In a short and concise book, Clayton Christensen (famous for his theory on disruptive innovations) reflected on the lessons learnt in his career from business to academia and how the same lessons from company culture, motivation factors in hiring people and business ethics learnt can be translated to family life. Written together with two co-authors, James Allworth & Karen Dillon, the book introduced how our careers whether as an entrepreneur or corporate leader can provide us a mirror in how we view our family life. Read more
If you want to read a first person account on how Apple has designed, implemented and executed their marketing and advertising campaigns, Insanely Simple: That Obsession that Drives Apple’s Success by Ken Segall offers a glimpse on how the concept of simplicity drives Apple as a company.
As the person who was part of the team who came up with the famous “Think Different” TV advertisement and putting the letter “i” behind all Apple products, Ken Segall organizes Steve Job’s obsession into 10 simple principles. Read more
Whether you are an investor or entrepreneur, the book “Venture Deals” by Brad Feld from the Foundry Group and TechStars and Jason Mendelson, also of the Foundry Group, serves as a reference for those who are involved in fundraising.
While venture deals can be complex depending on the context around the players (entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, lawyers, investors syndicate and mentors), the term sheet and other structures which are required, this book serves a good overview of the subject but one has to bear in mind that it’s very US-centric, and not everything is applicable here in Southeast Asia. Read more
Although the case studies from this book are already outdated (as it was written in 1996), the lessons learnt and the concept of a strategic inflection point together with its implications for the high technology industry by Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel Corporation, are relevant for today.
This is a highly recommended book even for those who are thinking about their own career strategic inflection points at this moment of time. Read more
Drawn from his blog “Startup Lessons Learned” and sharing his experiences as the former CTO of IMVU, The Lean Startup is Eric Ries’s (@ericries) effort, in his own words, to change how startups are built. Whether you are a business person or technologist, the book “The Lean Startup” is a must-read for any entrepreneur.
The lessons on how to build a minimum viable product, iterate base on customer feedback and metrics and pivot when all else fails will guide the entrepreneur and hold them accountable in their attempt to change an industry. Read more
The process from starting to managing a start-up is a daunting process for any entrepreneur. In that journey, founders from different companies face a challenging set of questions which they struggle to come up with answers for.
While browsing through the Kinokuniya bookstore on a Saturday, I came across this book “The Founder’s Dilemma” by Noam Wasserman, which has the extraordinary nature of combining scholarly research and practical advice on dealing with a couple of sensitive issues from founding team dilemmas to division of equity and other financial rewards among the founding team.
Highly recommended for those who plan to embark or are already living the entrepreneurial lifestyle, it can serve as a guide to very tough situations for founders to evaluate the best possible way out. Read more
Whenever I teach the Entrepreneurship course in NTU, I often made the point that my aim is not to teach people how to start companies, but rather to impart some best practices on how successful people build their companies.
Finally, I found a book that echoed exactly the same view. “The Start-up of You” by Reid Hoffman (Co-founder of LinkedIn) and Ben Casnocha describes in detail on how one can map the lessons of successful entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley into their own careers in an uncertain global economy out there. It might be interesting to draw out some of the important ideas sketched out in the book. Read more
When I left university in 1999 my first job was at a small software company in the UK. There were five of us and most of the time we worked from home in different cities. We had what would now be described as an agile approach to development and created some great software that we sold to enterprise customers. We worked hard but also had fun. However something didn’t feel right.
Somehow it felt like we were cheating. Read more
Through a very interesting episode in Jason Calacanis‘ “This Week in Startups” (a videocast featuring about the trials and tribulations of startup founders), I discover an interesting book “Just Listen” written by Mark Goulston. Unlike all other episodes which talk so much about the stories of start-ups, the interview with Mark Goulston discusses the issues that all challenging situations and stress conditions which happen around a business environment. Particularly in startups, which it is likely that very few entrepreneurs will talk about is the management of human relations. The basic theme for “Just Listen” is to focus on how we can get through to anyone, even when productive communication seems impossible. So, we review the book and tell you why you should read it. Read more
If you survey the history of the rise of the internet companies in China, you will find very few books talking about them. Of course, it has mostly gotten to do with the language, and these companies are relatively unknown outside China. From the US side, many books have been written on the tech giants from the US. Even the web 2.0 founders are well documented in the book by Jessica Livingston in "Founders at Work". So, here we have a book "Silicon Dragon: How China is winning the Tech Race" written by Rebecca Fannin, a journalist who has been working in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing. In this book, she interviewed 12 top chinese entrepreneurs and their investors, and give a brief overview on how the top Chinese internet companies are now rising to the challenge against their western counterparts. By the way, the author will be speaking in a talk entitled “Silicon Dragon” organized by E27 on 18 March 2008 in NUS (check the link for more details). Read more