Sep 032013

Startup CEO (OnlyOnce- the book!), Part IV – Book Launches Today!

Startup CEO (OnlyOnce- the book!), Part IV – Book Launches Today!

My book is officially on sale on Amazon and iTunes today.  The full detailed outline is here if you’re interested, and the link to buy it is here.

This is very exciting.  I had been saying for a while that I had no idea whether 50 people would buy it or 5,000, but the publisher (Wiley) tells me we had over 2,000 pre-orders, so that’s a great start, at least.

So thanks to those 2,000 brave souls, and anyone else who buys it as well.  I hope you enjoy it and look forward to your feedback directly, via OnlyOnce, via the #StartupCEO hashtag, via a rating/review on Amazon, or via the Startup Revolution web site.

I hope to get back to more regular blogging soon.  As you hay have noted, I’ve been more quiet than usual the last six months while writing the book.  But I have lots of great posts stored up…

Jul 092013

Startup CEO (OnlyOnce- the book!), Part III – Pre-Order Now

Startup CEO (OnlyOnce – the book!), Part III – Pre-Order Now

My book, Startup CEO:  A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, is now available for pre-order on Amazon in multiple formats (Print, Kindle), which is an exciting milestone in this project!  The book is due out right after Labor Day, but Brad Feld tells me that the more pre-orders I have, the better.  Please pardon the self-promotion, but click away if you’re interested!

Here are a few quick thoughts about the book, though I’ll post more about it and the process at some point:

  • I’ll be using the hashtag #startupceo more now to encourage discussion of topics related to startup CEOs – please join me!
  • The book has been described by a few CEOs who read it and commented early for me along the lines of “The Lean Startup movement is great, but this book starts where most of those books end and takes you through the ‘so you have a product that works in-market – now what?’ questions”
  • The book is part of the Startup Revolution series that Brad has been working on for a couple years now, including Do More (Even) Faster, Venture Deals, Startup Communities, and Startup Life (with two more to come, Startup Boards and Startup Metrics)
  • Writing a book is a LOT harder than I expected!

At this point, the best thing I can do to encourage you to read/buy is to share the full and final table of contents with you, sections/chapters/headings.  When I get closer in, I may publish some excerpts of new content here on Only Once.  Here’s the outline:

Part I: Storytelling

  • Chapter 1: Dream the Possible Dream…Entrepreneurship and Creativity, “A Faster Horse,” Vetting Ideas
  • Chapter 2: Defining and Testing the Story…Start Out By Admitting You’re Wrong, A Lean Business Plan Template, Problem, Solution, Key Metrics, Unique Value Proposition and Unfair Advantages, Channels, Customer Segments, Cost Structure and Revenue Streams
  • Chapter 3: Telling the Story to Your Investors…The Business Plan is Dead. Long Live the Business Plan, The Investor Presentation, The Elevator Pitch, The Size of the Opportunity, Your Competitive Advantage, Current Status and Roadmap from Today, The Strength of Your Team, Summary Financials, Investor Presentations for Larger Startups
  • Chapter 4: Telling the Story to Your Team…Defining Your Mission, Vision and Values, The Top-down Approach, The Bottom-Up Approach, The Hybrid Approach, Design a Lofty Mission Statement
  • Chapter 5: Revising the Story…Workshopping, Knowing When It’s Time to Make a Change, Corporate Pivots: Telling the Story Differently, Consolidating, Diversifying, Focusing, Business Pivots: Telling a Different Story
  • Chapter 6: Bringing the Story to Life…Building Your Company Purposefully, The Critical Elements of Company-Building, Articulating Purpose:  The Moral of the Story, You Can Be a Force for Helping Others—Even If Indirectly

Part II: Building the Company’s Human Capital

  • Chapter 7: Fielding a Great Team…From Protozoa to Pancreas, The Best and the Brightest, What About HR?, What About Sales & Marketing?, Scaling Your Team Over Time
  • Chapter 8: The CEO as Functional Supervisor…Rules for General Managers
  • Chapter 9: Crafting Your Company’s Culture…, Introducing Fig Wasp #879, Six Legs and a Pair of Wings, Let People Be People, Build an Environment of Trust
  • Chapter 10: The Hiring Challenge…Unique Challenges for Startups, Recruiting Outstanding Talent, Staying “In-Market”, Recruitment Tools, The Interview: Filtering Potential Candidates, Two Ears One Mouth, Who Should You Interview?, Onboarding: The First 90 Days
  • Chapter 11: Every Day in Every Way, We Get a Little Better…The Feedback Matrix, 1:1 Check-ins, “Hallway” Feedback, Performance Reviews, The 360, Soliciting Feedback on Your Own Performance, Crafting and Meeting Development Plans      
  • Chapter 12: Compensation…General Guidelines for Determining Compensation, The Three Elements of Startup Compensation, Base Pay, Incentive Pay, Equity              
  • Chapter 13: Promoting                …Recruiting from Within, Applying the “Peter Principle” to Management, Scaling Horizontally, Promoting Responsibilities Rather than Swapping Titles               
  • Chapter 14: Rewarding: “It’s the Little Things” That Matter…It Never Goes Without Saying, Building a Culture of Appreciation
  • Chapter 15: Managing Remote Offices and Employees…Brick and Mortar Values in a Virtual World, Best Practices for Managing Remote Employees
  • Chapter 16: Firing: When It’s Not Working…No One Should Ever Be Surprised to Be Fired, Termination and the Limits of Transparency, Layoffs

