Category

Books

Book Short: Culture is King

Book Short:  Culture is King Joy, Inc.:  How We Built a Workplace People Love, by Richard Sheridan, CEO of Menlo Innovations, was a really good read. Like Remote  which I reviewed a few weeks ago, Joy, Inc. is ostensibly a book about one thing — culture — but is also full of good general advice for CEOs and senior managers. Also like Remote, the book was written by the founder and CEO of a relatively small firm that is predominately software engineers, so there are some limitations to its specific lessons unless you adapt them to your own environment. Unlike Remote, though, it’s neither preachy nor ranty, so it’s a more pleasant read.  And I suppose fitting of its title,…

Book short: Life Isn’t Just a Wiki

Book short:  Life Isn’t Just a Wiki One of the best things I can say about Remote: Office Not Required,  by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, is that it was short.  That sounds a little harsh – part of what I mean is that business books are usually WAY TOO LONG to make their point, and this one was blessedly short.  But the book was also a little bit of an angry rant against bad management wrapped inside some otherwise good points about remote management. The book was a particularly interesting read juxtaposed against Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last which I just finished recently and blogged about here, which stressed the importance of face-to-face and in-person contact in order for…

Book Short: Like Reading a Good Speech

Book Short:  Like Reading a Good Speech Leaders Eat Last, by Simon Sinek, is a self-described “polemic” that reads like some of the author’s famous TED talks and other speeches in that it’s punchy, full of interesting stories, has some attempted basis in scientific fact like Gladwell, and wanders around a bit.  That said, I enjoyed the book, and it hit on a number of themes in which I am a big believer – and it extended and shaped my view on a couple of them. Sinek’s central concept in the book is the Circle of Safety, which is his way of saying that when people feel safe, they are at their best and healthiest.  Applied to workplaces, this isn’t…

Book Short: Internet Fiction

Book Short:  Internet Fiction It’s been a long time since I read Tom Evslin’s Hackoff.com, which Tom called a “blook” since he released it serially as a blog, then when it was all done, as a bound book.  Mariquita and I read it together and loved every minute of it.  One post I wrote about it at the time was entitled Like Fingernails on a Chalkboard. The essence of that post was “I liked it, but the truth of the parts of the Internet bubble that I lived through were painful to read,” applies to two “new” works of Internet fiction that I just plowed through this week, as well. Uncommon Stock Eliot Pepper’s brand new startup thriller, Uncommon Stock,…

Book Short: Faster Than The Blink of an Eye

Book Short: Faster Than The Blink of an Eye Michael Lewis is one of those authors for whom my general point of view is “read whatever he writes.” Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt  was no exception.  It’s a book about the high-frequency trading business, how a difference in microseconds can make a difference, and how the complexity of trading has led to enough confusion that virtually no one on Wall Street actually understands how it works any more. I am a capitalist through and through, and I never begrudge Wall Street for making money, even though I do have moments where I doubt the amount of value that finance creates relative to the amount of income they swallow up.  However, that…

Startup CEO: The Online Course

As most of you know by now, I wrote a book that was published last fall called Startup CEO:  A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business.  I’m excited to announce that, starting on January 20th, the book has now been turned into Kauffman Fellows Academy (KFA) online course called Startup CEO.  Similarly, Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson’s highly successful Venture Deals is also going to launch as Venture Deals KFA online course on February 24th. Both will be offered initially on the NovoEd platform. The parties involved in getting it off the ground (besides me) were the team at Kauffman Fellows Academy and NovoEd.  Clint Korver, a serial entrepreneur and Stanford adjunct professor, spearheaded the project, and between filming the course and now, he switched jobs from KFA to be the COO at…

Book Short: Triumph over Adversity

Book Short:  Triumph over Adversity In truth, Malcolm Gladwell’s most recent book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, was a bit of a disappointment.  I thought his first three books, Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, were fantastic, and I routinely refer to them in business.  David and Goliath isn’t bad, it’s just a little light and hangs together a lot less than Gladwell’s other books. I just read a scathing review of it in The New Republic, which I won’t bother linking to, mostly because the reviewer was on a total rant about Gladwell in general and was particularly insulting to people who read Gladwell (an interesting approach to a book review), essentially calling us…

Startup CEO “Bibliography”

Startup CEO “Bibliography” A couple people who read Startup CEO:  A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business asked me if I would publish a list of all the other business books I refer to over the course of the book.  Here it is — I guess in some respects an all-time favorite list for me of business books. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steven Gary Blank Running Lean by Ash Maurya The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development: A Cheat Sheet to the Four Steps to the Epiphany by Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits Profitable Growth Is Everyone’s Business by Ram Charan The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clay Christensen The Innovator’s Solution by…

Lean In, Part II

Lean In, Part II My post about Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In a couple months ago created some great dialog internally at Return Path.  It also yielded a personal email from Sheryl the day after it went up encouraging me to continue “talking about it,” as the book says, especially as a male leader.  Along those lines, since I wrote that initial post, we’ve had a few things happen here that are relevant to comment on, so here goes. We partnered  with the National Center for Women & IT to provide training to our entire organization on unconscious bias.  We had almost 90% of the organization attend an interactive 90 minute training session to explore how these biases work and how…

Book Short: Alignment Well Defined, Part II

Book Short:  Alignment Well Defined, Part II Getting the Right Things Done:  A Leader’s Guide to Planning and Execution, by Pascal Dennis, is an excellent and extraordinarily practical book to read if you’re trying to create or reengineer your company’s planning, goal setting, and accountability processes. It’s very similar to the framework that we have generally adapted our planning and goals process off of at Return Path for the last few years, Patrick Lencioni’s The Advantage (book, post/Part I of this series).  My guess is that we will borrow from this and adapt our process even further for 2014. The book’s history is in Toyota’s Lean Manufacturing system, and given the Lean meme floating around the land of tech startups…

Startup CEO (OnlyOnce- the book!), Part IV – Book Launches Today!

Startup CEO (OnlyOnce- the book!), Part IV – Book Launches Today! My book is officially on sale on Amazon and iTunes today.  The full detailed outline is here if you’re interested, and the link to buy it is here. This is very exciting.  I had been saying for a while that I had no idea whether 50 people would buy it or 5,000, but the publisher (Wiley) tells me we had over 2,000 pre-orders, so that’s a great start, at least. So thanks to those 2,000 brave souls, and anyone else who buys it as well.  I hope you enjoy it and look forward to your feedback directly, via OnlyOnce, via the #StartupCEO hashtag, via a rating/review on Amazon, or…