I received a copy of this awesome book from HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW PRESS, people! Apart from the fact that this book has been published by HBR Press (whose magazines I worship and keep under my pillow while I sleep) “Entering StartupLand” by Jeffrey Bussgang is a book that must be read. And it has that same signature excellence that every HBR publication has.
Have you noticed that many books about startups focus on the “building a startup” aspect only?
Are you a person who knows that you may not be able to come up with the next Google or Facebook? But do you still wish to work for a startup? I know this feeling, because I feel the same way too. I’ve read many Non-Fiction books which are based on startups, and have always felt inspired to come up with the next big thing. But when I take a pen and paper and start thinking of ideas, I get into a creative rut. (That weirdly does not happen when I sit down to write a blog post.)
“Entering StartupLand” by Jeffrey Bussgang is a book for graduates and professionals looking for a job in a startup. Or to put it in a cooler way, for those of you who don’t want to be the underdog in a big corporate giant, and want to be responsible for each and every decision you make, and learn while you’re at it.
This book is divided into chapters based on the crucial departments in a startup. Each chapter specifies the level of importance of each department (high in all, of course.), the skills that a job seeker must possess to get into a startup, what skills they need to be able to effectively grow in their respective role, what are the cross-functionalities of each department and role, and many more things that will leave you more enlightened as you flip the last page of the book.
The departments covered in this book are:
a. Product – This chapter is more relevant and applicable to engineers who wish to get into startups.
b. Business Development – Like being a strategist and a negotiator? This department is for you.
c. Marketing – Love to network with people? This team is for you. However, introverts can rejoice too. This chapter will show you how you can join the Marketing team, without compromising your position of a wallflower.
d. Growth – Though this department may seem similar as the Business Development and Marketing team to the untrained eye, there’s too much of a difference to be ignored. This chapter will be your magnifying glass.
e. Sales – Hahahaha, every graduate believes that Marketing and Sales is the same thing. Be sure to read this carefully to understand the subtle differences.
f. Finance – The underdogs of the world, here’s your chance to shine. As a Commerce student, I could relate with this chapter a lot.
Each chapter ends with a paragraph which will help you in finding out which role is the perfect fit for your skills and personality. Also, to illustrate the role that each department plays in the success of the startup, there are case studies in the book. Many senior executives in various startups in USA have contributed their thoughts to this book too. Each chapter has these thoughts in the form of a profile of the executive. The executives share their experience of working in a startup, what helped them climb up the startup ladder, and what being in a startup means to them.
Since the author himself has built startups like ‘Flybridge’ and ‘Upromise’ and is currently a Venture Capitalist and an Entrepreneurship Professor at Harvard Business School, this book oozes with credibility and startup lessons from his own experience.
While Indian readers may feel that since this book is written mainly for a USA audience, it may not be relevant to Indian startups. But this is untrue. A startup is a startup, no matter where it comes from. If you follow the blog of Zomato, which the founder Deepinder Goyal himself updates, you will notice that many of the startup lessons he shares and the wisdom in this book concur at many levels. So, it’s not about where the startup wisdom has come from, it’s about how the reader implements it in his journey towards StartupLand.
I give this book a 5/5 stars rating, and hope that many of you readers may get your hands on this book, specially if you are interested in the startup culture.
It’s available on Amazon India. Click here to head over to the Amazon website.
I would love to thank Harvard Business Review for giving me this encyclopedia of startups via NetGalley. As a student, this book has helped me develop better thinking patterns about careers and the world in general.