Book review: Founders at Work

I just finished re-readig Jessica Livingston‘s collection of interviews with startup founders, Founders at Work.  I read most of this when it came out, but I never owned a copy until a couple of months ago.

It’s a great book, highly recommended.  The stories read almost like short fiction.  Except you know the companies and, in some cases, the people.  It was fascinating.
Some strong patterns emerge:
– Validate your idea often, ideally by charging money for it.  No substitute for market validation, no matter how fancy the technology.
– Be flexible in everything from your technology to your business model, and in between.  So many startups totally change their idea.
– The team matters far more than the idea.  Find people who complement your skills.  Don’t look to be the sole hero.
– Almost all startups have at least one near-death experience.  Some have many.
– Solve one bottleneck at a time.  Make an improvement every day in some way, no matter how small.  As long as you keep moving forward, you have a chance.
Read it.