As a blogger, I spend most of my time writing. But it’s time spent reading that’s most satisfying. Here’s a short (and by no means a complete) list of 10 articles that encapsulate the art of the startup. Most were published during 2009, and I found them educational and full of practical tips that we’ve applied to our business. They’ve also helped me think differently about startups and entrepreneurship. Hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.
1. “What Startups Are Really Like” by Paul Graham: This has to be the single best essay I read during 2009. Every entrepreneur should begin the startup journey with this essay. It bottles every essence of entrepreneurship and startups, and is chock-full of practical advise and tips that are applicable to anyone who dares to dream.
2. “Milestones to Startup Success” by Sean Ellis: Ellis explains the need for minimum viable product, aka MVP, and then outlines how startups can go up his startup pyramid to find success.
3. “Myth: Entrepreneurship Will Make You Rich” by Eric Ries: “One of the unfortunate side effects of all the publicity and hype surrounding startups is the idea that entrepreneurship is a guaranteed path to fame and riches. It isn’t,” Ries writes in this no-holds-barred essay about the challenges and pitfalls of being a startup founder.
4. “What Is the Minimum Viable Product?” by Venture Hacks: A great audio conversation on the Venturehacks blog including a slide show.
5. “The Power of Continuous Improvement” by Mike Speiser: In a guest post for us, Mike talks about the importance of metrics, feedback and how they can drive continuous improvement. Mike’s rules have found eager takers among our team.
6. “Getting Comfortable With People Who Make You Uncomfortable” by Mike Speiser: In this article, Mike addresses the need for people who challenge conventional wisdom and make everyone around them uncomfortable — which is why every company needs them.
7. “The Funnel Principle: Software & Making Money” by Tony Wright: It’s good to build great products, but in order to build great companies one needs to have more — a clear path of monetization, an attention magnet, and in general excellence at things beyond product development.
8. “Does Every Startup Need a Steve Jobs?” by Andrew Chen: A dissection of how insanely great products are built by combining desirability, feasibility and viability. Read this post after reading Wright’s “Funnel Principle.”
10: “Startup Killer: The Cost of Customer Acquisition” by David Skok: A definitive essay on startup business models, the perils of overoptimism, and the importance of cost of customer acquisitions. Skok is a 3-time entrepreneur with a lifetime of experience.
* Self-serving: “What Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From Derek Jeter” and “What Makes DJ Tick.”
* Every startup guy should listen to Jobs’ speech before embarking on their journey.