July 5, 2020

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Startup Myths and Models, book review: A quirky guide to Startup Land

Startup Myths and Models: What You Will never Understand in Business School • By Rizwan Virk • Columbia Business School Publishing • 288 pages • ISBN 978-0231194525 • $27.95 / £22

There are plenty of clichés about how to discovered a productive startup, but you happen to be not likely to know which are actually valuable and which are myths till you have done it a couple of times.

You can find a prosperity of encounter in Startup Myths and Models drawn from Rizwan Virk’s 25 years of constructing his own startups and investing in other people’s. There are simple do’s and don’ts, and a nuanced discussion of how to convey to if a truism is heading to enable or harm your certain scenario. This is the kind of abilities most founders never have direct accessibility to, and there are plenty of useful nuggets right here. 

In certain, the sections on funding the enterprise, knowing VCs, income and marketing, relocating from coding to administration, looking for a new business product and knowing what your enterprise is actually well worth need to be valuable to people with no encounter in these spots.

Having said that, there are also much way too lots of pop culture references that never add a excellent deal: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Conan the Barbarian, Magic the Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, the Odyssey, Star Trek and a bit of Buddhist record by using Keanu Reeves. One paragraph manages to cram in the two Pixar and Princess Bride creator William Goldman.

These relatively cheesy allusions are there to fill out the conceit that startups conform to the common Hero’s Journey laid out by Joseph Campbell. The myths are grouped into 6 levels, from The Phone to Journey (acquiring your startup started off may be like stormtroopers murdering Luke Skywalkers’ household, leaving him no rationale not to go preserve the princess) to The Underworld and the Return (your startup may fall short or get acquired, which may be like the hobbits heading home to the Shire and kicking out Saruman).

This gimmicky framework relatively lets down the book’s useful product. The models of the title — the startup market lifecycles, the four quadrants of pivoting and hiring, the checklists for knowing motivations and expectations, how to estimate consumer acquisition costs and life time worth — are tricky to find because they are scattered between the distinctive sections. 

SEE: Virtual hiring strategies for position seekers and recruiters (no cost PDF) (TechRepublic)

And infuriatingly, it means that there is not room to incorporate some of the more exciting-sounding myths, like whether you need to establish a thing you happen to be passionate about in full, and whether the author’s sick-fated overall look on The Each day Clearly show proves anything at all about whether there is such a issue as lousy publicity. In its place, they are truncated introductions to a no cost PDF that you can download in exchange for signing up for the author’s mailing checklist — a common piece of startup expansion hacking.

This format also means that alternatively of ending on a take note of expansion, wisdom or the suggestion that if you complete one particular startup and want to go straight on to the following one particular, then Startup Land may be your natural home, the guide just stops with Virk needing a bridge loan. That is followed by a (useful) appendix with the distinctive market size and valuation curves that use more than the lifecycle of a startup. This expands on the discussion of the distinctive levels of the market your startup is in from the first myth.

It is really also a minimal disappointing that an or else thoughtful guide about founding and growing a enterprise published for publication in 2020 has room to mention AOL and Yahoo, but isn’t going to have anything at all to say about diversity, which need to have been on the agenda even before recent situations. Even when Virk is busting the myth that ‘two guys and a business product are better than two guys and a plan’, you will find no discussion of whether it may not be two guys. Still, it really is wonderful to see an individual place out that you never have to code till three in the morning to make a startup productive, even when they admit they do it by themselves.

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