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Startup: An Insider's Guide to Launching and Running a Business Paperback – December 22, 2011
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About the Author
Kevin Ready loves building things and helping people to build things. Over the last 20 years, he has built, run, consulted for, and advised numerous start-ups and businesses. For him, there is nothing more interesting than understanding business models and the problems that entrepreneurs come up against in their markets. As he says often, It is my work and my play. I never get tired of it. Born into an engineering family, Ready started his first company right out of college. While the venture was a success, he saw the limitations to scaling the business. As the Internet era took shape, he joined the "tech wave" through the late 1990s, starting several online businesses. Years before Facebook, he was a founder of a social networking site with nearly one million users. Later, he and a partner spun off and sold a digital mapping business, then moved on to become an online software and media retail business that merged with a larger rival in 2008. That same year, he became a partner at an online real estate business that was in crisis mode. By applying the lessons presented in this book, he helped turn the business around. Just 13 months later, it was acquired by the newspaper industry. That business where he still works as technical director now brings in millions of dollars of profit per year and touches five million consumers every month.
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It is said that we learn from our mistakes, but an even better, not to mention less painful, way is to learn from the mistakes of others. In this refreshingly-direct and honest book, Mr. Ready chronicles ones he has made on his path and wants to pass on the valuable lessons he learned from making them to the reader. You should treat these lessons as the gold they are.
That's not to say that the book is some sort of negatively-toned catalog of failure, far from it. In fact, the entire tone of the book is extremely positive, albeit completely forthright in its assessment of what works, what doesn't and the best ways for harnessing your drive and creativity (after all, if you didn't have these traits, you wouldn't be even thinking about your own business) to make your business a success. But, don't expect a lot of rah-rah-you-can-do-it cheerleading either. In fact, it will have you honestly assessing if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur in the first place. That's a good thing!
I won't give a blow-by-blow account of each chapter, but suffice it to say that the book is packed full of helpful information. Best of all, it is packaged in an extremely engaging and accessible fashion, with many real-world examples, memorable terms/graphics and summaries (takeaways) designed to "stick" with you long after you have put the book down.
In my opinion, this guide is far better than books such as the "For Dummies" series targeted at laypeople, which I must admit I am when it comes to business. The reason is that the author has managed to strike the balance of getting essential points across without bogging the reader down in jargon or terminology that must be defined in dry, rote fashion that leaves your memory as soon as it's read. That's the primary failing of the "For Dummies" books and is entirely avoided in Startup.
Two final points about the book. First, it covers the entire spectrum of a business, from the point it is just a glimmer of an idea rattling around in your brain to completing a successful exit strategy. This is important as it treats a business as a totality, almost a living thing that must be nurtured to grow successfully, a point which other guides that focus too closely on one aspect (marketing, contracts, etc.) all too often miss. Second, it's short (as well as extremely readable). May seem a minor point, but other guides can run into the hundreds and hundreds of pages that take a long time to wade through. Since I am at the starting point of my business where I have do everything or nothing gets done (yes, there's a graph in the book covering this!), my time is limited and I appreciate the book getting to the point.
If you're an entrepreneur, or thinking about becoming one, do yourself a big favor and give Startup a read. You won't regret it.
For those of you who haven't read it yet, Kevin Ready's book Startup is a must have on your book shelf, (after you've read it of course), and is the perfect gift for you to give someone who is contemplating entrepreneurship, or even is already in it and would like some renewed inspiration and outlook. Highly, highly recommend!
Super congrats to Kevin Ready, I think he really delivers!