Synopses & Reviews
Praise for all in startup
“I dare you to find a business book for entrepreneurs that’s as useful as All In Startup, and I double-dare you to find one that’s as much fun to read. Diana Kander captures what it’s like to launch something new. The result is a book that helps set readers on the path to finding startup success.”
—Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com and author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller Delivering Happiness
“This is a must read for anyone interested in launching a new product or business. All In Startup makes lean concepts more accessible through a simple but powerful allegory to which readers will easily relate. Diana Kander helps readers understand the value of the lean approach by tying it to a memorable story.”
—Steve Blank, Lecturer, U.C. Berkeley, Stanford University, Columbia University and UCSF
“Not often enough is a business book so chock-full of intelligent advice and such a fun read.”
—John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing and Duct Tape Selling
“There is seldom a read that when you start it, you can’t put it down. Diana Kander has crafted such an experience that fuses an engaging story of choices, dilemmas, tradeoffs, and problems with the real-world experience of the entrepreneur. In a narrative that captures the culture and the spirit of an entrepreneur in a worthy tale of swagger, hustle and intuition, the reader will learn the lessons of the ‘all in’ entrepreneur and build a framework to approach their own entrepreneurial pathway. Before you know it, the lessons framed in the book become your own, to the extent that you will convince yourself you have always known them. I’ve concluded that anyone who thinks they may want to take a crack at founding a business should read All In Startup first.”
—Ted Zoller, Director, Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
“If more books were like All In Startup, the business world would be much better off, and significantly more entertaining. This is a delightfully fresh take on what it requires to follow your passion—even against the odds. Highly recommended!”
—Jay Baer, New York Times bestselling author of Youtility
A book for anyone who has started a business, thought about starting a business, or just been close to someone who has, All In Startup
introduces the reader to the latest advances in entrepreneurship, including a new understanding of how to launch a company in a way that dramatically improves its chances of success.
The “business plan” curriculum taught in most M.B.A. programs is on the verge of extinction. A new “scientific method” of entrepreneurship built around forming and testing basic assumptions will soon replace the tired old model. The book, told through a case study approach, follows the story of Owen Chase who is tasked with turning his company around in 9 days. Through rich storytelling, All In Startup provides a book-length case study to showcase a new type of entrepreneurship, revealing innovative business principles and the emotional reality of entrepreneurship that goes tragically unmentioned during business school.
The new entrepreneur—taking a scientific approach to business development
All In Startup: Launching a New Idea When Everything Is on the Line introduces the latest advances in entrepreneurship, and a new understanding of how to launch a company. Written for anyone who has started a business, thought about starting a business, or just been close to someone who has, the book details the new thinking surrounding startups as old models fade away. Readers follow the story of Clive Owen, a man tasked with turning his company around in nine days. Through rich storytelling, All In Startup provides a book-length case study that showcases a new type of entrepreneurship, revealing the innovative principles that dramatically increase a startup's chance of success.
The traditional "business plan" model taught in MBA programs is on the verge of extinction. Entrepreneurs who are successful in the new marketplace are using the scientific method as applied to business, with companies built around forming and testing basic assumptions. All In Startup provides a roadmap toward implementing this up and coming model, discussing every aspect of new business, from vetting the idea to customer relations. Topics include:
- Using small bets to find opportunities
- The hidden value in wrong assumptions
- Recognizing Vanity Metrics to avoid big losses
- Fear and inaction as threats to business
The book highlights common pitfalls, and discusses the emotional reality that goes tragically unmentioned in business school. Anyone looking to turn their great idea into a successful business should consider all possible angles before diving in. All In Startup sheds a light on the new era of entrepreneurship, built by the modern entrepreneur.
If Owen Chase can’t find a way to turn his company around in the next nine days, he’ll be forced to shut it down and lay off all of his employees. He has incurred substantial debt and his marriage is on shaky ground.
Through pure happenstance, Owen finds himself pondering this problem while advancing steadily as a contestant at the World Series of Poker. His Las Vegas path quickly introduces him to Samantha, a beautiful and mysterious mentor with a revolutionary approach to entrepreneurship. Sam is a fountain of knowledge that may save his company, but her sexual advances might prove too much for Owen’s struggling marriage.
All In Startup is more than just a book about eschewing temptation and fighting to save a company. It is a lifeline for entrepreneurs who are thinking about launching a new idea or for those who have already started but can’t seem to generate the traction they were expecting.
Entrepreneurs who achieve success in the new economy do so using a new “scientific method” of innovation. All In Startup demonstrates why four counterintuitive principles separate successful entrepreneurs from the wanna-preneurs who bounce from idea to idea, unable to generate real revenue.
You will likely get only one opportunity in your life to go “all in” on an idea: to quit your job, talk your spouse into letting you drain the savings account, and follow your dream. All In Startup will prepare you for that “all in” moment and make sure that you push your chips into the middle only when the odds are in your favor. This book holds the keys to significantly de-risking your idea so that your success appears almost lucky.
