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The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup

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The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup

Often downplayed in the excitement of starting up a new business venture is one of the most important decisions entrepreneurs will face: should they go it alone, or bring in cofounders, hires, and investors to help build the business? More than just financial rewards are at stake. Friendships and relationships can suffer. Bad decisions at the inception of a promising venture lay the foundations for its eventual ruin. The Founder’s Dilemmas is the first book to examine the early decisions by entrepreneurs that can make or break a startup and its team.

About the Author

Noam Wasserman is an associate professor at Harvard Business School.

Product details

  • Full PDF E-Book Included
  • Good Quality for print
  • Publisher : Princeton University Press; Illustrated edition (April 1, 2013)
  • Language : English
  • Print Length : 496 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0691158304
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0691158303

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Product Description

The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup

Often downplayed in the excitement of starting up a new business venture is one of the most important decisions entrepreneurs will face: should they go it alone, or bring in cofounders, hires, and investors to help build the business? More than just financial rewards are at stake. Friendships and relationships can suffer. Bad decisions at the inception of a promising venture lay the foundations for its eventual ruin. The Founder’s Dilemmas is the first book to examine the early decisions by entrepreneurs that can make or break a startup and its team.

Drawing on a decade of research, Noam Wasserman reveals the common pitfalls founders face and how to avoid them. He looks at whether it is a good idea to cofound with friends or relatives, how and when to split the equity within the founding team, and how to recognize when a successful founder-CEO should exit or be fired. Wasserman explains how to anticipate, avoid, or recover from disastrous mistakes that can splinter a founding team, strip founders of control, and leave founders without a financial payoff for their hard work and innovative ideas. He highlights the need at each step to strike a careful balance between controlling the startup and attracting the best resources to grow it, and demonstrates why the easy short-term choice is often the most perilous in the long term.

The Founder’s Dilemmas draws on the inside stories of founders like Evan Williams of Twitter and Tim Westergren of Pandora, while mining quantitative data on almost ten thousand founders.

People problems are the leading cause of failure in startups. This book offers solutions.

Review

“This book provides the rare combination of practical advice and scholarly research. It gets to the heart of the people issues that can bedevil every, and I do mean every, startup. Issues such as founder motivations, equity splits, and equity control can make or break a company. I guarantee that the price of this book is approximately one-thousandth of what you’ll pay lawyers to clean up your mess if you don’t read it.”―Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment and former chief evangelist of Apple

The Founder’s Dilemmas is required reading for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and the professionals who work with them. Few entrepreneurs appreciate the far-reaching implications of decisions they need to make at the beginning of a startup venture. Most founders make these critical decisions based on their gut instincts; backed up by data covering ten thousand founders, Noam Wasserman shows that the most common choices made at the outset of a new venture are often the wrong ones. This book also shines a light on the difficult conversations that entrepreneurs need to have with their colleagues and with their investors, and makes plainspoken, commonsense recommendations that facilitate this dialogue.”―Pascal Levensohn, founding partner of Levensohn Venture Partners and member of the board of directors of the National Venture Capital Association (2007―2011)

The Founder’s Dilemmas will change the way we think about the internal dynamics that can make or break startup companies. Drawing on substantial research and considerable insight into practice, Wasserman uncovers the inner lives of startups, exploring the personal and professional conflicts that founders encounter on their entrepreneurial journeys. His book will appeal to academics and practitioners alike.”―Thomas Hellmann, University of British Columbia

About the Author

Noam Wasserman is an associate professor at Harvard Business School.

Product details

  • Full PDF E-Book Included
  • Good Quality for print
  • Publisher : Princeton University Press; Illustrated edition (April 1, 2013)
  • Language : English
  • Print Length : 496 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0691158304
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0691158303

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