Derek Sivers

Founders at Work - by Jessica Livingston

Founders at Work - by Jessica Livingston

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

Long in-depth interviews with company founders, telling their tales of how they started. Lots of stories with a few usable gems.

my notes

Sabeer Bhatia:
The one lesson I've learned is you've got to own the customer. It's OK if you don't monetize them up front, but having that customer base and being able to upsell them services or advertise - you can always make money off of them.
Make sure you write a business plan because it will crystallize your thoughts to communicate your ideas with somebody else. Once written, have someone critique it and ask you questions.
Don't try to change user behavior dramatically. Make it a small change, yet an important one.

Steve Wozniak:
Have the higest of ethics. Be open and truthful about things, not hiding. Don't mislead people.
Always seek excellence : make your product better than the average person would.

Joe Kraus:
Hire slowly and more carefully.
Be cheap, cheap, cheap.
Get the legs of the business underneath it before you run terribly fast. Take the time to understand the dynamics of the business so we can scale it.

Ray Ozzie:
Before I start a company, I write a couple of founding documents:
1. outside-in : scenario-based describing the high-level challenge I'm trying to address and the end-user scenarios we're trying to solve
2. bottom-up : describing the different technologies that will have to be assembled to accomplish this mission
Companies take their shape based on the personality characteristics and human interaction characteristics of the founders.
Learn more about the kind of culture you want to create in your company.

Evan Williams:
What kills great things is compromise - letting people talk you out of what your gut is telling you.

Tim Brady:
Do as much thinking up-front about what your breaking points are. Why am I getting in? When do I leave? What gets me up in the morning? What could happen to make me stop getting up in the morning?

Joshua Schachter:
Reduce. Do as little as possible to get what you have to get done. Do less of it - get it done.
If you've got two things you want to put together, take away until they go together. Don't add another thing.
Because you can understand it better, you can analyze it more cleanly.
Doing less is so important.

Marvin Minsky:
Pick a big enough project, something that's really hard, something that over the years you can work on.