Additional Reading


Business Models

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Business Model Design: General Issues

 

Network Effects

 

Platform Strategies

  • The book Platform Revolutionby Parker, Van Alstyne and Choudary, examines platform economics and strategies, as does Choudary's book Platform Scale; the book Matchmakers, by Evans and Schmalensee, covers similar topics, as does their book, The Catalyst Code.
  • I've written about conditions under which rivals should share a new platform
  • With Parker and Van Alstyne, I've studied when firms should open mature platforms and when they are vulnerable to platform envelopment, which entails one platform displacing another by leveraging bundling strategies
  • Sangeet Choudary discusses how to manage startup growth strategies that piggyback upon an existing dominant platform, used by AirBnB, PayPal, etc. 
  • Mark Suster gives advice for startups with applications that face a substitution threat from in-house versions developed by big platforms
  • Entrepreneur/investor Sim Simeonov expands upon the risk of platform dependency

 

Freemium Models

 

Online Marketplace Models

  • Jeremy Levin and Rafi Syed of Bessemer explain why "end-to-end" marketplaces that facilitate complete transactions (e.g., Airbnb) are displacing those that only provide listings (e.g., Craigslist).
  • A white paper by VersionOne VC provides a comprehensive description of online marketplaces: types, key factors for success, metrics, etc.
  • Willy Braun of the VC daphni describes metrics for marketplaces
  • Tristan Pollack on mistakes made by marketplace startups; Josh Breinlinger of Jackson Square Ventures on the same topic
  • Aaron Epstein on tactics for mobilizing marketplace users
  • a16z GP/former OpenTable CEO Jeff Jordan discusses challenges confronting tech companies with a local focus and how successful "local heroes" manage to scale rapidly
  • Kleiner Perkins EiR and former senior Google and eBay exec Stephanie Tilenius looks at key factors for success with curated consumer marketplaces such as Uber and RelayRides
  • Author Sangeet Choudary also analyzes network mobilization challenges for services marketplaces, with focus on professional services.
  • MuckerLab's William Hsu looks at how marketplaces create and capture value
  • Julia Hanna explains my colleague Andrei Hagiu's research on the difference between multi-sided platforms and traditional retailers.
  • Bill Gurley of Benchmark, David Beisel of NextView Ventures, and Seth Rothman of Greylock on key factors for success in building online marketplaces.

 

SaaS Models

 

Enterprise Software Models

 

Ecommerce Models

 

On-Demand Models

  • Semil Shah on challenges confronting startups that provide on-demand services

 

Hardware Models

  • a16z GP and serial entrepreneur Chris Dixon discusses challenges/opportunities with tech hardware startups
  • Ben Einstein of Bolt addresses misperceptions about challenges with hardware startups

 

Flawed Business Models

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Lean Startup

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LEAN STARTUP OVERVIEW

 

SKEPTICAL VIEWS 

 

PRODUCT-MARKET FIT

 

MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCTS/VALIDATION METHODS: CONCEPTS AND EXAMPLES

 

PIVOTING

 

STAYING IN STEALTH MODE

  • Elad Gil outlines the pros and cons of staying in stealth mode

 

METRICS/ANALYTICS

  • The book Lean Analytics, by Alistair Croll and Ben Yoskovitz, provides a practical guide to applying lean startup analytics to different tech startup business models, and presents metric to track for each model, along with benchmarks for good performance
  • Ben Yoskovitz of GoInstant on the value of focusing on "one metric that matters"
  • Ash Maurya discusses metrics that guide action

 

CASE STUDIES

  • Case Study: The Nordstrom Innovation Lab, by Eric Ries. Watch the second video, which shows how a design team used customer feedback on MVP prototypes to rapidly refine a concept for an i-Pad app for sunglasses purchasers
  • A video from one of Eric Ries's annual Lean Startup Conferences of the founder of Chef's Table discussing their pivots and hypothesis tests winner, Chef's Table. Many other case studies are captured in LSC videos 
  • Vin Vacanti on excuses that kept Yipit from launching early. 

 

LEAN STARTUP LOGIC: APPLICABILITY IN BIG COMPANIES

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UX Design

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PRODUCT DESIGN PRINCIPLES

 

RESOURCES DISCUSSING MULTIPLE UX RESEARCH TECHNIQUES

     

    PERSONAS

     

    CUSTOMER DISCOVERY INTERVIEWING

     

    ETHNOGRAPHY 

     

    SURVEY RESEARCH 

     

    PROTOTYPING/WIREFRAMING

     

    SPLIT TESTING PRODUCT FEATURES

     

    USABILITY RESEARCH

     

    DESIGN CRITIQUES

     

    ONBOARDING DESIGN CHALLENGES

     

    RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN DESIGN, PRODUCT AND ENGINEERING

     

    UX DESIGN FOR STARTUPS

     

