If you want salient advice about your startup, you’ve hit the jackpot with this book. Harvard Business School Professor Tom Eisenmann annually compiles the best posts from many blogs on technology startup management, primarily for the benefit of his students. This book makes his latest collection available to the broader entrepreneur community.
You’ll find 72 posts from successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, such as Fred Wilson, Steve Blank, Ash Maurya, Joel Spolsky, and Ben Yoskovitz. They cover a wide range of topics essential to your startup’s success, including:
- Management tasks: Engineering, product management, marketing, sales, and business development
- Organizational issues: Cofounder tensions, recruiting, and career planning
- Funding: The latest developments in capital markets that affect startups
Divided into 13 areas of focus, the book’s contributors explore the metrics you need to run your startup, discuss lean prototyping techniques for hardware, identify costly outsourcing mistakes, provide practical tips on user acquisition, offer branding guidelines, and explain how a choir of angel investors often will sing different parts. And that’s just for starters.
Table of contents
I. Lean Startup
- 1. How We Fooled Ourselves into Delaying Our Startup’s Launch
- 2. How to Build It: Lean Prototyping Techniques for Hardware
- 3. How Many Metrics Do You Need to Run Your Startup?
4. The Lean Stack MVP—A Different Approach
The Lean Stack Flow
- The Vision—Lean Canvas
- The Strategy—Strategy and Risks Board
The Product—Validated Learning Board
- Question: How does one create a card for a product prior to conducting problem and solution interviews?
- Question: What is a minimum viable feature (MVF)? What is the relation to MVP? How does one know which one to use?
- Question: Can you explain the lifecycle of a product through the four stages on the board?
- Question: Where do you capture product and experiment details?
- The Lean Stack in Action
- Now It’s Your Turn
- The Lean Stack Flow
- 5. Software Inventory
6. How to Get Out of the Building with the Validation Board
- 1. The Exploration Method
- 2. The Pitch Method
- 3. The Concierge Method
II. Business Models
- 7. MBA Mondays: Revenue Models—Commerce
- 8. Freemium Pricing for SaaS: Optimizing Paid Conversion Upgrades
9. Why Churn Is So Critical to Success in SaaS
- The Impact of Negative Churn
- How Do You Achieve Negative Churn?
- Same Sales Force for Expansion/Up-sell/Cross-sell?
- How to Track the Different Factors That Make Up Bookings
- When to Focus on Negative Churn?
- Tactics to Help Reduce Churn
- Managing Churn Is Harder if You Are Selling to Small Businesses
- How Churn Affects Valuation
- 10. Achieving the Network Effect: Solving the Chicken or the Egg
- 11. Reverse Network Effects: Why Scale May Be the Biggest Threat Facing Today’s Social Networks
- 12. Business Model Canvas for Puppies (Part I)
III. Customer Discovery and Validation
- 13. All Customers Are Not Created Equal
- 14. You Shouldn’t Use a Survey If...
- 15. A Perfect Use for Personas
- 16. Fucking Ship It Already: Just Not to Everyone at Once
- 17. Stop Validating Your Product
18. Using Surveys to Validate Key Startup Decisions
- So How Do You Get Quality Feedback?
- Using a Survey and a Targeted Audience to Make Smart Decisions
- Create a Great Survey—Turning Key Objectives into Great Questions
- Uncovering Critical Insights
- Putting Results into Action
IV. Marketing: Demand Generation and Optimization
- 19. Very Basic Startup Marketing
20. The Ultimate Guide to Startup Marketing
- Social Media
- Startup PR
- Content Creation
- Test and Iterate
- Best Practices
- 21. What the Highest-Converting Websites Do Differently
22. Understanding the Customer Buying Cycle and Triggers
- The Customer Buying Cycle
- How the Buying Cycle Impacts the Sales Approach Needed
- Understanding Buying Triggers
- Encountering a Customer Too Late in the Buying Cycle
- 23. Building It Is Not Enough: Five Practical Tips on User Acquisition
24. Introduction to A/B Testing for Landing Pages
- Improperly Segmenting Traffic
- Misunderstanding Randomness
- Mixing Experiment Factors
- Data Dredging
- Comparing the Results of Different and Unrelated Experiments
- Inconsistent or Unimportant Metrics
- Naïve Analysis of Results
- Substituting Testing for Creativity and Common Sense
- Make It Easy on Your Developers
- 25. You Built It But They Didn’t Come: Eight Tricks for Marketing Your Mobile App
V. Sales, Marketing, and PR Management
- 26. At Times Not Losing Is as Important as Winning
- 27. Nine Ways to Make Your Startup Grow Virally
28. Our PR Stinks: Here’s What Your Startup Can Learn from It
- The Familiar Doubt
- How Did We Solve the First Problem of Filling the Platform?
- The Big Guys
- Our PR Still Stank
- How, Exactly, Did We Manage to Grow?
- What Were Our End Results with PR?
- What Were Our End Results with Content Marketing?
