When Ried Hoffman, the co-founder of world’s largest professional network LinkedIn and author-entrepreneur Ben Casnocha team up to write a book on starting up, chances are, you are going to read from cover to cover and perhaps follow up on the footnotes too.
Their book, “The Startup of You,” however, is not really a clichéd self help book. Out of the 250 odd pages, come examples of successful people in the Silicon Valley, the art of start and years of experience gleaned not only to inspire but also to make you act. For instance, the book tells you why its important for startups to adapt through the example of Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield who set out to roll out an online multiplayer game and ended up making Flickr, now used by millions of users.
While the the author’s plug LinkedIn a little more than often, one can be forgiving for the interesting examples and insights the book has to offer. For instance, how did Sheryl Sandberg who began her career in India where she worked on public health projects for the World Bank, go on to become one of the top executives at Google and then Facebook? The idea is to pivot towards breakout opportunities by tapping the intelligence of the network.
In seven chapters, the authors tell you how all humans are entrepreneurs, how you can develop a competitive advantage, network, adapt, plan and pursue breakout opportunities in the in the new new world. The book begins by establishing that all humans are “entrepreneurs at the helm of at least one living, growing start-up,” which is their career.
It goes on to explain the changing nature of work and how start-up’s like human beings need to be in permanent beta to thrive.
Hoffman and Casnocha explain in detail the principles of Silicon Valley in the book. Here are some of the things you are likely to learn from the book
1. Developing competitive advantage by understanding your assets, aspirations and market realities.
2. Using ABZ planning
3. Building relationships and deploying a powerful network
4. Finding and creating opportunities by tapping networks, being resourceful and staying in motion.
5. Appraising and taking on intelligent risk.
6. Tapping network intelligence.
Coming from Hoffman, who has invested in Facebook, Zynga, Flikr and co-founded companies like Paypal and Linkedin, one is left with little choice but believe that the advice is sound and read the book.