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Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days
 
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Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days [Format Kindle]

Jessica Livingston
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Now available in paperback—with a new preface and interview with Jessica Livingston about Y Combinator!

Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days is a collection of interviews with founders of famous technology companies about what happened in the very earliest days. These people are celebrities now. What was it like when they were just a couple friends with an idea? Founders like Steve Wozniak (Apple), Caterina Fake (Flickr), Mitch Kapor (Lotus), Max Levchin (PayPal), and Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail) tell you in their own words about their surprising and often very funny discoveries as they learned how to build a company.

Where did they get the ideas that made them rich? How did they convince investors to back them? What went wrong, and how did they recover?

Nearly all technical people have thought of one day starting or working for a startup. For them, this book is the closest you can come to being a fly on the wall at a successful startup, to learn how it's done.

But ultimately these interviews are required reading for anyone who wants to understand business, because startups are business reduced to its essence. The reason their founders become rich is that startups do what businesses do—create value—more intensively than almost any other part of the economy. How? What are the secrets that make successful startups so insanely productive? Read this book, and let the founders themselves tell you.

Biographie de l'auteur

Jessica Livingston is a founding partner at Y Combinator, a seed-stage venture firm based in Cambridge, MA, and Mountain View, CA. She was previously VP of marketing at investment bank Adams Harkness. In addition to her work with startups at Y Combinator, she organizes Startup School. She has a BA in English from Bucknell.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 très bon livre à recommander ! 6 mai 2009
Par Milanova
Format:Broché
Livre très intéressant et éducatif pour les futurs ou actuels entrepreneurs de start-ups. A lire absolument!
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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  142 commentaires
113 internautes sur 115 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Real advice from the frontline trenches of software start-ups 3 juin 2007
Par K. Sampanthar - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat authentifié par Amazon
The Summary

Jessica Livingston has written an amazing book. If you want to read the stories behind some of the most well known software companies in the last 30 years, you will find it in this book. But Livingston hasn't just covered the usual suspects (Google, Microsoft), she has included a diverse collection from Steve Wozniak (Apple) to David Heinemeier Hansson (37 Signals), Dan Bricklin (Visicalc) to Blake Ross (Firefox). It covers a lot of ground from the early 80's software boom to the Web 2.0 starts ups. But there is more than just stories about starting companies, there is real advice from the frontline trenches of software start-ups. Keep your post-it notes and highlighter handy, if you are like me you will be annotating and highlighting a lot!

The Audience

If you have ever considered a start-up you should definitely read this book. It's like picking the brains of some very experienced entrepreneurs. Anybody that has already tried their hand at start-ups will recognize the value of this book. Most will probably feel like I did, and wish that they had had this book before they started their first company. It could have saved me many painful lessons (both financially and personally). Reading these interviews is like having 32 mentors.

The Details

Like many people I am always a little skeptical of `success stories'. Just because someone did x, y and z, doesn't mean that I could follow these very steps and be as successful. Just because Aunt Ethel, who lived to be a 100, attributes her long life to drinking a glass of whisky every day, doesn't mean I can drink a glass of whisky every day and live to be a 100. Instead of a collection of fluffy `creation myth' stories written about software companies, Livingston has put a lot of thought into how she approached these interviews and has collected some real gems of insights from these entrepreneurs. She has uncovered a gold mine of valuable advice and information about starting a company. As you read these stories you start to see some patterns emerging. Some of these patterns I recognize from my own experiences, but others were new to me. Sometimes you see contradictory advice from different founders; one tells you, you need to focus on the technology and somebody else explains that it's more important to focus on business/market opportunity. There are definitely multiple paths to starting a company, but some advice is repeated story after story, and these seem to be universal truths.

The Ideas

Here are some of the universal truths that I culled from the interviews:

- Iterate through ideas, the first idea isn't always the best

- Business plans are important - but be prepared to change it many times

- You need to be naïve - "unencumbered by reality"

- Persistence makes all the difference

- Passion - you need to be really excited about what you are doing and think it's really important

- Understand and listen to your end users

The book is full of ideas and advice like this.

The Take-Aways

Overall, I can't say enough good things about this book. Obviously it's aimed at entrepreneurs, but I know there are going to be many people just interested in the stories behind their favorite companies or people. Personally I loved the interviews with Ray Ozzie, Joel Spolsky, Joe Kraus and Steve Wozniak. I was also fascinated by the stories behind companies like: 37 Signals, Six Apart, del.icio.us and Craigslist. I was even surprised by the story behind `Hot or Not', it's not as shallow as you might think.

Entrepreneurs -- wanna-be, new and experienced -- you NEED to read, think, digest and act on the advice in this book and your next/current entrepreneurial venture will go much smoother.

