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Magic Box Paradigm: A Framework for Startup Acquisitions Paperback – September 29, 2016
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About the Author
At the start of my career I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to cofound two technology companies. One ended up being quite successful and was acquired. The other had a good run but was unable to survive the burst of the first internet bubble. As an entrepreneur I’ve been part of teams that have created innovative products and services. I’ve seen how swiftly success can come, and go. Since the early 2000s I’ve largely worked as an advisor to startups. Today my professional activities leverage three platforms: Advsr, a growing network of entrepreneurs; Ackrell Capital, a boutique investment bank; and Vator, an online community for startups and investors. I earned an MBA from a joint program of UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and Columbia’s Graduate School of Business. Prior to that, I earned a BA in Philosophy from UC Davis with minors in both History and English.
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Top Customer Reviews
I've spent most my career helping inventors, technology companies, and investors figure out how to monetize their intellectual property. And, unless their technology is in the unicorn quadrant, it's hard - really hard - to find and close the right deal.
But the 'Magic Box' book nails it. "It's not about selling your company; it's about creating opportunities for your startup." "You are usually the casualty in a bidding war." Some of the advice may sound counter-intuitive, but rings true.
The money shot is the Magic Box Paradigm itself. I can't describe it without totally ripping off the book, but suggest you check it out yourself.
I wish I had read this book 15 years ago - before I sold my first company.
The specific situation becomes evident early on: You have a product of value, looking for a buyer or in talks with a set of buyers. The most helpful thing in this book was early on: your buyer doesn't know what you do. Such an under-appreciated bit of advice in life. That is, you may know your product is broken, your team hates each other, etc but your buyer doesn't. Don't sell sugar water as medicine but also know that to some people sugar water may be medicine.
When I'd read this book:
- If I were building a product and starting to think about selling it as an acquisition
- If I were new to negotiations in general
- If I had built a product that became successful somewhat overnight (i.e. 6 years of of hard work realized finally) and a handful of inbound offers were coming in
- If I knew the author and wanted to be supportive
When I'd skip this book entirely:
- When being acquihired. Sorry but your value is in the people and there's already great comparative points on deal terms out there. You're negotiation position is pretty darn weak given you're likely sub $100m purchase price
- If I had a lackluster product without many competing offers (or no competing offers). This book fouses more on competitive process and having a product people really want.
- When I know my buyer very well, on a personal level. I think you're better off skipping. Find out if your offer is competitive in the market and then ask your relationship counterpart to be more competitive.
- If I had a killer product and lots of competing offers.
The book came as a recommendation by a few friends who recently sold their companies. I was in talks to sell mine. Overall I felt the book did not apply as much to my situation (one of the four above).
The book is written by a practitioner, which makes it a lot more interesting and relevant. I look forward to recommending this read to my friends and colleagues.