Founders at Work – Part 1

I’ve recently picked up a book called Founders at Work. I thought I’ve heard about it when I was trying out my start-up in 2006, but it has copyright date of 2007. It is a collection of interviews of founders at various (successful) start-ups.

There are definite similarities between all these successful founders.

  1. Most of them were singles when they started companies.
  2. They all started early, mostly around college period and sometimes in high school.
  3. Because they started early, they were all inexperienced and naive. Yet, most of them got funding from VCs. That seems to contradict conventional belief that VCs bet on a jockey, not on a horse. Big difference? Working prototype. They all had products and prototype already working.
  4. Most of them had gone through some tough times during the life of the start-up.
  5. Their first idea rarely worked. Many have gone through multiple iteration of ideas to get it right.
  6. Most had good partners and co-founders that supported each other in tough times. They all persevered, and made it at the end.
  7. They all attributed a lot of their successes to luck. It’s not that they didn’t work hard and only waited for Lady Luck to smile at them. They worked really hard, and while things could have gone many different ways, some things just fell into place….by chance.

I haven’t finished the book, but I have to wonder if I had given up my company way too early. There were many additional obstacles; like having to support the family and having no committed co-founder (my partner left in less than six months). Though, I don’t regret having started a company. It was once-in-a-lifetime experience. Another thing the book said was that start-ups tend to require more than professional commitment from employees. People say you don’t get in to business with friends, but start-ups do need friends because of its high emotional requirements.

Nevertheless, it’s very interesting book. I wish I had read this book before I started my company.

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