- At This Point in Time, Our PR Still Sucks
- The Fate of Your Brand
- 29. Some Tips for Interacting with the Press
30. Startup Branding: A Practical Guide for Entrepreneurs
- 1. What does startup branding really mean for an early-stage company? Is it just picking a name and a logo?
- 2. Any favorite startup examples that you think are particularly clueful about brand and drawing out the right emotional response?
- 3. Speaking of names, how do I pick a great name for my startup? Does it really matter all that much?
- 4. What about logos? Can I just hack something together? Use a crowdsourcing service like 99designs? Or is that a waste of time?
- 5. Any tips on where to find a great freelance designer for a startup logo? And what would you consider reasonably priced?
- 6. How do I decide what category my startup falls into? Is it better to find an existing category, or blaze the trail of a new one?
- 7. How much does good branding matter when trying to raise capital? Is smart money really fooled by that kind of thing? Will I look foolish for having invested in branding?
VI. Product Management/Product
31. Sometimes It’s Not the Change They Hate
- Did You Do Any Sort of User Testing Before Launch?
- Did You Test with Current Users or Just New Ones?
- Did You Add Something Useful to Users? Really?
- Do You Mind Losing a Portion of Your Users?
- Have You Honestly Listened to Your Users’ Complaints?
- Have You “Fixed” the Problem by Letting Users Change Settings?
- 32. What You Will/Won’t Learn from Usability Testing
- 33. Product Marketing Contribution
- 34. Time-Boxing Product Discovery
35. Product Management Then and Now
- Spends days:
- Learns about customer behavior:
- Makes case for project funding based on:
- Deep knowledge in:
- Sits with:
- When things don’t go well:
- Strives to please:
- Makes decisions based on:
- Communicates with stakeholders:
- Worries about:
- Secret weapon:
- Strives to create:
- 36. Live-Data Prototypes Versus Production
- 37. Continuous Discovery
- 38. The Role of Product Managers
- 39. Why Companies Should Have Product Editors, Not Product Managers
- 40. Five Outsourcing Mistakes That Will Kill Your Startup
- 31. Sometimes It’s Not the Change They Hate
- VII. Business Development and Scaling
VIII. Funding Strategy
- 43. Micro-VCs and Super Angels Two Years Later: Looking Back and Some Predictions for the Future
- 44. Why Do VCs Have Ownership Targets? And Why 20%?
- 45. How to Evaluate Firms for a Seed VC Syndicate
- 46. A Choir of Angel Investors Sing Different Parts
- 47. Super Pro-Rata Rights Aren’t Super
IX. Company Culture, Organizational
Structure, Recruiting, and Other
- 48. Getting Promoted Too Quickly
- 49. Recruiting Developers? Create an Awesome Candidate Experience
- 50. Startups: Stop Trying to Hire Ninja-Rockstar Engineers
51. How to Hire Hackers: A Realistic Guide for Startups
- You’re a Startup—Have the Founders Make the First Contact
- Interviewing: It’s Not Just About the Role, It’s Also About Who They Will Have Lunch With
- Interviewing: Choose Carefully Which Opportunity to Pitch
- Signing: How to Make Candidates Sign an Employment Agreement More Quickly
- 52. MBA Mondays: Best Hiring Practices
- 53. How to Design a Successful Interview Process for Hiring Top Talent
- 54. Snake-Oil Startup Recruiting
- 55. Recruiting and Culture (MBA Mondays Guest Post)
- 56. Firing
- 57. MBA Mondays: Asking an Employee to Leave the Company
- 58. The Board of Directors—Selecting, Electing, and Evolving
- X. Startup Failure
- XI. Exiting by Selling Your Company
XII. The Startup Mindset and Coping with Startup Pressures
- 63. What It’s Like to Be the CEO: Revelations and Reflections
- 64. How We Fight—Cofounders in Love and War
- 65. Vision Versus Hallucination—Founders and Pivots
- 66. 50 Startup Lessons Learned in 12 Months
- 67. Advice I Wish I Could Have Given Myself Five Years Ago
- 68. The Only Two Questions Founders Need to Answer
- 69. Once You Take Money, the Clock Starts Ticking
70. The Series A Crunch Survivor’s Guide
- 1. Your Team Lacks a Track Record
- 2. Your Product Execution Is Not Competitive with Other Products Investors Are Seeing
- 3. You Lack Product Traction
- 4. The Market You’re Addressing Is Not Big or “Important” Enough
- 5. You’re Fishing in a Recently Poisoned Pond (e.g., the Deal Space Pioneered by Groupon)
- 6. Your Valuation Doesn’t Match Reality
- 7. Your Burn Is Unjustified, Scary, or Lacks Discipline
- 8. You Lack Clients
XIII. Management and Career Advice
- 71. Selling or Funding a Startup? Tips on Surviving Technical Due Diligence
- 72. Playbook for Incoming MBAs to Start a Company out of School
- 73. Manage Your Tech Career
- 74. Hey Entrepreneur—Please Get an MBA
- 75. Why I Left Consulting and Joined a Startup
- Title: Managing Startups: Best Blog Posts
- Release date: May 2013
- Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
- ISBN: 9781449367879
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