Losing the Signal is a riveting story of a company that toppled global giants before succumbing to the ruthlessly competitive forces of Silicon Valley. This is not a conventional tale of modern business failure by fraud and greed. The rise and fall of BlackBerry reveals the dangerous speed at which innovators race along the information superhighway.
With unprecedented access to key players, senior executives, directors and competitors, Losing the Signal unveils the remarkable rise of a company that started above a bagel store in Ontario. At the heart of the story is an unlikely partnership between a visionary engineer, Mike Lazaridis, and an abrasive Harvard Business school grad, Jim Balsillie. Together, they engineered a pioneering pocket email device that became the tool of choice for presidents and CEOs. The partnership enjoyed only a brief moment on top of the world, however. At the very moment BlackBerry was ranked the world's fastest growing company internal feuds and chaotic growth crippled the company as it faced its gravest test: Apple and Google's entry in to mobile phones.
Expertly told by acclaimed journalists, Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff, this is an entertaining, whirlwind narrative that goes behind the scenes to reveal one of the most compelling business stories of the new century.
JACQUIE MCNISH is a senior writer with the Globe and Mail and before that
the Wall Street Journal. She has won seven National Newspaper Awards and is
the author of three best-selling books, two of which won the National
Business Book award. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two sons.
SEAN SILCOFF is a business writer with the Globe and Mail and a two-time
National Newspaper Award winner. He lives near Ottawa with his wife and
Teams interviewed: 170
Minutes per interview: 10
Teams accepted and funded: 64
Months to build a viable startup: 3
Investment firm Y Combinator is the most sought-after home for startups in Silicon Valley. Twice a year, it funds dozens of just-founded startups and provides three months of guidance from Paul Graham, YC’s impresario, and his partners, also entrepreneurs and mostly YC alumni. The list of YC-funded success stories includes Dropbox (now valued at $5 billion) and Airbnb ($1.3 billion).
Receiving an offer from YC creates the opportunity of a lifetime — it’s like American Idol for budding entrepreneurs.
Acclaimed journalist Randall Stross was granted unprecedented access to Y Combinator’s summer 2011 batch of young companies, offering a unique inside tour of the world of software startups. Most of the founders were male programmers in their mid-twenties or younger. Over the course of the summer, they scrambled to heed Graham’s seemingly simple advice: make something people want.
We watch the founders work round-the-clock, developing and retooling products as diverse as a Web site that can teach anyone programming, to a Wikipedia-like site for rap lyrics, to software written by a pair of attorneys who seek to “make attorneys obsolete.”
Founders are guided by Graham’s notoriously direct form of tough-love feedback. “Here, we don’t fire you,” he says. “The market fires you. If you’re sucking, I’m not going to run along behind you, saying, ‘You’re sucking, you’re sucking, c’mon, stop sucking.’” Some teams would even abandon their initial idea midsummer and scramble to begin anew.
The program culminated in “Demo Day,” when founders pitched their startup to several hundred top angel investors and venture capitalists. A lucky few attracted capital that gave their startup a valuation of multiple millions of dollars. Others went back to the drawing board.
This is the definitive story of a seismic shift that’s occurred in the business world, in which coding skill trumps employment experience, pairs of undergraduates confidently take on Goliaths, tiny startups working out of an apartment scale fast, and investors fall in love.
The 100 Most Significant Events in American Business: An Encyclopedia depicts the chronological order of events contributing to the evolution of American business, with an emphasis on the commercial innovations of each period. The book explores the origins of successful brands, including Apple, Wal-Mart, and Heinz; demonstrates the successful collaboration between public and private sectors illustrated by the Erie Canal, Hoover Dam, and the interstate highway system; and depicts the commercial impact of major economic events from the Panic of 1857 to the Great Recession of 2010.
From small-town Kansas boy to adventure-junkie extraordinaire to respected mountaineer, this funky and funny read traces Skip Yowell's (Co-Founder of JanSport) unorthodox journey to the top of the outdoor industry.
Full of offbeat details and photos from Skip's adventures around the world, he lets it all hang out as he offers you a rare behind-the-scenes look at the three hippies who built a successful company during the Summer of Love . . . how their good vibrations continue to change an entire industry . . . and why breaking the rules and taking good care of their customers keeps JanSport at the top of their game.
