there, that books need to be pretty darned amazing to get noticed. While this one has some great stories, it was lacking color. Read morePublished on August 20, 2009 by Lois Lain
This "business" book is really a bazaar and misguided rant against Obama and Democrats. I thought this would be an entrepreneurship text, but instead it is an attack on the scary... Read morePublished on August 19, 2009 by Jessica Teel