Thinking about running or joining a technology startup?
Here are ten essential resources to help you get started:
Paul Graham is a programmer and venture capitalist. He is widely known for running Y Combinator, one of the world's most successful startup accelerator programs. Start with How to Do What You Love, Why to Not Not Start a Startup, How to Make Wealth, How to Start a Startup, You Weren't Meant to Have a Boss, The 18 Mistakes That Kill Startups, Startups in 13 Sentences, and Startup = Growth.
The movement started by Eric Ries, Steve Blank and others promotes a scientific approach to running startups. Fast iteration and validated learning are emphasized over press hype, large-scale product launches, and guesstimate-driven product development. Read the essential books: The Learn Startup by Eric and The Startup Owner's Manual by Steve. You can also check out my own quick introduction.
Dave McClure runs the 500 Startups incubator and popularized the simplified AARRR model (Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue) of lean startup metrics. There are many versions of his talks and slides online, so make sure to check out a number of them until you find the right one for you. Dave's presentation is probably the simplest existing introduction to how to become data-driven.
When Alex Osterwalder was frustrated with all the confusion around business terminology, he came up with a simplified and standardized language to talk about business models. He called it the Business Model Canvas. It helps you map out your various business strategy options in simple terms and learn why certain business models work and others don't. If you don't want to wait for the book, you can also simply print the canvas and start right away.
David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried of 37signals have very strong opinions about how to run a company and are challenging the established wisdom on a continuous basis. Check out their way of thinking as a counterbalance to the venture-capital growth model of startups. Highly recommended are their books Rework and Getting Real.
Now over five years old, Marc Andreessens startup guide is definitely not cutting edge any more—keep that in mind when reading it—, but some truths don't change that fast, even in the startup world. Marc co-founded Netscape and later one of the most renowned venture capital firms in the world: Andreessen Horowitz. He is extremely bullish on internet technology. Read also: Why Software Is Eating The World.
7. Ben's Blog
Ben Horowitz is Marc's partner at Andreessen Horowitz. His blog offers inside advice on what really happens at a startup as it struggles and grows. It is highly recommended for startup CEOs, but will also help other founders understand more about leadership. Start with The Struggle, Managing Your Own Psychology, How to Minimize Politics in Your Company, CEOs Should Tell It Like It Is, Peacetime CEO/Wartime CEO, Titles and Promotions, Taking the Mystery out of Scaling a Company, and Should You Sell Your Company?.
Fred Wilson runs the incredibly successul venture capital firm Union Square Ventures and is the most frequently blogging venture capitalist. This blog is highly recommended in general, but his series MBA Mondays deserves a special mention. There might not be a better source for business and executive advice aimed specifically at technology and internet startups.
Startup Digest offers both a highly recommended Reading List as well as weekly emails about local startup events for the most important technology hubs in the world. Every event calendar can also be imported into your own calendar to make sure you never miss an important event.
While it is still heavily concentrated on startups and investors in the United States, AngelList has become a platform for startups to showcase their businesses and connect with angel investors and potential co-founders and employees. It can also simply serve as a database of interesting startups to follow and be inspired by.
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