Do I read books to learn startups?
I’m a developer that is busy working on a MVP (Minimal Viable Product) and think that I really might have a winner of an idea here (don’t we all). However I have no business and marketing experience.
Two books I keep on hearing being mentioned in startup circles are “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries and “Traction” by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares. Now I’m planing on reading both these books but I’d like to know which one to read FIRST?
Like I said, I’m just a developer and after having a product on my hands (am I even doing this MVP thing right?), what are the next steps and what book is more relevant to me NOW?
It almost seems that “Traction” would be better now in the sense that it might help me take the product and start, well, gaining traction. And then once the wheel is turning I can look at “The Lean Startup” to further manage my business. But again I’m also not sure if “The Lean Startup” goes a bit more into depth as to what exactly your MVP should look like in which case I should read THAT first. I’m kinda torn.
And please, any other books you feel might be more relevant to me now would be great, totally open to suggestions! I would prefer something a bit less theory and full of jargon and something more with concrete steps and a game plan though.
There are two approaches to startup. A "hack by chance" approach and a "business centric old school" approach. The book "Lean Startups" advocates the first, books like "Starting a Business" and "Traction" advocates the latter. Most "hack" MVP won't work - because there are too many "hackers" out there make subpar standard MVPs with 100 dollars in the pocket. These folks don't want the rigor but want to have some cool experience. There is nothing wrong trying cool entrepreneurship. But the startup risk is 1 in 10000 success, and YOU ARE NOT THE EXCEPTION. Everyone thinks that they are the 1 of the 10,000.
I don't think anyone above has got Traction right. It is about getting, you guessed it, traction. It talks about various channels of traction (marketing) and how to experiment around it.
If your objective is to start experimenting at getting early users (and i don't see why not), you should check out traction.
It isn't BS and it isn't fluff. But it is no magic bullet either.
Tl;dr: traction introduces to various marketing channels and shares an experiment framework to find out which one works for your business.
As suggested in other comments, books are very important to create and define a framework, but only the practice can give you what it takes to ship a real product to the market. Regarding your question: I strongly suggest you read " The Lean Startup " before, and then all the rest. The lean method gives you the right framework to avoid the most common mistakes that a start-up makes in launching a new product (market demand, product validation, product development etc..). Another book that I strongly suggest is " The Four Steps To The Epiphany " by Steve Blank. Good luck.
Question asked by
May 6, 2020, 12:13:55 PM
Related Picture Note Cards
Review of Strength and caution for "Traction - by Weinberg"
Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares learned from their own experiences, building a successful company is hard. For every startup that grows to the point where it can go public or be profitably acquired, hundreds of others sputter and die. Smart entrepreneurs know that the key to success isn't the originality of your offering, the brilliance of your team, or how much money you raise. It's how consistently you can grow and acquire new customers (or, for a free service, users). That's called traction, and it makes everything else easier - fund-raising, hiring, press, partnerships, acquisitions. Talk is cheap, but traction is hard evidence that you're on the right path.
Related Quote Cards
Startup Lingos To The Point
How to turn an interest into a money maker. How to attract people, how to stimulate people to pay, how to make profit, how to make relations, how to keep relations.
How much do I have to give my audience so they can pay me something in return? What do they value? what problem do they search for answers on your own? I want to solve that problem.
Brand means name recognition. A lot of people knows what your company does and what you stand for. Brand is result of long campaign of consistent value provision and media cultivation. Brand helps a company reduce marketing cost.
Whether there are buyer willing to pay or not. For that to happen you must provide extreme value. The entire startup process would be based on guess before the validation. Validation happens in a market, not on the street.
Value is what you give customers beyond the price you charge. Value is effective solution to a problem. The price your customer pays reflects whether the problem is big for them and whether your solution is uniquely effective. Value stems from quality and detailed work.
Marketing means bring your product to the market and bring your message to your customer. Marketing is not salesmanship. Marketing is to penetrate the world of commerce through many barriers and existing networks.
Minimally viable business, or MVC, minimally viable company. A company that scrapes by, full of guess and hope and no traction and sales. When you give your customers things for free they all take it. But they never pay and you can never rent a table at the market.
Minimal viable product. A full artifact of a real product. Something that works ALL THE TIME. You can demonstrate the real effect on real people - not to sell hope. The MVP may not have certain non-essential bells and whistles, but it needs to have appeal value.
Customer is king
A business lives at the mercy of its customers. You provide your customers 10 dollars worth of value and they pay you 1 dollar, not knowing that your company only costs 99 cents to provide the item. The value is not the item - the value is what is attached to the item.
Company culture is based on a company making money. Once your workers are paid, they need to have a mission and aspiration so they are not bored everyday and make trouble in the work place.
A company valuation is cash investment divided by the percentage. As long as your story is good, the valuation will keep coming, and the investors will keeping falling into the line.
Return on investment
Investors are either behind family fortune (never work with them) or for rich clients as investment vehicle. Both need returns 2-3 times better than stock market darlings.
Having found what people want, not just what people may need. Your offering and their acceptance is sure, no longer a guess. You can provide it for profit, and you can indeed making living on it. Traction is sometimes called validation. You are no longer a theater. You have touched nature, and found cash vein.