No question, Skip's story will take you higher. He'll show you the ropes for whatever mountain you face. Whether he's drinking "Commie beer" in Ohio or slurping yak butter tea in China, this book will get under your skin and into your heart. And who knows, his story might just kick-start your dreams.
So go ahead. Get the book (and another for your friend). Find a chair or couch or park or plane. Get comfortable. Be inspired. Then go climb your own mountain.
"Skip's account of the founding of JanSport wreaks of honesty, humor, and enough anecdotes to stir a memory in almost anyone who has spent time outside. His tale takes you from a small room above a transmission shop to a global enterprise and packs enough adventures to keep the fire stoked and the beer on ice for hours." ?Larry Burke, Editor-in-Chief, Outside Magazine
"This amazing book chronicles the life of Skip Yowell, a man who climbed the corporate ladder not in a suit and tie, but in hiking boots and with a backpack. He did so in style, and had tons of fun doing it. He stayed true to himself, maintained friendships, traveled the world and most importantly, preserved his passion for his job.... We can all learn something from Skip, who started building backpacks from scratch and created a company that is now a giant in the industry. His honesty and passion for life are his priority, which all of his friends and business associates can attest to. The world would be a better place with more people like Skip Yowell. I am proud to have him as my friend and encourage you to get to know his story! You will be inspired." ?Ed Viesturs, First American to climb all fourteen 8,000 meter peaks, Author of No Shortcuts to the Top
"I wish this enlightening book had been available 30 years ago. The inspiration I have derived from it now would have been welcomed then. Like a new band without a 'label' (either style or record company), with originality and dedication it shows how JanSport forged their own way and set the high marks for others to strive for. This 'how it was done' book should be read by all aspiring musicians, for the principles of success are universal and are defined within." ?John McEuen, Founding Member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
"Straight Talk for Startups is filled with real, raw, and fact-based ‘rules of the road’ that you need to know when diving into our ultra-competitive startup world. A must read and a re-read!"—Tony Fadell, Coinventor of the iPod/iPhone & Founder of Nest Labs
Veteran venture capitalist Randy Komisar and finance executive Jantoon Reigersman share no-nonsense, counterintuitive guidelines to help anyone build a successful startup.
Over the course of their careers, Randy Komisar and Jantoon Reigersman continue to see startups crash and burn because they forget the timeless lessons of entrepreneurship.
But, as Komisar and Reigersman show, you can beat the odds if you quickly learn what insiders know about what it takes to build a healthy foundation for a thriving venture. In Straight Talk for Startups they walk budding entrepreneurs through 100 essential rules—from pitching your idea to selecting investors to managing your board to deciding how and when to achieve liquidity. Culled from their own decades of experience, as well as the experiences of their many successful colleagues and friends, the rules are organized under broad topics, from "Mastering the Fundamentals" and "Selecting the Right Investors," to "The Ideal Fundraise," "Building and Managing Effective Boards," and "Achieving Liquidity."
Vital rules you’ll find in Straight Talk for Startups include:The best ideas originate from founders who are usersCreate two business plans: an execution plan and an aspirational planNet income is an option, but cash flow is a factDon’t accept money from strangersPersonal wealth doesn’t equal good investingSmall boards are better than big onesAdd independent board members for expertise and objectivityToo many unanimous board decisions are a sign of troubleChoose an acquirer, don’t wait to be chosenLearn the rules by heart so you know when to break them
Filled with helpful real-life examples and specific, actionable advice, Straight Talk for Startups is the ideal handbook for anyone running, working for, or thinking about creating a startup, or just curious about what makes high-potential ventures tick.
Believers from Beijing to Buenos Aires see the potential for a financial system free from banks and governments, and a new global currency for the digital age. An unusual tale of group invention, Digital Gold tells the story of the colorful characters who have built Bitcoin, including a Finnish college student; an Argentinian millionaire; a Chinese entrepreneur; Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss; Bitcoin’s elusive creator, Satoshi Nakamoto; and the founder of the Silk Road online drug market, Ross Ulbricht.
With Digital Gold, New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper offers a brilliant and engrossing account of this new technology. At each step of the way, Bitcoin has provided one of the most fascinating tests of how money works, who benefits from it, and what it might look like in the future.