Reading list for startup-founders
Earlier, we published a list of free web services that a company can use to better run their business. However, tools do not really make or break a company. Having the right attitude, and making the right decisions at the right time is much more important. If you are a startup founder, it is not necessary that you learn everything from your mistakes at the school of hard knocks. You can try to benefit from the experiences of countless others who have learnt from their own successes and failures, and have survived to write blog posts about them.
To educate you, Sukshma.net (the blog of Santosh and Anjali, founders of Bookeazy and Lipikaar) have put together this list of articles and books that they found useful in their own journey. Here is a full list, shamelessly plagiarized from there, (to save my lazy readers from one extra click, I hope they don’t mind):
- The pmarca guide to startups Part 1 and Part 2.
- What is your Primary Motivator?
- Failing Cheaper - Redeye VC.
1st Month: Bullet-proof your idea.
- Build a bullet proof Startup - Business 2.0.
- What’s in a name? – Found + Read
- Naming your startup.
- Evaluate a Product Idea - Evan William (Blogger, Twitter Founder).
- Clarify your Story (Internet Businesses).
2nd Month: Raise Money, or scrape some together.
- How to fund a Startup – Paul Graham.
- The art of Bootstrapping (an excellent article) - “Bootstrapping by Definition”, Vijay Anand.
- The art of Bootstrapping - Guy Kawasaki.
- 101 Unconventional Ways to Raise Money.
3rd Month: Define your value proposition.
- Marketing Myopia - Theodore Levitt, Harvard Business Review Classics. (pdf)
- The Fundamentals of Customer Value.
- Getting customers to pay - The Penny Gap, Redeye VC.
- Pmarca Guide to startups – The only thing that matters (is the market).
- You need a strategy map.
- The Consumer Technology 3 Act Play (Distribution, Product, Branding).
- Positioning Products and Services Accurately – Edward M. Gurowitz Ph.D.
4th Month: Iterative Innovation.
- (Customer) Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, and Revenue(find the slides here).
- The application of Social Media to Web Strategy.
- The cluetrain manifesto.
5th Month: Advertising.
- Public Relations Secrets (TechCrunch).
7th Month: Momentum
- 7 months in to my 2nd stint as Startup CEO - Jason Goldberg. Sorry. This link has gone off the internet. It used to be at http://blog.socialmedian.com/2008/08/7_months_into_my_2nd_stint_as.html but the whole blog disappeared after Jason sold social|median to Xing. If you’re able to find a copy of this article, please let us know. Lot’s of Pune people want to read it.
9th Month: Profit for sustainability.
- The Ugly Adolescent Stage (when you consume more than you produce).
- More on Cash at this stage.
- The Margin Manifesto, part 1 and part 2.
- Media Business Models - Chris Anderson (The Long Tail).
Raising serious money from Professional Investors/Venture Capitalists.
- Build your own Cap Table.
- Term Sheet Hacks – Get a Great Deal.
- What does a Series A term sheet look like?
- Should I use debt or equity?
- How much equity can I give away (Paul Graham)?
- What does a convertible note look like?
- How much funding is too much (or too little)? – pmarca.
- When the VC’s say no – pmarca.
- But I don’t know any VC’s – pmarca.
- What value do VC’s add (or take away) – StartupBoy?
- What is liquidation preference? (get a spreadsheet on computing scenarios here).
- More on VC Term Sheets and Liquidation Preference.
- Term Sheet Glossary - GigaOm.
- Strategic Corporate Investments.
- Are convertible notes valid in India?
- Is Google’s YouTube worth $4.9B? – A nice analysis justifying the current YouTube Valuation.
- Financial Models for Startups. Where projections meet reality.
Master your disruptive contribution.
Managing up and down.
- The best business books of all time.
- The Effective Executive – Peter Drucker.
- Effective Leaders Follow these Eight Practices – Peter Drucker.
Other books worth reading.
- The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story.
- Founders at work: Stories of startup’s Early Days.
- Good to Great: Why some companies make the leap …and others don’t.
- What the CEO wants you to know – Ram Charan.
- Innovator’s Dilemma – Clayton M. Christensen.
The Economics of Media and E-Commerce businesses.
- 3 ways to build an E-Commerce business with $500M in revenue - Jeremy Liew of LightSpeed Ventures.
- 3 ways to build an online Media business to $50M in revenue - Jeremy Liew of LightSpeed Ventures.
- More on building an online Media business - Jeremy Liew of LightSpeed Ventures.
- USA! USA! USA! We’re number one (in online advertising markets) – Jeremy Liew.
I need inspiration. I need to know this has happened to others. It’s never too late to start over.
Read Founders@Work. Just turn to any story, any page and start reading. This is not to be read in one go, it’s most useful when you think you’re a complete idiot. Also, don’t forget to read Guy Kawasaki’s list of best pages from the book. Make your own list. We both have our list that we’ll put on the blog someday.
Startup Resources from around the web.
- Purdue Entrepreneurship Certificate Program Wiki.
- The Stanford Entrepreneurship Corner - eCorner.
- Garage Technology Ventures - Reference Library for Small Business’.
- The Startup Kit – I; Proto.in blog.
- Free Advice for Software Startups - Dharmesh Shah.
- Technology and Business Discussions.