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Startup Boards: Getting the Most out of Your Board of Directors (Startup Now) Hardcover – 7 Feb 2014

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (7 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118443667
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118443668
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.2 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From the Inside Flap

Let′s face it, as founders and entrepreneurs you have a lot on your plate, from building your product, landing customers, and building a team to managing your finances and raising money. As you develop your business, especially after you raise capital, you should have a board of directors usually three to seven individuals who′ll seek your attention and, at times, tell you what to do. You′ll also discover that with the formation of a board come the inevitable board meetings.

So how does an entrepreneur manage this beast called the board, which has many heads, and even more opinions? Indeed, dealing with this aspect of a startup can be tricky for anyone. That′s why Brad Feld a Boulder, Colorado based entrepreneur turned venture capitalist and seed investor Mahendra Ramsinghani have written Startup Boards. In it, they skillfully demystify board dynamics and the inner workings of a boardroom for today′s entrepreneur.

Establishing an objective outside group is essential for startups, especially to keep you on track, provide you with support and advice, call you out when you flail, and, in some cases, save you from yourself. Here, you′ll not only gain a better understanding of the softer dynamics involved with startup boards, but you′ll also become familiar with the various legal and governance aspects associated with them.

Along the way, Feld and Ramsinghani detail the best practices that can make startup boards more effective. They, along with twenty other entrepreneurs, board members, and lawyers, share their real–world experience in this area, and provide examples of what works, and, equally as important, what doesn′t. From proactively building a high–performing board and running more productive meetings to learning by sitting on the boards of other organizations, this book offers valuable insights into a necessary part of any successful startup.

Engaging and informative, Startup Boards is a practical guide to one of the most important pieces of the startup puzzle.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Startup Boards

"In addition to walking you through, in great detail, how a board functions, Brad has adopted many of the Lean Startup approaches to building, operating, and managing your board in a way that resembles continuous deployments. Any practitioner of Lean Startup would do well to use this approach to building their board."
Eric Ries, author of the New York Times bestseller The Lean Startup

"I′ve had the opportunity to serve on a range of boards for companies at various stages in their lifecycle so I know firsthand that building an effective board, and leveraging it wisely, is both a challenge and an opportunity. This new Brad Feld book will help you get it right."
Steve Case, Chairman and CEO, Revolution; cofounder, AOL

"I′ve been fortunate enough to sit on a few startup boards with Brad. His ′less is more′ approach to board meetings keeps the process efficient and focused on strategy. If you have any role on a board of directors, stop messing with PowerPoint and read this book right now. I guarantee that you′ll get far more satisfaction from your future interactions."
David Cohen, CEO, Techstars

"Having sat on multiple boards with Brad and his partners at Foundry Group as well as currently being the CEO of GetSatisfaction, I greatly appreciate the power of an effective board for a fast–growing startup. This book shows you the way."
Wendy Lea, CEO, GetSatisfaction

"An excellent board can dramatically help an entrepreneur while a lousy board can sink a company. This book can help you learn how to be on the right side of that equation."
Craig Dauchy, Partner and Head of Venture Capital Group, Cooley LLP

"Having been involved early on the Zynga board with Brad, we both experienced a radically new board approach while scaling up a company at an unprecedented pace. While there is a time and place for traditional board governance, an active, involved, and engaged board is required for any startup. Learn how to do it right in this book."
J. Sanford (Sandy) Miller, General Partner, Institutional Venture Partners

"Brad is a powerful force in the universe and his board–level membership was a booster rocket that helped us grow so fast. This book will help make CEOs more effective at dealing with the personalities that can be on a board, and I would consider it required reading for any board member so they can amplify their impact."
Bre Pettis, CEO, MakerBot

"While board meetings should be helpful to entrepreneurs, many find them to be worthless and tedious. This book creates a framework for developing a high–functioning board that is a real asset to a company′s success."
Jason Mendelson, Managing Director, Foundry Group

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book - good, smart, straight-forward advice. Very practical and very sensible. It certainly fills a gap.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good content advice and guidance....
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 47 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Particularly good for high-tech, venture funded startups 21 Jun. 2014
By J. Elwell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read numerous books on Boards of Directors, and have sat on both Boards of Directors and Boards of Advisors. I read Brad Feld’s blog (Feld Thoughts), and have learned a lot from it, so I was looking forward to reading this book.

