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on 19 February 2017
Excellent book. I enjoyed reading it.
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on 8 October 2012
This is a very good book, an insightful narrative of the one of the most successful business accelerators in the Silicon Valley, Y-Combinator. I have come across the stories of the some of the companies they hosted, indeed I use dropbox and read about Airbnb, but this presents a perspective I least expected, a statistically balanced model of investment to mitigate the risks of start-ups, but, at the same time, to take the upside of the creative energy. I liked the style of presentation, a running narrative with interesting asides on founders' backgrounds, business models and ideas that may or may not have been accepted. Being in a similar stage of life - I am working to set up my second company at the current time - I could connect with many of the challenges the founders faced, though I am in a different sector with different challenges (in Education, where Minimum Viable Product, as in technology businesses, may create several ethical and commercial problems). I am also fascinated to note how Y-Combinator may back a good founding team even when they don't like the idea, another thing only possible in technology businesses, I suppose. Overall, a great book, a must have for entrepreneurs, mentors and educators, and a great addition to my collection alongside Eric Ries' The Lean Startup, Steven Gary Blank's The Start-up Owners Manual and Jessica Livingstone's Founders At Work.
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on 19 September 2014
A great look into the Brahmins of Silicon Valley. There is probably no other brand with such ache if you want to hatch a startup. This book gets you to be a fly on the wall and get a glimpse at that world. But - it almost feels like it would be so much better if this was a blog typed out each week. The stories could be deeper and that would be great.
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on 5 May 2016
Really enjoyed this book! Startups are never easy, and accelerators do attract a fair share of detractors. However, I feel that this book gave an honest (also slightly positive) view of what accelerators can do for startups - from expert guidance and a suitable environment to networking and funding opportunities, it does provide a critical launch pad for startups. Y Combinator's approach also leaves sufficient breathing space for founders to make decisions on their own. While not all accelerator programmes are the same, I think this book gave a useful insight into what goes on inside the crystal ball for those who are outside.

A good source of aspiration/encouragement for all those startup hopefuls out there. Speaking as one myself!
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on 4 November 2012
The Launch Pad is an incredibly well written and easy to read account of last summer's Y Combinator batch and the characters within it, and also profiles many of the thought leaders of today's tech startup world.

While of interest as a business book giving insight into the phenomenon of startup incubators, there's also a novelistic aspect, Stross really enables you to get to know his subjects as the narrative progresses.

This is a must read for anyone interested in startups.
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on 21 May 2015
This started slowly and I thought cmmmmmmm, maybe I'll stop but bot am I glad I didn't. Though the anecdotes sometimes go on a bit the gems hidden within this work of art are worth pursing to the end. It was great!
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on 30 November 2015
Really interesting read. Could have spent more time following up on the stories in the book and perhaps interviewed some of the founders on their experiences. Overall would recommend it.
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on 8 February 2017
Really recommended as a read - great insight to the incubator and motivating if you have a start up and want to see how others are thinking
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on 4 December 2013
Regardless of what kind of business you're in, this book will make you want to code. And I've never wanted to code.
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on 9 July 2016
Very interesting book with a slightly biased view of the world.
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