Kes Sampanthar

Inventor of ThinkCube
39 internautes sur 40 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A must read for anyone involved with technology 20 février 2007
Par Thomas Beck - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This is an absolute must read if you're job, your passion, or both (if you're lucky) has anything to do with creating technical innovation. "Founders at Work" is a wonderfully meander through the stories of successful company founders - across several decades. Far from focusing on just those who made it big during the first dot-com boom or those who are profiting from Web 2.0, Jessica also includes some of the true pioneers in the field. She recognizes that, not only do these industry veterans have valuable stories to convey but, since many of them are helping to steer companies and venture capital funds to this day, their advice is quite topical and current.

From the great introduction right through the final interview, this book is packed with great anecdotes, advice, and information and inspiration. Makes you wonder as to what the story is behind the story - how did Jessica get unfettered access to such a broad array of the founding fathers?

I've included some illustrative quotes from the book below. Give them a read and then go pick up this book. The printed copy is a bargain and the e-book version is a steal. It may turn out to be one of the best investments you ever make.

* "You guys are nuts. Throw out your business plan. Your customers--or potential customers - are telling you what your business should be. The business plan was only used to get you the money. Why don't you rewrite a business plan that is focused just on providing what your customers want?" - Q.T. Wiles advice to Charles Geschke (Cofounder, Adobe) on the real purpose of a business plan

* "There were some warning signs. Consider McKinsey, which holds itself out as one of the world's leading repositories of knowledge on how to manage a business. They say they'll never grow their company by more than 25 percent per year, because otherwise it's just too hard to transmit the corporate culture. So if you're growing faster than 25 percent a year, you have to ask yourself, `What do I know about management that McKinsey doesn't know?'" - Philip Greenspun (Cofounder, ArsDigita) on scaling corporate culture

* That [not improving core product quality] was probably the biggest mistake we made. And that's the advice I give everybody. All those little coupon schemes, this is what General Motors does. They figure out new rebate schemes because they forgot all about how to design cars people want to buy. But when you still remember how to make software people want, great, just improve it. - Joel Spolsky (Cofounder, Fog Creek Software)

* "I think some people slept; I know I didn't sleep at all." - Max Levchin (Cofounder, PayPal)

* "There were times when we were really broke before we had our angel investment, when only one guy who had children was getting paid." - Caterina Fake (Cofounder, Flickr)

With nearly 21 of the 32 interviewees having the term "Cofounder" in their titles, Joel Spolsky's advice seems perhaps to reflect best on what was critical to the success of these companies. "But because they never really take the leap and quit their job, they can give up their dream at any time. And 99.9 percent of them will actually give up their dream. If they take the leap, quit their job, go do it full-time--no matter how much it sucks--and convince one other person to do the same thing with them, they're going to have a much, much higher chance of actually getting somewhere."
41 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Amazing stories & truly inspiring 7 février 2007
Par Bryan Kennedy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat authentifié par Amazon
I'm the founder of an early-stage startup, and I can wholeheartedly say that this book has enlightened me. The usual problem with books of this vein is that the author only has one core idea and then fluffs it up to get 300 pages. Founders@Work however is like reading a pile of books written by successful founders, each with their own insights and tidbits of useful advice.

You end up reading these real-life, down-to-earth stories about the early days at Apple and Yahoo and PayPal, and you're seeing you and your co-founder right there. Hey! I code in a towel sometimes too! They aren't telling you the glorified stories their PR guys tell them to say. This is the real deal. It's awfully inspiring.

I would HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who is thinking of starting, or is currently running a startup.
43 internautes sur 51 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Great content, awful format 19 septembre 2007
Par Andrew Otwell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
There's plenty of great information here, as all the other reviews said. But this interview format is really excruciating to read. Casual speech is very hard to transcribe in such a way that it becomes readable. This is why journalists and other writers are trained in how to reduce a long, tangential speech into something meaningful and clear. These interviews tend to run on and on and on, with the subjects jumping around, sometimes contradicting themselves, or misspeaking; all the stuff we do when talking, but which doesn't really matter in conversation, where other cues like body language make up for it. It really takes a lot of work to read this stuff, you're constantly having to hear the subject "out loud" in your head for it to make sense.

This book's easily twice as long as it could be if these interviews were edited down to a few really useful pages each. Or better: rewritten as short essays.
14 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Back story narratives, lots of information, easy to read 31 janvier 2007
Par Adam Smith - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat authentifié par Amazon
1) I often hear advice in the form 'Do this' or 'Do not do that.' I have a hard time internalizing that kind of advice because it's hard to remember. This book tells the stories behind the advice, which is more entertaining and easier to internalize.

2) This book is meaty. It's 400 pages of small print, so there is a lot of information.

3) It is easy to read in a random access fashion. Each chapter stands on its own, and each page has it's own question and answer in the dialog.

4) You get the back stories. I read many things about Fog Creek and Viaweb that I never knew[..].
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