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Unleash Your Inner Company: Use Passion and Perseverance to Build Your Ideal Business Hardcover – October 6, 2015
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''Successful entrepreneurs like John Chisholm seldom jump conceptual and almost never write books like John's, full of deep thinking and well worth reading.'' --Bob Metcalfe, founder, 3Com; coinventor of Ethernet; University of Texas at Austin Professor of Innovation
''The definitive primer for entrepreneurs, filled with invaluable wisdom and uncommon insights.'' --Joon Yun, MD, President, Palo Alto Investors; creator, $1 Million Palo Alto Longevity Prize
''People across the nation and the world should embrace this book.'' --Lorraine Hariton, special trade representative, US Department of State
''Jam packed with insights...Highly recommended.'' --Ben Casnocha, coauthor of #1 New York Times best seller The Start-up of You
''Those with the ambition to launch a new company should read this book carefully.'' --Jim Champy, coauthor of Reengineering the Corporation
''Distills the lessons of a lifetime to give aspiring entrepreneurs a head start on success.'' --L. Rafael Reif, President of MIT
''Experienced and first-time entrepreneurs alike will find Unleash Your Inner Company invaluable for turning their ideas into a successful business.'' --John S. Reed, former Chairman of Citigroup and New York Stock Exchange
''John emerges as the Yoda of the inner game of startups.'' -- --Rob Johnson, President of the Institute for New Economic Thinking
About the Author
John Chisholm has three decades of experience as an entrepreneur, a CEO, and an investor. A pioneer in online marketing research, he founded the publisher of the first desktop and client-server software for online surveys (now part of Google). Among many other distinctions, he is the president of the MIT Worldwide Alumni Association, a member of the MIT Corporation (its board of trustees), and a regular contributor to Forbes.
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UYIC is part self-help and part rigorous step-by-step guide through the concrete process of starting a company. UYIC straddles these genres marvelously by avoiding the airy platitudes of the average self-help book and the inaccessibility of jargon-filled tomes on business development. Chisholm's text is superior even to classic entrepreneurial guides like Ries' The Lean Startup or Steve Blanks' The Startup Owners Manual.
Rather than beginning with an abstract "customer need" and building outward, Chisholm begins with the entrepreneur him/herself. Yes, your product must fit a customer need, but your ideal business grows best from your own humanity: your strengths and interests – the things that make you, uniquely, you.
The early portion of UYIC asks the reader to look within and take stock of their strengths and passions. Only then can an entrepreneur be well-equipped to face the challenges of building a business. Great products come from courageous and authentic people: not an abstract customer development model. The hands-on elements of developing your business can't be divorced from the development of yourself – this logical fusion of personal and professional is the great service that Chisholm has provided with UYIC.
The latter chapters are increasingly technical, covering topics the range from prototyping 'minimum viable solutions' to pricing strategies. UYIC is not a lightweight text: chapters are rich with diagrams and actionable steps for product development and finance. Chisholm's crystal clear writing really shines and the short, digestible chapters keep you turning the page. Along the way, Chisholm touches upon too-often-neglected areas like choosing good co-founders and the power of focus. The chapter on frugality is brilliant: no one will walk away from it without reconsidering their spending habits.
Finally, Chisholm closes with sophisticated essays on the destructiveness of overregulation. (Ever ask yourself why entrepreneurship is so focused on apps? Because innovation is smothered in so many other areas of the economy.) UYIC ends with the ethics of entrepreneurship, which connects the nuts and bolts from earlier in the book with a coherent philosophy and worldview. All progress depends on how we can move the world from one of negative or zero-sum relationships (where some people always lose) to a world of positive-sum relationships (where exchange and cooperation improve everyone's life). Who makes the world more positive-sum? Entrepreneurs. There's poetry in Chisholm's selection of ethics as the end of the book. As you cultivate your own passion and persevere to grow a business from it, you're also a servant of social progress and humanity's highest goals.
I was impressed with how Chisholm's knowledge of complex systems theory shines throughout the text. (The pioneering Santa Fe Institute is even mentioned on the dedication page). Fans of systems theory will be thrilled by the way that Chisholm models evolutionary 'combinatorial systems' like technology in a concrete way that entrepreneurs can not only understand but actually use to generate business ideas.
We will undoubtedly give Unleash your Inner Company to the students in our program's entrepreneurship classes. Highly recommended.
It's clear this book is the result of many years Chisholm spent contemplating what it really takes to start and grow a business. And the fact that he has lived the entrepreneurial life himself provides further proof this book can help others. Chisholm is a mentor to many entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, and we're lucky that the rest of us in other parts of the country have a playbook like this to apply to the ventures we run and advise. As an entrepreneurship scholar, professor, and consultant myself for 17 years, I feel confident giving this book a 5 star ranking. I highly recommend "Unleash Your Inner Company."
An example: the author spends several chapters discussing how to decide what is the correct business for you. Its amazing how other books on entrepreneurism gloss over this incredibly important point -- what type of business you get involved with IS key. You need to get involved with something that will excite you but that you are also qualified to do. This is critical for success and the author understands this and gives you a roadmap for creating or finding the business that is the right fit.
I also found the chapter on understanding your individual resources, including those you might not recognize, to be helpful as I sought financing for the company I am purchasing. Especially for more (ahem) "mature" entrepreneurs and businesspeople its a good exercise to inventory your skills/technologies/assets/relationships and strengths, which the author deems "STARS". The methodology he recommends is effective and is helpful to develop your elevator pitch for investors and future business partners.
For me, the chapters on choosing partners/cofounders and also avoiding competition were insightful as are several others in this thoughtful book. Overall the book is organized very well so the reader can ignore topics that don't apply and focus on those that do.
Thank you to John Chisholm for sharing his expertise as an entrepreneur/investor/CEO with those of us looking to be more skilled entrepreneurs and businesspeople.