Readings and Resources

Below are some additional resources and readings that are available online, and which compliment the readings in my introductory course for MBAs.

Most links appear first on my twitter feed, if you want to stay up to date.

Generating & Evaluating Venture Ideas

Grand Strategy and Overall Tactics

Researching and Planning  (Financial Projections, Competition, Business Models….)

Acting and Learning  (Lean Startups, Hypothesis Testing, Customer Development, and All That)

  • I like the Lean Startup idea, but think that there is less value in the details of the system than in the concept that learning quickly and experimenting cheaply are keys to startup success. You also should be careful not to conflate the techniques of lean startups with the end goal. Some general techniques that might be useful are below.
  • “Wireframing” is the process of creating  mockups of websites, and is a very important process for any business with a web/software component.  Six Revisions has a great guide to wireframing, including a list of useful tools.
  • “Smoke Testing” involves setting up dummy websites or using advertisements to figure out interest in a product before it launches.  You need to be careful not to be deceptive in this process, however, since you can go too far in promising services that don’t exist. Here is a walkthrough of testing a potential business idea using paid traffic and a website, and another for using advertising.  Finally, an interesting approach that relies on having people commit money upfront.
  • “A/B Testing” involves trying multiple versions of a site, mail campaign, or other outreach effort to optimize your business.  Here are some examples of websites going through A/B Testing.  Here is a nice statistical overview of how to make sure you get this process right, and more on the dangers of doing it wrong.
  • Interviews and surveys can help you get at more information about your potential customers and business models  If you are doing qualitative work, here is a nice guide for user interviews, and some tips from Gif Constable, who also has a nice book on conducting customer interviews.  If you are doing surveys, please make sure to actually test your survey with small groups of people before going live.

Going to work for a start up/founding teams and new hires

Financing and Valuation

Sales, Pitching, Presenting, and Marketing

Software and Tools:

Learning to Code/Design/Project Management:

Building a physical project