On the positive side, it is well written, and an easier read than many books on Boards (not exactly a scintillating topic). It is quite thorough, and covers some topics that I have not seen covered elsewhere (e.g., Going Out of Business). It is very strong on communications with your Board, better than any other book I have read.

My one significant concern speaks to the authors’ backgrounds. The book is very much oriented toward startups that are involved with venture capital, that go through a seed round of financing, then Round A, Round B, etc., and that are internet or software related. This is not surprising, given the authors’ backgrounds, but it makes the book less useful to the vast majority of startups that are not as described.

If you are a startup in the high-tech, high-growth, venture-funded arena, by all means buy this book, read, reread it, and pay attention to its sage advice.

If, however, you are like most startups, funded by friends and families, expecting to grow as fast as internal cash allows, and are in a non-high-tech business, you will still learn a lot from this book, but I would recommend you first read “5 Steps to Board Success” (Mark Daly) and/or “Creating Effective Boards for Private Enterprises” (John Ward).

A couple of specific comments:

(a) In several places the authors recommend that you have your attorney attend board meetings and take the minutes. Perhaps this is important for the types of companies they invest in, but I believe it is overkill for most companies – no board I have sat on has done this. That said, make sure the person taking minutes (perhaps the corporate secretary) knows what s/he is doing so the minutes are concise, accurate, and only include appropriate material.

(b) Many startups formed today (perhaps a majority) are LLCs (limited liability companies) rather than corporations. LLCs do not have Boards of Directors. They can have Boards of Advisors, or (if manager managed) can have a “board” of members who act like Directors, appointing executives, etc. While this book has a (good) chapter on Boards of Advisors, I wish they had integrated more discussion of LLCs into this chapter in particular, and into the book as a whole. I do not believe they mention LLCs anywhere in the entire book.

Any startup CEO will learn a lot from this book; CEOs of high-tech, high-growth, venture funded startups will particularly benefit.
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended to anyone interested in how to run a startup board effectively! 28 Mar. 2017
By Matt S - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brad is unbelievably knowledgeable and -- more than that -- generous with his knowledge. This is one of many books he's written to help entrepreneurs. I've read all of them, and I've found this one to be particularly useful in helping us set the right tone with our board. Brad makes practical recommendations throughout that we have put into use and invariably they've helped tremendously. Highly recommended to anyone interested in how to run a board effectively!
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read for the newbies and veterans of the startup world. 27 Dec. 2016
By MVMAmazon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A must for entrepreneurs and board members. Newbie or a veteran? It doesn't matter. This book covers the essentials: What is a board? Its purpose? Who to have on the board, how to recruit them, details to pay attention to when recruiting, dealing with conflicts, selling the startup etc. It is all in here. If you're a veteran, this will refresh your memory and give you unique viewpoints from "guest authors" from accomplished startups, VC firms etc.

The only reason why I give it 4 stars is because the book revolves/uses term "VCs" all the time, but doesn't mention "angel/seed investors." Nevertheless, the book is very useful in both scenarios.

My co-founders, investors and fellow board members will be reading this.

P.S. The book has a nice group of checklists in the appendix to help you out in utilizing the material.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Upping Your Game in the Board Room 3 Sept. 2014
By Noam - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just posted a long review of this book to my blog. The short version of that review: Whether you are hesitating to build your board or already actively managing it, read this book. Underline its diagnoses, and put asterisks next to its prescriptions. Its content is most relevant to those who have (or may soon have) investors on their boards, but much is also relevant to other types of boards. As you face the issues Feld and Ramsinghani raise, you will hopefully save yourself much time and unnecessary pain down the road by knowing common board-management pitfalls and how to prevent or resolve them.
5.0 out of 5 stars It's so good that I re-skim sections of it right before a ... 15 April 2017
By Fayez Mohamood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a first time startup founder and CEO. Over the past three years, our company grew from 4 people to over 100 and our board meetings evolved with the scale of the business as well. This book was critical in helping me learn how to navigate the dynamics of the board and operate at a much higher level than I normally would have. It's so good that I re-skim sections of it right before a board meeting to mentally switch from my operator CEO hat to the board member CEO hat.
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