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.
Like entrepreneurs, we all deal with uncertainty, tough decision-making, and necessary problem-solving. Whether we freelance or work for large organizations, whether we're married or single, have kids or not, we must be able to think on our feet, assess risks and opportunities, and recruit others to help us navigate them. This book offers important advice for envisioning change in our lives—from contemplating the next step in a relationship to making a radical career move—and managing changes to which we've already committed. We can learn to recognize our own well-worn patterns and keep our tendencies and habits in check, recruit a personal taskforce—our own board of directors—to advise us, and plan ahead for growth. With his extensive database of entrepreneurship case studies—from Pandora to Twitter to Nike—complemented with data on 20,000 founders, Wasserman is able to go deeply into the entrepreneurial mindset and show us how startups provide specific lessons for crafting our most successful lives.