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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learning how entrepreneurs did it on their own..., July 4, 2009
This review is from: Entrepreneur Journeys: Bootstrapping: Weapon Of Mass Reconstruction (Paperback)
Having been near the front lines of the dot-com boom (and bust), I remember how much money was being thrown around at ideas that were utterly ridiculous. And if you could get venture capitalists to fund you long enough, you could then shift to an IPO and cash out for big bucks. Those days are gone, and now you have to be much more self-sufficient to get yourself started and maintain your momentum. Sramana Mitra looks at a number of entrepreneurs who have gone the bootstrapping route with great success in her book Entrepreneur Journeys: Bootstrapping: Weapon Of Mass Reconstruction. This is a good source of personal stories and input on how to do it on your own without giving up control of your idea and hard work.

Contents:
Prologue
Doing More With Less: The Real VCs Of Silicon Valley; Fund Envy; Bootstrapping, Montana Style (Greg Gianforte - Right Now)
Getting Started with Little or No Capital: Passion and Leverage (Cree Lawson - Travel Ad Network, Beatrice Tarka - Mobissimo), Barack Obama's Finance Lesson (Om Malik - GigaOM, Rafat Ali - paidContent, J. R. Johnson - Virtual Tourist, Guillaume Cohen - Veodia, Wayne Krause - Hydro Green Energy); Weapon of Mass Reconstruction (Scott Wainner - SysOpt & ResellerRatings, Ramu Yalamanchi - hi5)
Validating The Market - On The Cheap: Carts Ahead of Horses (Murli Thirumale - Ocarina, Manoj Saxena - Webify)
Resurrecting The Dead: Silicon Lazarus (Lars Dalgaard - SuccessFactors)
Epilogue

Mitra structures Entrepreneur Journeys as a series of interviews with people who have started businesses and willingly (or unwillingly) went without massive funding for the first part of their histories. The ranges of personalities are rather astonishing... everything from veterans of startups who have "been there, done that" to youngsters who happened to be at the right place at the right time, and organically grew an idea into a money-generating website. Some of the individuals couldn't get a venture capitalist to listen to them, and others decided not to go that route in order to retain control. But in all cases, these entrepreneurs were able to successfully negotiate that tightrope between growth and funding.

While I learned a lot from each of the interviews, I also found Mitra's commentary quite valuable. She points out a number of flaws in our current VC mindset that cause many good companies to die off too early. Running a company for the first time is hard, and mentoring is even more valuable in many cases than money. Normal VC arrangements don't do a good job in close mentoring. Instead, it's a push to build up the value so the VCs can cash out. Angel investors are more likely to work closely with the business, helping them reach their potential without sacrificing the longer-term potential of the business. Very valuable advice...

If you're starting your own business in the technology industry, Mitra's book might well give you some perspective on initial funding that you may not have considered. And given what's at stake, you will want to take the couple of hours you'll need to read this.
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Thomas Duff
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Location: Portland, OR United States

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,266