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 10,000 founders. People problems are the leading cause of failure in startups. This book offers solutions.
©2012 Princeton University Press (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
"[A] seminal work.... Sure to be required reading in business school curricula, this illuminating and captivating read will also appeal to aspiring entrepreneurs or founders who want to make better decisions in existing ventures." (Publishers Weekly)
"Ten years of extensive research combined with winning case studies make this a trustworthy source not only for the potential startup owner but also for the classroom." (Library Journal)
Before buying I was excited that Noam has gather data from 1000s of businesses but after completing the book, the book was more towards sharing and talking about the data instead of using those data to create insights and actionable knowledge for the listeners.
Oh... and if you're a listener on the go, its better if you get the a book instead of an audiobook for Founder's Dilemma because this book will point you to a graph instead of explaining to you the graph. (e.g: Here is what 27% of the companies did that the others didn't do. Refer to graph 10.1)
Mark could have added more emphasis into his tones at different points of the book. There wasn't any feeling in his reading. It's like the tone is same when the founder's company went bankrupt and when the founder's company went IPO.
Disappointed because there was too much sharing of the data instead of giving the listeners actionable knowledge to the data.
If you want a great book which applies the author's insights from his data research + a narrator's tone which emphasis key points on the books, get Great by Choice by Jim Collins.
Yes, I will refer to the book often as it is full of interesting facts and figures
I appreciated the research based findings.
Honestly, this might be a better book to read in print and refer back too, but it was an entertaining, easy listen in the car too
So many entrepreneurship books are just stories and anecdotes, this one is actually based on the findings of research. It's really fascinating!
Probably worthwhile to refresh your mind on things to think about, but it's basically a restatement of common sense, backed up by great statistics. Here's the entire book in a nutshell: 1) founders' motivations fall on a spectrum between control (being king) and cash (making money). Decide where you are on the spectrum and act and make busienss decisions consistently with that. Inconsistency in implementation of that can damage you. 2) mixing business and personal relationships is fraught with danger. Work with people who you've worked with, not your family or friends.
It was very informative however, for an audio book to rely on charts and graphs is kind of tough. The material is very good and has some insights that are useful, overall the content is not too bad, it is very all over the place but not a bad book.
I thought it was awful, it was like listening to hours of an overly dramatic movie trailer actor. I was barley able to make it through with the way the narrator, I would never buy another book by this narrator it was just too cheesy it was overly dramatic for the context and painful to listen to.
Internet entrepreneur from the Netherlands.
The subject of this book is very fascinating and I really want to know, but the way this book is written is pretty chaotic. You can sense that it is written by a researcher-type writer who wants to beat you to death with facts. He uses a lot of other people as examples, but in a way that he constantly switches between characters so you quickly get lost.
The narrator, though he uses a lot of intonation in his voice, sounds a little like a news anchor which, in combination with the detailed level of information and chaotic writing style, makes you tune out time and again. It requires a lot of effort to stay focused on listening and understanding the point. That makes it unsuitable to listen to in the car in my opinion, which is the whole reason for me to listen to audio book versions instead of reading.
But if you listen to it behind your desk and take notes, it might work.
I do recommend reading or listening to this book, because of the topic it adresses, but you must be really focused all the time to understand it.
I'm writing as someone who's a 20 year founder/CEO as well as investor, so I saw both perspective discussed in this book. I've never left a bad review for anything, but here goes...
Very slow book in that each topic covered is over done, with too many examples. It could have definitely used better editing.
Very slow performance by the reader - excruciatingly so.
Irresponsible conclusions are drawn and stated as fact based on limited stats. Novice founders read writings from a Harvard Business School writer with significant validation. But so many of the conclusions are verifiably inaccurate.
I gave this book five stars despite one major flaw, which was the constant referring to charts. Even with that, this book was very helpful. I especially liked how much the book covered how to handle equity.
The information was also sometimes very dense for audio book form, but I'd rather have too dense than just glossed over, though I wish I could find a book entirely on traditional company equity that delves even deeper on that subject.
Bad decision prevention.
This book has given me a very good basis for taking decisions on my own fledgeling startup. It was on one hand reinforcing existing gut feelings (like preferring a dynamic over a static equity split) and also eye-opening (like what can happen when you take money from friends & family).
This book is rich in content and charts. The first makes for a great, educational listening experience. The latter not so much. There are plentiful references in the book to figure x and chart y. But this here is an _audio_book. If extra thought had been given how to make this aspect of the book more digestible, I would have gladly given 5 stars. As it stands, this makes it 4.
This book was very insightful and contains great advice on how to start a company and what things a startup founders should consider when embarking on the next venture.
"Vital and interesting but..."
Really interesting base material and research into the problems and issues faced by founders and entrepreneurs. Based on wide-ranging research there is a lot of useful information for entrepreneurs and founders. This book should be a No.1 blockbuster book, but it isn't.
The problem is that is that the writing and narration is so boring it is a real struggle to get the gems contained in the book out. I had to listen to it in small chunks otherwise I realise I just zoned the drone out. A lesson in how to turn interesting and vital research material into boring and unappealing drudgery. I had lecturers like this!
"An Invaluable Resource"
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Its mixture of hard data analysis and case studies allows you to take in the information and see how ito interpret it when faced with your own dilemmas. I particularly liked the discussion around how to hedge against the possible downside that comes with certain choices. A must for anyone wanting to start their own business.
"Very useful when starting a startup"
Pleasant narrator, easy to follow. Clear and precise illustration of connections and pitfalls of the various decisions startup founders have to take.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.