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Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days (Recipes: a Problem-Solution Ap) (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 11 mar 2009

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Reseña del editor

Now available in paperback―with a new preface and interview with Jessica Livingston about Y Combinator!

Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days is a collection of interviews with founders of famous technology companies about what happened in the very earliest days. These people are celebrities now. What was it like when they were just a couple friends with an idea? Founders like Steve Wozniak (Apple), Caterina Fake (Flickr), Mitch Kapor (Lotus), Max Levchin (PayPal), and Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail) tell you in their own words about their surprising and often very funny discoveries as they learned how to build a company.

Where did they get the ideas that made them rich? How did they convince investors to back them? What went wrong, and how did they recover?

Nearly all technical people have thought of one day starting or working for a startup. For them, this book is the closest you can come to being a fly on the wall at a successful startup, to learn how it's done.

But ultimately these interviews are required reading for anyone who wants to understand business, because startups are business reduced to its essence. The reason their founders become rich is that startups do what businesses do―create value―more intensively than almost any other part of the economy. How? What are the secrets that make successful startups so insanely productive? Read this book, and let the founders themselves tell you.

Biografía del autor

Jessica Livingston is a founding partner at Y Combinator, a seed-stage venture firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Mountain View, California. She was previously vice president of marketing at investment bank Adams Harkness. In addition to her work with startups at Y Combinator, she organizes Startup School ( She has a bachelor's degree in English from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

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1 de 1 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Excellent 12 de febrero de 2017
Por Graybeard - Publicado en
Formato: Tapa blanda Compra verificada
This is a wonderful collection of interviews of company founders and co-founders. Kudos to the author for asking good questions and kudos to the interviewees for their candid, fascinating, detailed answers.

What surprised me most was how down-to-earth and normal most of these successful people were. Only a couple of them seemed full of themselves. The rest, surprisingly, were just the opposite. Their stories about their startup days provided insights into their values, motivations, aspirations, points of view, work ethic; as well as their worries, fears, doubts, and concerns; plus their approach to making tough decisions and a recognition of their personal limitations and flaws. Their interview responses are full of insights into their decisions about business development, product development, product management, pricing, promotion, distribution, customer service, technical support, accounting, finance, hiring and technology choices; and dealing with venture capitalists, business partners and actual or potential competitors.

The interviews also provide a lot of insights into technology trends and market trends during the time that the founders' companies were starting up.

Here are the companies whose founders were interviewed, in the order they appear in the book: PayPal, Hotmail, Apple, Excite, Software Arts, Lotus Development, Iris Associates, Groove Networks, Pyra Labs (, Yahoo, Research in Motion, Marimba, Gmail, WebTV, TiVo, Viaweb,, ONELIST, Bloglines, Craigslist, Flickr, WAIS, InternetArchive, Alexa, Adobe Systems, Open Systems, Hummer Winblad, 37signals, ArsDigita, Fog Creek Software, TripAdvisor, HOT or NOT, Tickle, Firefox, Six Apart, Lycos, Aliant Computer Systems,

This book is perfect for anyone interested in entrepreneurship, technology startups, technology companies in general, and business books in general. I've read the book once already and now I'm in the middle of reading it a second time. I wish there were an audio version of it.
6 de 6 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas A classic, but skip Apress’ awful paperback edition 8 de diciembre de 2015
Por Alan Hogan - Publicado en
Formato: Tapa blanda Compra verificada
This book contains great interviews by an insightful and influential person. While I haven’t finished it yet, I am writing this review mostly to be able to add some product images. I was horrified by the quality of the printing of this book! Apress, the publisher, ought to be ashamed. I have uploaded images showing how poorly the printed word looks in the paperback edition. Note the awful dithering (fuzziness). None of the letters are crisp. It almost looks like a cheap photocopy on a bargain-basement laser printer.

I do not know if the hardcover edition has this problem or not.
130 de 133 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Real advice from the frontline trenches of software start-ups 3 de junio de 2007
Por K. Sampanthar - Publicado en
Formato: Tapa dura Compra verificada
The Summary

Jessica Livingston has written an amazing book. If you want to read the stories behind some of the most well known software companies in the last 30 years, you will find it in this book. But Livingston hasn't just covered the usual suspects (Google, Microsoft), she has included a diverse collection from Steve Wozniak (Apple) to David Heinemeier Hansson (37 Signals), Dan Bricklin (Visicalc) to Blake Ross (Firefox). It covers a lot of ground from the early 80's software boom to the Web 2.0 starts ups. But there is more than just stories about starting companies, there is real advice from the frontline trenches of software start-ups. Keep your post-it notes and highlighter handy, if you are like me you will be annotating and highlighting a lot!

