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Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days Paperback – Illustrated, September 16, 2008
"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.57 pounds
- Paperback : 506 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1430210788
- ISBN-13 : 978-1430210788
- Product Dimensions : 5.81 x 1.09 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Apress; 1st Edition (September 16, 2008)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #106,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I do not know if the hardcover edition has this problem or not.
What surprised me most was how down-to-earth and normal most of these successful people were. Only a couple of them seemed full of themselves. The rest, surprisingly, were just the opposite. Their stories about their startup days provided insights into their values, motivations, aspirations, points of view, work ethic; as well as their worries, fears, doubts, and concerns; plus their approach to making tough decisions and a recognition of their personal limitations and flaws. Their interview responses are full of insights into their decisions about business development, product development, product management, pricing, promotion, distribution, customer service, technical support, accounting, finance, hiring and technology choices; and dealing with venture capitalists, business partners and actual or potential competitors.
The interviews also provide a lot of insights into technology trends and market trends during the time that the founders' companies were starting up.
Here are the companies whose founders were interviewed, in the order they appear in the book: PayPal, Hotmail, Apple, Excite, Software Arts, Lotus Development, Iris Associates, Groove Networks, Pyra Labs (Blogger.com), Yahoo, Research in Motion, Marimba, Gmail, WebTV, TiVo, Viaweb, del.icio.us, ONELIST, Bloglines, Craigslist, Flickr, WAIS, InternetArchive, Alexa, Adobe Systems, Open Systems, Hummer Winblad, 37signals, ArsDigita, Fog Creek Software, TripAdvisor, HOT or NOT, Tickle, Firefox, Six Apart, Lycos, Aliant Computer Systems, Shareholder.com.
This book is perfect for anyone interested in entrepreneurship, technology startups, technology companies in general, and business books in general. I've read the book once already and now I'm in the middle of reading it a second time. I wish there were an audio version of it.
Cannot comment on content of the book because I literally cannot stand reading the blurry text.
The chapters covering Hotmail and PayPal showed some remarkable insight into how a given product can be marketed. Hotmail was a fairly straightforward shot from original idea to sales, (email from PIM DB is a fairly minor refinement technically -- it was huge from a business standpoint) but went through some massive changes in how that idea was sold. PayPal, on the other hand, went through profound shifts in the product itself, and also in marketing.
For me, insight into the founders' thought-processes as they rolled with the changes that they encountered was the primary value of the book. The author, then, is to be commended. Keeping the discussions of multiple interviewees relevant and picking out such insightful details is no mean feat. Every chapter so far has been excellent in these regards -- A further testament to her skills as an interviewer and editor.
If you are in or are considering going into a technical business, this book will help you understand the mind of those successful at that sort of thing. Most of the business advice I find is directed at the non-technical side of things, which is a very different sort of mind. That is what makes this book so particularly useful.
The book has the same interview format as Programmers at Work, this time mainly with web startup founders from the 1995-2005 period. There is some overlap with similar individuals interviewed in Programmers at Work, such as Dan Bricklin, Steve Wozniak, and Mitch Kapor. But mainly, you'll read about the guys and gals behind PayPal, Blogger, Yahoo, craigslist, Flickr, del.icio.us, etc. I was hoping for the same level of storytelling from the individuals interviewed--however, this time I found the stories to be flat, and uninteresting after awhile. This may just be an individual preference and bias, since many readers of this book won't have been influenced by Programmers at Work.
I would still suggest reading this one, but only after you've read Programmers at Work.
Top reviews from other countries
You will learn to ignore all conventional business rules and follow your instinct. You will read of numerous idiotic mistakes the most sucesful companies on the planet did when starting up, thus you will become more confident.
If they managed to become so successful after all these mistakes, then you actually stand a chance after all.
Did Adobe truly got it's name after a random map choice???
Did Yahoo operate from a flooding basement for a few months???
Was Paypal unable to make a simple transaction at it's first VC presentation???
Then I can make it.
Then you can make it.
Then we all stand a fair chance for success.
More than providing me with knowledge, this book gave me confidence. Confidence that I can can overcome my mistakes.
After reading this you'll want to quit your job and start your own company.
Full of different perspectives, proving that there are a hundred ways to innovate, and to run a successful startup, and the only common theme is perseverance.