„Entering StartUpLand” is for sure a different animal in the Harvard Business Review library. The same goes with the author himself (Jeffrey Bussgang), a relatively experienced venture capitalist who got his hands greased with new ventures’ oily details – as well as with the theoretical side. The book has a strong practical side – it is not only full of practical cases, but performs a deep dive into the mechanisms and safeguards of the world’s riskiest ventures.
“Entering StartUpLand” dissects a typical start-up through its functional anatomy.
It actually goes through its main actors (or rainmakers if you prefer): the product manager, the business development manager, marketing, the growth manager, sales and finance. As such, “Entering StartUpLand” is more of an HR / key roles book than anything else. This approach makes it immediately and invaluable practical. I think many of us went beyond the “what if I’d join a startup” question – to the realm of “WIFM?”. Well, “Entering StartUpLand” combines these worlds to “provide you with a framework that you can use to approach StartUpLand. (The author) deconstructs the startup organization and help you navigate it.”
Beyond the strong spine reconstruction, the book also explains the main activities required to push a startup through its growth stages. Let us take for example the Business Development Manager – the shaper of both the business and the market. The role is focused on securing deals with partners – and thus needs formulating a strategy, identify potential partners, deliver a pitch, negotiate the terms and implement the partnerships. If it sounds easy, it is because Jeffrey Busgang wrote it this way. Thus one of the book’s strong points – simplicity.
Even more interesting, “Entering StartUpLand” combines clsassical MBA knowledge tools (traditionally used by big Fortune 500 companies) with specific tools. Take the Demand Waterfall (page 91), which combines the well-known sales funnel with h the less acknowledged demand generator from a startup. The tool cascades down all the stages of generating demand for the company’s products in a logical and goal-oriented fashion. Thus it helps the reader quickly launch a demand generating process, an invaluable asset in the early stages.
As such, “Entering StartUpLand” is a mini MBA course in navigating this still developing realm of capitalism. I do hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I did – and maybe use at least a few pages of the book. Enjoy!