Join Owen and Sam for this one-of-a-kind journey that will set you on the right path for when it’s your turn to put everything on the line.
About the Author
DIANA KANDER is a successful entrepreneur, having founded and sold a number of ventures, and is a Senior Fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the largest non-profit in the world dedicated to entrepreneurship and education. A Georgetown-educated attorney who left a successful practice to launch her first company, Diana draws on her experience as a founder, investor, and academic to design and implement curriculum in educational institutions and the private sector. A sought-after public speaker, consultant, and writer, Diana has advised startup founders and Fortune 500 executives on her methodology for launching customer-focused products and services and developing an entrepreneurial mindset throughout an organization.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Steve Blank ix
A Letter from Thom Ruhe, VP of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation xi
Chapter 1: First Appearances Can Be Deceiving 1
Chapter 2: You’re Not Fooling Anyone 7
Chapter 3: You Can’t Sell Anything by Doing All of the Talking 13
Chapter 4: It’s How Well You Lose, Not How Well You Win, That Determines Whether You Get to Keep Playing 19
Chapter 5: The Real Pros Don’t Play Every Hand 25
Chapter 6: Vanity Metrics Can Hide the Real Numbers That Matter to Your Business 29
Chapter 7: You Won’t Find a Mentor if You Don’t Ask 35
Chapter 8: Put Your Customers and Their Needs before Your Vision for a Solution 39
Chapter 9: Don’t Gamble—Use Small Bets to Find Opportunities 47
Chapter 10: Even Experts Need to Prepare for New Terrain 51
Chapter 11: People Don’t Buy Visionary Products; They Buy Solutions to Their Problems 55
Chapter 12: Only Customers Can Tell You if You’ve Found a Problem Worth Solving 63
Chapter 13: Hoping and Praying for Luck Is Not a Strategy 75
Chapter 14: It’s Never Too Late to Test Your Assumptions 81
Chapter 15: The Secret to Customer Interviews Is
Nonleading, Open-Ended Questions 87
Chapter 16: The Only Way to Get Good at Customer Interviews Is to Practice 95
Chapter 17: Finding Out Your Assumptions Were Wrong Is Just as Valuable as Proving Them Right 99
Chapter 18: Don’t Pivot to a New Idea without Testing Your New Assumptions 109
Chapter 19: Save Your Chips for When You’ll Need the Least Amount of Luck to Win 117
Chapter 20: Successful Entrepreneurs Recognize Failure, Fold, and Live to Fight Another Day 123
Chapter 21: Test Your Assumptions before Committing Any Resources to an Idea 133
Chapter 22: Luck Can Be Engineered if You Take Emotion Out of the Equation 143
Chapter 23: Every Successful Entrepreneur Has More Failures than Successes 149
Chapter 24: The Harder You Work, the Luckier You’ll Get 153
Chapter 25: Opportunities to Find Prospective Customers Are Everywhere—You Just Have to Look 157
Chapter 26: The Best Feedback from Potential Customers Comes from Meticulous Interviews 161
Chapter 27: Recognize the Vanity Metrics to Avoid Big Losses 169
Chapter 28: Keep Interviewing Customers until You Find a Migraine Problem Worth Solving 173
Chapter 29: People Can’t Help Themselves from Sharing When You Bring Up a Migraine Problem 181
Chapter 30: Stay Objective in Your Interviews Whether You Are Getting Good or Bad News 187
Chapter 31: Nothing Else Matters until You Can Prove That Customers Want Your Product 191
Chapter 32: Luck Makers Seek Out New Experiences and Find Opportunities Wherever They Go 195
Chapter 33: Luck Is Not a Good Strategy for Poker or Business—It’s the Outcome of a Good Strategy 201
Chapter 34: To Prove Demand, Find the Shortest Path to the Ultimate Customer Action 209
Chapter 35: Prepare for Bad Luck by Building Up Reserves 219
Chapter 36: Fear and Inaction Are the Two Greatest Threats to Your Business Idea 225
Chapter 37: Understand Your Tendencies On Tilt So That You Can Compensate for Them 229
Chapter 38: There Is No Mistaking It When You Uncover Migraine Problems Worth Solving 235
Chapter 39: Get Comfortable with Being Wrong 241
Chapter 40: Don’t Go All-In without Confirming Your Assumptions through Smaller Bets 249
Chapter 41: Second Chances Are Rare—Make Sure You Get It Right the First Time Around 253
Chapter 42: Even When You Find a Migraine Problem, Crafting a Solution Requires Vigilance and Readjustment 255
Chapter 43: Don’t Commit All-In until You Prove That Customers Want Your Product and There’s a Business Model to Support It 265
Chapter 44: The Strength of Your Initial Idea, or Starting Hand, Is Always Relative 269
Sam’s Journal 271
About the Author 283