Best Books on Startups & VC

Until recently, there have been astonishingly few good books by and for people who are building (or investing in) high-growth startup companies.   Fortunately that has changed:  after digesting far too many (burp), here are my picks of the most actionable and readable.  Unlike the many “textbook” treatments, these are written engagingly by successful principals who have “been there done that”, share their real-name stories, and know what you’re facing.   For fun there are couple of books in the “how to spend it” department by successful VCs (Tom Perkins) and entrepreneurs (Larry Ellison.) Andrew Roman’s Entrepreneurial Bible  < (Click to buy from Amazon) My pick for the best, most complete, and most applicable CEO / founder oriented startup book in print.   Mr. Romans has extensive experience in venture capital and has been an entrepreneur, so he writes from the useful perspective of one who has been on both sides of the table.   (Some of us think such experience makes the best VCs because we who have been entrepreneurs understand what it takes.) The book’s real stars are the domain-expert guest authors who have written many valuable chapters.  These range from well-known attorneys like Elton Satusky of famed Silicon Valley law firm Wilson-Sonsini, to legendary founders of venture funds including Pitch Johnson (Asset Management) and Tim Draper (DFJ), and successful CEOs.  The chapters are self-contained bite-size sections and the examples are real,  which makes for a fun read whether cover to cover, or in an a la carte open-it-anywhere style. It focuses mainly on consumer-oriented companies (as do most of these books) so it lacks some depth in IP and...

Of Board Meetings and Success

Board meetings.  Love them or hate them, they are a part of every company, non-profit and investor’s life.  With one exception (we’ll get to that later), I have loved every board of directors I have been part of whether as CEO or a board member or Chair in good times and bad. More importantly, I believe there is a strong correlation between the company’s success and how well it integrates the Board and Directors into its functioning.  I base this on over 20 boards on which I have been a member over a 20 year period.   With only one exception (see the end) the companies (and nonprofits), where there has been the most frequent board member interaction have been the most successful.  The entities where interaction has been quarterly and formal only have the highest rates of failure including bankruptcy.download full movie Hacksaw Ridge So what characterizes a high-functioning board and how does it help make a company successful?   Primarily it’s members who: 1.)  Know they are all on the same team  and do everything they can to ensure the success of the entity.   This is all about attitude and knowing it’s not about control, it’s about success.  The CEO can set this tone by holding a board dinner at the inception of a new board (or board member) where everyone can get to know each other while breaking a little bread. 2.)  Respect and leverage each other’s strengths.  For a CEO, a good board is like having 60-80 years of experience sitting around the table with you. WOW right?  CEO’s that leverage that, have an...