The Audience

If you have ever considered a start-up you should definitely read this book. It's like picking the brains of some very experienced entrepreneurs. Anybody that has already tried their hand at start-ups will recognize the value of this book. Most will probably feel like I did, and wish that they had had this book before they started their first company. It could have saved me many painful lessons (both financially and personally). Reading these interviews is like having 32 mentors.

The Details

Like many people I am always a little skeptical of `success stories'. Just because someone did x, y and z, doesn't mean that I could follow these very steps and be as successful. Just because Aunt Ethel, who lived to be a 100, attributes her long life to drinking a glass of whisky every day, doesn't mean I can drink a glass of whisky every day and live to be a 100. Instead of a collection of fluffy `creation myth' stories written about software companies, Livingston has put a lot of thought into how she approached these interviews and has collected some real gems of insights from these entrepreneurs. She has uncovered a gold mine of valuable advice and information about starting a company. As you read these stories you start to see some patterns emerging. Some of these patterns I recognize from my own experiences, but others were new to me. Sometimes you see contradictory advice from different founders; one tells you, you need to focus on the technology and somebody else explains that it's more important to focus on business/market opportunity. There are definitely multiple paths to starting a company, but some advice is repeated story after story, and these seem to be universal truths.

The Ideas

Here are some of the universal truths that I culled from the interviews:

- Iterate through ideas, the first idea isn't always the best

- Business plans are important - but be prepared to change it many times

- You need to be naïve - "unencumbered by reality"

- Persistence makes all the difference

- Passion - you need to be really excited about what you are doing and think it's really important

- Understand and listen to your end users

The book is full of ideas and advice like this.

The Take-Aways

Overall, I can't say enough good things about this book. Obviously it's aimed at entrepreneurs, but I know there are going to be many people just interested in the stories behind their favorite companies or people. Personally I loved the interviews with Ray Ozzie, Joel Spolsky, Joe Kraus and Steve Wozniak. I was also fascinated by the stories behind companies like: 37 Signals, Six Apart, and Craigslist. I was even surprised by the story behind `Hot or Not', it's not as shallow as you might think.

Entrepreneurs -- wanna-be, new and experienced -- you NEED to read, think, digest and act on the advice in this book and your next/current entrepreneurial venture will go much smoother.

Kes Sampanthar

Inventor of ThinkCube
4 de 4 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
4.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Great content but kindle edition leaves much to be desired 31 de julio de 2010
Por Christopher R. Field - Publicado en
Formato: Versión Kindle Compra verificada
I bought the kindle edition of this book and I found it to be a terrible reading experience. Quote often it seemed like pieces of sentences were missing and occasionally when going from one page to another I would see the text of two lines superimposed on each other. I don't have a kindle so I used the android kindle app and kindle for the PC and both left much to be desired. Also I hated that if I flipped a few pages ahead that it would reset the location. Overall I would not recommend the e-book edition, the quality is horrendous. Also now that I see the prices, I paid more for the terrible kindle edition than the hardcover edition goes for. Anyway I would never recommend paying more for an e-book than a print book because you have less rights than with the print book. Also for a book like this I think there is value to being able to flip through it really quickly while the kindle interface is best for flipping through page by page.

That being said, the quality of the book was great. It was full of all sorts of insights and experiences. They can all be summarized as don't give up, watch out for VC's but don't write them off, listen to your customers, be willing to change, make sure the initial founding team works together well, etc... But just listening the values does not do it justice. You really have to read the experiences. The book is full of all sorts of insights too, not just about entrepreneurship but also about the individual companies. For example I was really impressed about PayPal and the fraud stuff they did and how valuable that was. I just never knew. Overall I think the book was very well put together. Although some of the founders liked to talk a lot more than others and it droned on and on. But others were brief and insightful. I would definitely recommend this.

If I bought the print edition I suspect I would be giving it 5 stars. But really the kindle experience is probably worth 0 stars. But the content is so good that I figure 4 stars is fair. Since at this time I see hardcover editions for $5 or $6 new I would say go grab one of those now!!! The book is definitely inspirational.
7 de 8 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
1.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas but the terrible print quality(soft cover) - the main text of the ... 11 de octubre de 2015
Por X. Guo - Publicado en
Formato: Tapa blanda Compra verificada
My 1-start rating isn't for the content of the book, but the terrible print quality(soft cover) - the main text of the book is printed in a font that's not a solid block but with some pattern, which makes it appear out of focus - very uncomfortable to read. I have decided to return the book.
Was trying to get the Kindle version as many reviews are based on that, but somehow it's no longer available :(

Attached is a picture I took with a page from this book. It actually reads worse than that due to the out of focus effect.