    UX DESIGN/DESIGN THINKING BASICS

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    Marketing

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    MARKETING FUNDAMENTALS

     

    MARKETING ANALYTICS AND METRICS

     

    GROWTH MARKETING

     

    CONVERSION RATE OPTIMIZATION, A/B TESTING

     

    VIRAL MARKETING

     

    SEO

     

    SEM AND FACEBOOK ADVERTISING

     

    EMAIL MARKETING

     

    CONTENT MARKETING

     

    SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

     

    PR STRATEGY

     

    BRANDING/NAMING A STARTUP

     

    SAAS MARKETING

     

    MOBILE MARKETING

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    Sales

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    STARTUP SALES MANAGEMENT: GENERAL ISSUES

     

    ACCOUNT SELECTION AND MANAGEMENT

     

    MANAGING CONFLICT WITH OTHER FUNCTIONS

     

    SALES SENIOR MANAGEMENT: WHO TO HIRE/WHEN TO HIRE THEM

     

    SALES REPS: HOW TO HIRE, MANAGE AND MOTIVATE THEM

     

    PERSONAL SELLING

     

    MANAGING INSIDE SALES

     

    ENTERPRISE/SAAS SALES

     

    INTRODUCTORY READINGS ON SALES MANAGEMENT AND PERSONAL SELLING 

    • My HBS colleague Frank Cespedes has written extensively about the sales function. His work includes a new book, Aligning Strategy and Sales, and many articles, such as “How to Identify the Best Customers for Your Business” and “Teamwork for Today’s Selling.” 
    • Neil Rackham, SPIN Selling. SPIN stands for “Situation. Problem. Implication. Need-Payoff” -- a classic framework used in sales training. The book presents a practical, structured approach for selling complex products in settings with multiple decision makers. 
    • Philip Delves Broughton, The Art of the Sale. Broughton interviews successful salespeople around the world and synthesizes research on personal selling. He does a great job of exploring ethical issues and psychological pressures confronting sales people. 
    • Daniel H. Pink, To Sell Is Human. Describes how technology and other macro trends are changing the sales function and summarizes behavioral research on the attributes of successful sales people. 
    • Aaron Ross & Marylou Tyler, Predictable Revenue, provides a practical summary of best practices for personal selling and sales management based on Aaron's experience at Salesforce.com.
    • A. Zoltners, P. Sinha, and G. Zoltners, The Complete Guide to Accelerating SalesForce Performance. A superb reference book that covers all the elements of sales management, including hiring, training, compensation design, territory assignments, quotas, etc. 
    • The research firm CSO Insights, run by former HP executives Jim Dickie and Barry Trailer (CSO = Chief Sales Officer), publishes frequent blog posts on a range of sales management topics.

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    Funding

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    ENTREPRENEURIAL FINANCE BASICS

    • In their book Venture Deals, Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson offer a terrific, in-depth explanation of term sheets, funding strategy, VC motivations, etc.
    • Jeff Bussgang of Flybridge Capital provides an overview of entrepreneurial finance and how venture capital works in his book, Mastering the VC Game
    • The VentureHacks archives provide an excellent set of links to resources on fundraising and other startup management topics
    • Steve Blank's amazing list of resources for entrepreneurs includes lots of links to advice on fundraising, cap table calculators, term sheet generators, etc. Scroll down to "Starting and Running a Startup Advice" about one-third of the way down the page

     

    GENERAL FUNDRAISING ADVICE FOR ENTREPRENEURS

     

    SEED STAGE FUNDRAISING ADVICE

     

    HOW MUCH MONEY TO RAISE?

     

    TERM SHEET ISSUES

     

    CONVERTIBLE NOTES

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    Pitching

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    DESIGNING INVESTOR PITCHES

     

    DELIVERING INVESTOR PITCHES

     

    GENERAL PRESENTATION TIPS

     

    PRODUCT DEMOS

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    Early Team Issues

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    DECISIONS ABOUT FOUNDING TEAMS

     

    FINDING A TECHNICAL CO-FOUNDER

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    Startup Failure

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    WHY STARTUPS FAIL

     

    STARTUP FAILURE RATES

     

    WHEN TO QUIT/HOW TO FAIL/LEARNING FROM FAILURE

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    How to Succeed as a Founder

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    REFLECTIONS ON STARTUP RISKS AND KEY SUCCESS FACTORS

     

    THE FOUNDER'S ROLE: MOTIVATIONS, ATTRIBUTES, AND ATTITUDES REQUIRED FOR SUCCESS

     

    GENERAL ADVICE FOR FOUNDERS

     

    CHALLENGES AT DIFFERENT LIFE CYCLE STAGES

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    Should You Found/Join a Startup?

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    GENERAL ADVICE ON FOUNDING/JOINING STARTUPS

     

    ADVICE FOR MBAS WHO ASPIRE TO FOUND/JOIN STARTUPS

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    Startup Lifestyle and its Pressures

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