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Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days (Recipes: a Problem-Solution Ap) Paperback – 1 Oct 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 474 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 1st Corrected ed. 2008. Corr. 4th printing 2008 edition (1 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1430210788
  • ISBN-13: 978-1430210788
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Jessica Livingston is a founding partner at Y Combinator, a seed-stage venture firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Mountain View, California. She was previously vice president of marketing at investment bank Adams Harkness. In addition to her work with startups at Y Combinator, she organizes Startup School (www.StartupSchool.org). She has a bachelor's degree in English from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jim Hershkowitz on 2 Jan. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Many authors have written "how to" styled books on start ups - always a pain because there is so much bias in their 'theory'. This is MUCH better: learn from real life stories of successful people!

+++ What I love most about it: it's a no b*s* book where you can learn from the interviews of some of the most famous entrepreneurs of the 90s (at Apple, Adobe, Flikr, Craiglist, Hotmail...). The stories are just so inspiring when the real people tell them and what a collection!
--- What I like least: it's only about software/tech companies hence some learnings will not apply to other industries. This is not the core of the books through so it's a really minor criticism.

Overall, extremely inspiring book. I recommend it to all would-be entrepreneurs or simply to those curious about how these famous companies got started!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris TOP 100 REVIEWER on 25 Oct. 2007
Format: Hardcover
What we have here are interviews of 32 founders of start-up companies, interviewed by Jessica Livingston. To most readers, few of the names are familiar (e.g. Steve Wozniak and Apple Computer) and the interviews will often seem rambling, poorly edited, etc. That is a fair reaction. However, they have the value of being extemporaneous rather than "sanitized." However different the start-ups' circumstances were and however different their founders' perspectives on those circumstances may be, there are common themes: naiveté, almost unlimited enthusiasm, little (if any) fear of failure, and especially, a rock-solid faith in what could be accomplished. Those with an ability to read between the lines will also develop a sense that most of the founders do not second-guess themselves when recalling their blunders.

To me, the greatest single value of this book is that we are learning about 32 start-ups from eyewitness accounts provided by those centrally involved. True, human memory can often be selective and on occasion self-serving. Nonetheless, these founders (with few exceptions) seem to be making a sincere effort to "tell it like it was" without aid of a ghostwriter or even an editor with special talents for clarity and (especially) concision.

Of special interest to me are the interviews of Craig Newmark (Craigslist), Blake Ross (Firefox), Paul Buchheit (Gmail), Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail), Mitchell Kapor (Lotus Development), Max Levchin (PayPal), Mike Ramsay (TiVo), and Tim Brady (Yahoo). Of course, each reader must determine for herself and himself which interviews are most interest and, perhaps more to the point, which interviews are most valuable to those who about to launch a new company or have only recently done so.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sepponen Bemmu on 13 Nov. 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is just pure motivation with an all-star cast. Especially memorable are the stories about Hot or Not and Tickle. Sometimes a good idea is all that is needed. Then there are the other types of stories, where success came from engineering ingenuity, like the story of Adobe. I have read around a dozen books about dot com success stories, and this one was definitely the best. If you need more reasons to get it, consider it has both Paul Graham AND Joel Spolsky sharing their experiences in the same book!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Markus Karlsson on 12 May 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is without doubt one of the best reads available for entrepreneurs looking to start a a web 2.0 company. The number of case studies and insights offered both on successes and failures and practical approaches to impossible situations is simply amazing.

I've started up a couple of companies and been living in the web 1.0 and now web 2.0 worlds, and am also a consultant on many web 2.0 projects and this is my recommended read for the entrepreneurs who want more insight into launching their online businesses.

What is particularly important about the book is that most of the companies and individuals covered are extremely relevant today and are market leaders in many of the emerging ebusiness sectors.
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Format: Paperback
Good book that contains some fantastic interviews that will help motivate and inspire anyone who runs a business.

Lots of useful lessons to be learnt, from initially starting up right through to selling your company. The founders are very candid and freely admit to the many mistakes they made between them, so the book contains lots of advice to help readers avoid making the same errors.

It also talks nicely about the highs and the lows that the founders faced, which as a fellow 'founder' is great to hear about.

The big disadvantage to this book is that it's very American focused, it would be nice to have a version with more stories from UK/European founders.
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Format: Paperback
This books gives a detailed account from individuals involved in some top Tech companies. Describing what they went through turning their idea into a business. Although since a lot of the companies went through very similar stages the interviews can be a bit repetitive.

If you want to know all about the goings on of the companies and their 'products' then this isn't for you, it focuses on the business side of setting up the company, or more precisely their struggles in the business side of things.

Overall a very enjoyable informative read. Maybe not for everyone though.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mikko Jarvenpaa on 29 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
I agree with most of the rave reviews about the contests of the book. It is filled with inspiring geek-epics and is the foremost collection of its type.

Having said that, I my score reflects the overall quality of the book. The print quality is terrible. The book looks like it has been produced with a prototype print-on-demand printer. Although it is full of vintage stories from the early days of tech, maybe it shouldn't look like it's come through dot-matrix printer, anyway? Combine this with the font being very small and the ink used not black, but grey, the reading experience becomes very difficult.

I have contacted Apress about this over Twitter and over email, to no avail.

Do not buy this edition (Paperback, ISBN 9-781430-210788) if your eyes are dear to you.
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