- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (September 3, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1118548361
- ISBN-13: 978-1118548363
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 43 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Startup CEO, + Website: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business Hardcover – September 3, 2013
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From the Inside Flap
Whatever industry you may be involved inwhether itbe architecture, medicine, or technologyscaling up yourbusiness can be one of the most difficult endeavors you may everface. And in most cases, as the company grows, so will your role init. Being a CEO is an incredibly complex job at any size company,but it can be especially challenging if you're part of a startup.In this case, you really don't have the luxury of making costlymistakes while learning on the job.
Back in 1999, author Matt Blumberg, a technology and marketingentrepreneur started a company called Return Path that later becamethe driving force behind the creation of his blog,OnlyOncebecause "you're only a first-time CEO once." Now,with Startup CEOthe third book in the StartupRevolution seriesBlumberg shares his experiences that led upto that point and discusses the details of this extremely difficultand unique job. Whether you're currently the CEO of your owncompany, an aspiring entrepreneur, or thinking about your owncareer development, the insights found here will put you in abetter position to succeed.
Divided into five comprehensive parts, this reliable resourceskillfully puts the essential elements of this endeavor inperspectivefrom the startup stage, through the revenue stage,and into the growth stage. Along the way, you'll gain valuableknowledge on:
- Part I: defining your vision of the startup and effectivelycommunicating it to all stakeholders
- Part II: running the people side of your company, from creatinga culture and the full cycle of employmentrecruiting, hiring,and retaining or firingto the growing challenge of managingremote employees
- Part III: the key elements of execution, including thespecifics of financing the company and budgeting, running greatmeetings, and setting goals
- Part IV: the main aspects of managing a board, from recruitingmembers to working with them on potentially thorny topics liketheir performance or your compensation
- Part V: managing yourself so you can manage others, includingcreating your own operating system; working with an executiveassistant, executive coach, and a peer group; and balancing familyand work life
Startup CEO puts an emphasis on practical application. Tothat end, this book provides readers with exclusive access to acompanion website filled with supplementary materials, allowing youto continue to learn in a hands-on fashion long after closing thebook.
Being a startup CEO is one of the hardest jobs you'll ever have.But if you're motivated, creative, and enjoy building things, it'salso the best job in the world. Startup CEO will show youwhat it takes to make it in this positionand while it may nothave all the answers, it can help you figure out the questions youshould always be asking.
From the Back Cover
Praise for Startup CEO
"One of the key principles of the Lean Startup movement is thatentrepreneurship is management. In Startup CEO, Matt Blumbergprovides a comprehensive guide to every facet of entrepreneurialmanagement. An essential and practical guide for entrepreneurseverywhere."
—Eric Ries, author, The Lean Startup
"There's no silver bullet for building a great company.Startup CEO deciphers the challenging, complex, uncertain,and oftentimes lonely role of a first-time CEO withoutoversimplifying it."
—Ben Horowitz, cofounder and General Partner,Andreessen Horowitz
"I've been on Matt's board for more than a decade, and I'vewatched him develop into one of the finest CEOs I've had thepleasure to work with. With Startup CEO, Matt allows otherentrepreneurs to profit from his years of experience and emulatehis remarkable example."
—Fred Wilson, cofounder, Union Square Ventures
"There is the one-in-a-million company that catches lightning ina bottle and grows like a weed without care and feeding. For therest of us, there's Startup CEO, the how-to manual forgetting there the old-fashioned way. This book will be your coach,mentor, and advisor in any situation you or your company are likelyto encounter."
—David Rosenblatt, CEO, 1stdibs
"Startup CEO is the definitive book for any CEO—first timeor otherwise—of a high-growth company. While dozens of bookshave been written about starting businesses, it's time forentrepreneurs to focus on scaling them. Matt shows them how."
—Brad Feld, Managing Director, Foundry Group
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This is just to give you some context when I—like another, earlier reviewer—say I found this overly basic without much that was useful for me. I understand that many startup founders have no substantial management or leadership experience when they get started and perhaps the book is more useful for them.
Why do I say it was too basic?
Take the chapter on hiring, "Fielding a Great Team". If you've done any hiring before the advice it gives won't blow your mind: pay attention to cultural fit, find outstanding specialists, complement your weaknesses, don't get suckered in by resumes, let your team have input, on-boarding new hires is important.
There are sections on running a productive offsite, on having skip-level meetings, on weekly 1-1s, on how to run a great meeting (have an agenda, start & stop on time, have clear next steps at the end), on OKRs, on terminating employees, on managing remote employees, on how to handle promotions, and more.
The advice given isn't bad at all but it is all things that I think most people with previous non-startup leadership experience will already know. If you've lead a team of 50 then chances are you've had remote employees, you've been to many offsites, you've had to fire underperformers, etc.
What I would like to see improved or changed to bring more value? Startups change rapidly so the structures and processes you put in place this month may not be the rights ones in three months. What do those changes look like? What does the timeline look like for various things? What is it like when you go from having 1-1s with everyone in the company (because there are only 6 of you) to have having your first level of management? What is it like as your "executive committee" evolves and goes from you and and your co-founder to (eventually) 20 people from a variety of functions.
In the section on CEO communication it says, "hire a head of communications you can trust". Okay, but should I do that when I have 10 employees, 50, 100, or 500? What should their team look like? Return Path (the author's company) has around 500 staff and a "Senior Director of Global Corporate Communications". The title of director means they have managers reporting to them. Assume a span of control of 5—the director has 5 reports, each manager has 5 reports—so does that means a team of 25 in corporate communication for Return Path's 500 employees? How does that team grow over time? How do their roles and responsibilities change over the years as the company grows?
I would have also liked to have seen more guidance or rules of thumb—based on the author's experience—for the hard decisions leaders need to make. In the section on growth vs. profit he says, "you should be investing money in growth only if you are reasonably confident the investments you make will pay off". Is there anyone who doesn't believe that when they make those investments? The problems are that people delude themselves or look at partial evidence or misread the evidence. How does someone become "reasonably confident"?
Random note: probably the weirdest passage in the book is the section on "how to impress your boss" that closes by saying, "you will get a raise and a promotion sooner than your friends". Isn't this book for the CEO? Who is going to give them a promotion? Who is going to give them a raise?
All in all, if you're an experienced leader you probably won't find enough meat here to satisfy you.
The book is well laid out, from starting the company to dealing with the surprise issues that come up and the unexpected priority changes as a company grows (believe me, there are many). Matt's been a startup CEO for a long time (since 1999) and survived 2 recessions and many changes to his company. His approach is solid yet at times unconventional, but all stem from his real life experiences and looking at problem-solving in his company through a fresh perspective, leaving no conventional wisdom unchecked.
Even if you are not a CEO in a startup, I would recommend reading this book. You might want to be one someday.