Victorian philosopher William James had a theory about emotion and behavior: It isn’t that our feelings guide our actions (feel happy and you will laugh). On the contrary, it is our actions that guide our emotions (laugh and you will feel happy). This led James to a remarkable conclusion: “If you want a quality, act as if you already have it.” Roused by James’s astonishing discovery, renowned psychologist and bestselling author Richard Wiseman confirms James’s principle and shows how the self-help genre has for too long put the cart before the horse in trying to help us take control of our lives.
Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy–And How to Make Them Work for You
The Atlantic Philanthropies
Giving While Living
“If you give while living, the money goes to work quickly — everyone gets to see the action and the results.”
— Chuck Feeney
This book explores Atlantic Founder Chuck Feeney’s long-standing belief that people with wealth should use it during their lifetimes to help others.
Written by journalist and philanthropy expert Heidi Waleson, along with an introduction by Forbes senior editor Steven Bertoni, the book traces Chuck Feeney’s evolution as a philanthropist, and how his Giving While Living philosophy has influenced Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and other donors who have decided to devote the majority of their fortunes to better humanity.
Nudist on the Late Shift by Po Bronson
“Bootstrap” by Ken Hess
“An excellent reference for anyone wondering what it takes to be an entrepreneur.”
— John Glynn, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Stanford Graduate School of Business
What’s it like to start a business from scratch? I found it to be intensely creative and stimulating — so rewarding that I’ve done it more than once. Yet the very thought of leaving a job to start your own business scares many people. Should you start your own company? My book Bootstrap provides an honest, insider’s window into the process I went through, starting with a dream and ending years later with the sale of my company, Banner Blue Software, at a handsome price.
The College Student Startup Guide: 12 Steps To Building a Successful College Startup
Learn how College Student Entrepreneurs have become Shark Tank Contestants, Made Millions Before Graduation, and Now Drive Growth at Some of the Fastest Growing Startups in the World.
The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you
The Mom Test is a quick, practical guide that will save you time, money, and heartbreak. They say you shouldn’t ask your mom whether your business is a good idea, because she loves you and will lie to you. This is technically true, but it misses the point. You shouldn’t ask anyone if your business is a good idea.
Billion Dollar Fantasy: The High-Stakes Game Between FanDuel and DraftKings That Upended Sports in America
From Sports Illustrated‘s Albert Chen comes the story of two companies whose battle unleashed a carpet bombing of advertising as they sought supremacy in an exploding fantasy sports and gambling market: In a time of gushing venture capital money, FanDuel and DraftKings turned into billion-dollar companies seemingly overnight — then, just as quickly, found themselves the target of FBI and Department of Justice investigations, and facing likely destruction.
THE MOVEMENT THAT IS TRANSFORMING HOW NEW PRODUCTS ARE BUILT AND LAUNCHED
Blitzscaling, by Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh, shares the secret to starting and scaling massively valuable companies. For most of the world, the terms “Silicon Valley” and “startup” are synonymous. Indeed, Silicon Valley is home to a disproportionate number of companies that have grown from garage startups into global giants. But what is the secret to these startups’ extraordinary success? Contrary to the popular narrative, it’s not their superhuman founders or savvy venture capitalists. Rather, it’s that they have learned how to blitzscale.
Brief Overview of ‘The Lean Start-Up’ by Eric Ries
The ‘Lean Startup’ by Eric Ries (2011) is great if you are planning on pitching a real web-based start-up to Silicon Valley investors who will expect that you have read it thoroughly. I wrote the following short primer for the rest of you, because the book is almost 300 pages long. Geoff Archer, PhD Royal Roads University Victoria, BC Canada
This book was written by a computer software engineer who had previously spent many years designing a website which was intended to sell avatars(those computer icons that kind of look like you). After four years of development work the product was launched, and no one cared. They sold nothing. This was not his start-up. He was an employee. He was paid very well for his time. Still, he was furious that he had wasted such a large percentage of his life working on something that the market did not want. So, Eric Ries wrote this book in order to explore and then lay out a better way to start a company. In short, you test your offerings as often as you can. You employ the scientific method. And you do not invest much of your time building anything unless customers are paying you for it. As Silicon Valley Venture Capitalists like to say, you ‘fail fast and fail cheap.‘ To be clear, you do this, not because your goal is to fail. You are simply more realistic about your odds of getting the offering right on the very first try. You learn through failure and to do so fast and cheap is better than failing slowly and expensively, of course.
The philosophy that Ries espouses could also be described as Ready-Fire-Aim(oft referenced by Sarasvathy in Effectuation). The idea behind this deliberate misconstruction of an age old idiom is that you build a prototype, get it in front of customers, observe their reaction, adjust your prototype accordingly, and repeat (until you are making scads of money).He calls this paradigmBuild-MeasureLearn. We’ve probably all done this before while playing the game of Battleship. Shots are made in order to gain feedback and eventually triangulate the unseeable target fleet. A clever entrepreneur would do well to invoke Build-Measure-Learn in determining Product Market Fit. Ries presents Build-Measure-Learn as a cycle. Represented visually it bears more than a passing resemblance to Kolb’s (1984) theory of adult learning: Think-Plan-Do-Reflect. OK, and maybe it’s also reminding us to Lather, Rinse, and Repeat.
Borrowing an abbreviation from major league sports, Ries rewrites the meaning. In this context, MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. When engaged in Build-Measure-Learn, he does not want you spending a lot of time or money on your prototype. Just do the least possible work it would take in order to convey the idea of a working product or service to a potential customer. With a durable good it is worth noting that this would probably look a lot like Ted Baker’s Bricolage theory. Instead of having a CAD drawing fabricated by an expert welder, a bicycle street sweeper invention would be prototyped by duct taping a broom to an existing bicycle. Simple. Notably, Ries describes some examples as a ‘concierge’ or a ‘Wizard of Oz’ MVP. In such instances, an entrepreneur prototypes and tests a complex service offering with a very basic ad or website. You might think there is a market for a service that finds your dream car in the U.S. (at U.S. prices), does the paperwork, and delivers it to you here in Canada at a discount (to Canadian market cars.) Expensive ways to get started in this business might include buying a warehouse full of Acuras and/or paying to have an elaborate website built. Alternatively, what the Lean Start Up would advocate is spending as little as possible to get customer feedback. Maybe you could just put an ad on craigslist offering to consult with people via Skype. From these labor-intensive but otherwise free conversations (where you are acting like a hotel concierge), you would learn what customers are actually willing to pay for…
Pivot or Persevere
OK, so if this book is about applying the scientific method to the testing of new business ideas, what does it suggest that an entrepreneur actually do with this new information? Well, the main message is that you frequently revisit the decision to change what you are doing OR carry on with the status quo; to either Pivot or Persevere. The word ‘pivot’ was probably chosen instead of the word ‘change’, because Ries’ methodical approach to testing is not likely to suggest a wholly different business model or product. One example of a pivot that I can proffer is the LAZBOY chair. First offered for sale at a hardware store in Michigan more than 80 years ago, no orders were taken in an entire summer. Devastated, the inventor asked the shopkeep for his advice. What he heard changed the course of his family’s fortunes for generations. To paraphrase, “this wooden recliner looked uncomfortable to many potential buyers. Maybe you should try to put some fabric on it.” That’s right, the iconic LAZBOY chair was originally designed as outdoor furniture, a reclining deck chair. What a payoff there was to that pivot!