- Copertina flessibile: 480 pagine
- Editore: Princeton Univ Pr (12 aprile 2013)
- Collana: Kauffman Foundation Series on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 0691158304
- ISBN-13: 978-0691158303
- Peso di spedizione: 748 g
- Media recensioni: 3.0 su 5 stelle Visualizza tutte le recensioni (1 recensione cliente)
- Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon: n. 10.197 in Libri in altre lingue (Visualizza i Top 100 nella categoria Libri in altre lingue)
- Visualizza indice completo
The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup (Inglese) Copertina flessibile – 12 apr 2013
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Noam Wasserman is an associate professor at Harvard Business School.
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Leggo sempre libri in inglese/americano ma questo è davvero uno dei peggiori per come è scritto.
Peccato, perché a sprazzi il contenuto è davvero interessante.
Mi sono FERMATO A META'...
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Just occasionally you read a book that you wish you had read 25 years ago. I worked in the entrepreneurial/venture capital sector 1984-2007 and I so wish I had read this book in 1984. Unfortunately it was not published until 2012 so it was not possible but if you are (budding) entrepreneur, potential start-up hire, angel investor or venture capitalist you should really read this book. This is the first book that really gets to the human side of entrepreneurship but is based on the evidence of a ten year study of some 2000 technology and life science start-ups for the period 2000-9.
Note the title; it is dilemmas not dilemma. In this book Wasserman identifies a number of defining moments in the trajectory of a start-up where the entrepreneur must make a choice which while it may appear to be operational or tactical ends up having significant strategic consequences For example a the first decision for an founder to determine what is his or her motivation? Is it wealth-or-control ("do you want to be king or want to be rich?").
This really resonated with me. For 12 years I was the Executive Chairman of Nanyang Ventures which had three early stage funds doing Series A & B investments. One of innovations when I introduced at Nanyang Ventures was to psychologically profile the entrepreneurs. What we discovered after five years is that our winners had three key characteristics.
1. They had high numerical intelligence. They could understand the numbers. We thought we could compensate for those who had high general and verbal intelligence but low numerical IQ with a competent CFO. We were wrong.
2. They were dominated by the desire for economic success. The personality tool we used was the Humm Wadsworth as it is one of the few tests that measures this factor. Initially we were looking for energetic team builders who were decisive and competitive (kings). Again we were wrong. Wasserman lists the problems that ‘king’ entrepreneurs and venture capital investors may have. We had all of them, many in triplicate.
3. They were also dominated by the desire to complete projects and saw the start-up as a series of projects. They were extremely task orientated and focused on the technical details. They were into planning and compulsively reading everything they could about a project. Their passion ignited the rest of their team. We had not picked this factor as being necessary; again we were wrong.
Some of the Amazon reviews criticise it for being academic. I could not disagree more. This book resonates with reality
The problem is that of seven start-ups only two will be operating in a year later! That is a 71% failure rate. Imagine if close to all business that started succeeded, and went on to employ only five people. In a short time our “national scar,” unemployment, would be on the way down and prosperity on the way up.
Naom Wasserman has assembled superb data from his research on over 10,000 new businesses that were set to grow large. His research focused exclusively on businesses that were intended to grow large, not on lifestyle businesses intended only to keep the founder comfortable. He also accessed a wide range of reliable data from other sources to formulate this book.
What makes Wasserman’s book so unusual is his focus on a fact over research overlooks. More business start-ups fail because of internal problems caused by the founders’ errors of judgement than by external causes. If founders in the initial stages could make better decisions, many more businesses would be saved, and more would thrive.
Wasserman has identified clear a set of dilemmas facing founders. Choices have to be made between alternatives with no choice obviously better than another. All come with significant upsides and downsides. Solved appropriately, the founders will survive to face the next dilemma. Fail, and there could be no next dilemma.
“This book’s central message is that these founding decisions need to be made by design, not by default,” say Wasserman.
There are four primary founding decisions that make up the content of the book. Each dilemma is analysed, and its implications made clear. This clarity will help you, and those you care about make better, safer decisions.
At the “Pre-founding” stage, there are a set of dilemmas regarding when to launch the start-up. There are at least three major areas of considerations. If you do not have enough money, it may be wise to work for someone else until you do. Perhaps you should you borrow money and start right now? If you delay the start of the business, will you have missed the wave?
There is no one right answer to this question, and it requires the consideration of a number of factors. Are you able to ensure the security of your family (if you are responsible for one?) If you have savings or a retrenchment package will that suffice? Does your life-partner earn sufficiently to support the family? If she does, is she completely committed to your success to pay her part while you play yours? If not, the strain of founding the business may exhaust your strength and shatter your relationship. Are you locked in the golden handcuffs of a secure job?
These and many more profound and difficult questions need probing and honest answers.
Once you have made the decision to start a business, you face the “Founding Team Dilemmas” . Are you able to start a business alone or should you have others doing this with you? There are always skills that are required, but cannot reside in one person. Then there may be a need to work with another person who has your commitment to the success of the venture.
The need to work with others raises the “Relationship Dilemma” of to attract. Will the business work best if you team up with friends, family, acquaintances or strangers? Should you seek someone you have actually worked with before?
The “Role Dilemma” follows from this. What are the positions each one of you should assume in the new business?
How should each person be rewarded for their contribution to the venture? If you reward with more equity than is deserved, you cannot take it back when this becomes apparent. “Reward Dilemmas” are especially dangerous at the beginning of a business when there is nothing tangible. Giving away half of nothing but a promise is easy. However, when the business makes money, paying dividends to someone who never deserved it takes on a different hue. Few mistakes sour relationships more profoundly.
Beyond the dilemmas of the founding team are the “Investor Dilemmas.” Most businesses require funding to take off in a meaningful way.
You can turn to family and friends, “angel” investors, or venture capitalists. Accessing each these sources become progressively harder, and each poses its dilemmas.
For example, when take money from you pensioned parents, you do this believing you will succeed. Five of seven businesses never succeed causing great harm to people close to you. Borrowing from family and friends is best when it is a gift that come with love, not an investment.
Angel investors are investors but tend not to be professional investors. They are often people who have money and are prepared to “take a punt” on what looks like a “good idea” in exchange for equity and a high return. As with all investors, you will be required give up a portion of your business to the investor in exchange for the support.
At every stage there are dilemmas that if not confronted and not addressed thoughtfully, will do more damage to the fledgling business than problems that come from external forces.
Self-inflicted wounds can be avoided. Forewarned is forearmed. Read Wasserman’s profound book.
Readability Light ---+- Serious
Insights High +---- Low
Practical High -+--- Low
*Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy and is the author of Strategy that Works.
Being an entrepreneur, having worked for a startup, small, medium and large companies I highly recommend this book not only for entrepreneurs but for executives in companies that wish to develop a new product / service and want to understand many of the issues they will encounter (people, product, etc).
This book is great. I only hope the next that I read about startups is as good as this one.