Part III: Execution

  • Chapter 17: Creating a Company Operating System…Creating Company Rhythms, A Marathon? Or a Sprint?
  • Chapter 18: Creating Your Operating Plan and Setting Goals…Turning Strategic Plans into Operating Plans, Financial Planning, Bringing Your Team into Alignment with Your Plans, Guidelines for Setting Goals
  • Chapter 19: Making Sure There’s Enough Money in the Bank…Scaling Your Financial Instincts, Boiling the Frog, To Grow or to Profit? That Is the Question, First Perfect the Model, Choosing Growth, Choosing Profits, The Third Way
  • Chapter 20: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Financing…Equity Investors, Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors, Strategic Investors, Debt, Convertible Debt, Venture Debt, Bank Loans, Personal Debt, Bootstrapping, Customer Financing, Your Own Cash Flow
  • Chapter 21: When and How to Raise Money…When to Start Looking for VC Money, The Top 11 Takeaways for Financing Negotiations
  • Chapter 22: Forecasting and Budgeting…Rigorous Financial Modeling, Of Course You’re Wrong—But Wrong How?, Budgeting in a Context of Uncertainty, Forecast, Early and Often
  • Chapter 23: Collecting Data…External Data, Learning from Customers, Learning from (Un)Employees, Internal Data, Skip-Level Meetings, Subbing, Productive Eavesdropping
  • Chapter 24: Managing in Tough Times…Managing in an Economic Downturn, Hope Is Not a Strategy—But It’s Not a Bad Tactic, Look for Nickels and Dimes under the Sofa, Never Waste a Good Crisis, Managing in a Difficult Business Situation
  • Chapter 25: Meeting Routines…Lencioni’s Meeting Framework, Skip-Level Meetings, Running a Productive Offsite
  • Chapter 26: Driving Alignment…Five Keys to Startup Alignment, Aligning Individual Incentives with Global Goals
  • Chapter 27: Have You Learned Your Lesson?…The Value (and Limitations) of Benchmarking, The Art of the Post-Mortem
  • Chapter 28: Going Global…Should Your Business Go Global?, How to Establish a Global Presence, Overcoming the Challenges of Going Global, Best Practices for Managing International Offices and Employees
  • Chapter 29: The Role of M&A…Using Acquisitions as a Tool in Your Strategic Arsenal, The Mechanics of Financing and Closing Acquisitions, Stock, Cash, Earn Out, The Flipside of M&A: Divestiture, Odds and Ends, Integration (and Separation)
  • Chapter 30: Competition…Playing Hardball, Playing Offense vs. Playing Defense, Good and Bad Competitors
  • Chapter 31: Failure…Failure and the Startup Model, Failure Is Not an Orphan

Part IV: Building and Leading a Board of Directors

  • Chapter 32: The Value of a Good Board…Why Have a Board?, Everybody Needs a Boss, The Board as Forcing Function, Pattern Matching, Forests, Trees, Honest Discussion and Debate
  • Chapter 33: Building Your Board…What Makes a Great Board Member?, Recruiting a Board Member, Compensating Your Board, Boards as Teams, Structuring Your Board, Board Size, Board Committees, Chairing the Board, Running a Board Feedback Process, Building an Advisory Board
  • Chapter 34: Board Meeting Materials…“The Board Book”, Sample Return Path Board Book, The Value of Preparing for Board Meetings
  • Chapter 35: Running Effective Board Meetings…Scheduling Board Meetings, Building a Forward-Looking Agenda, In-Meeting Materials, Protocol, Attendance and Seating, Device-Free Meetings, Executive and Closed Sessions
  • Chapter 36: Non-Board Meeting Time…Ad Hoc Meetings, Pre-Meetings, Social Outings
  • Chapter 37: Decision-Making and the Board…The Buck Stops—Where?, Making Difficult Decisions in Concert, Managing Conflict with Your Board
  • Chapter 38: Working with the Board on Your Compensation and Review…The CEO’s Performance Review, Your Compensation, Incentive Pay, Equity, Expenses
  • Chapter 39: Serving on Other Boards…The Basics of Serving on Other Boards, Substance, or Style?

Part V: Managing Yourself So You Can Manage Others

  • Chapter 40: Creating a Personal Operating System…Managing Your Agenda, Managing Your Calendar, Managing Your Time, Feedback Loops
  • Chapter 41: Working with an Executive Assistant…Finding an Executive Assistant, What an Executive Assistant Does
  • Chapter 42: Working with a Coach…The Value of Executive Coaches, Areas Where an Executive Coach Can Help
  • Chapter 43: The Importance of Peer Groups…The Gang of Six, Problem-Solving in Tandem
  • Chapter 44: Staying Fresh…Managing the Highs and Lows, Staying Mentally Fresh, At Your Company, Out and About, Staying Healthy, Me Time
  • Chapter 45: Your Family…Making Room for Home Life, Involving Family in Work, Bringing Work Principles Home
  • Chapter 46: Traveling…Sealing the Deal with a Handshake, Making the Most of Travel Time, Staying Disciplined on the Road
  • Chapter 47: Taking Stock of the Year…Celebrating “Yes”; Addressing “No”, Are You Having Fun?, Are You Learning and Growing as a Professional?, Is It Financially Rewarding?, Are You Making an Impact?
  • Chapter 48:  A Note on Exits…Five Rules of Thumb for Successfully Selling Your Company

 If you’re still with me and interested, again here are the links to pre-order (Print, Kindle).

Dec 202012

Startup CEO (OnlyOnce- the book!), Part II – Crowdsourcing the Outline

Startup CEO (OnlyOnce- the book!), Part II – Crowdsourcing the Outline

As I mentioned a few weeks ago here, I’m excited to be writing a book called Startup CEO:  A Field Guide to Building and Running Your Company, to be published by Wiley & Sons next summer.  Since many readers of OnlyOnce are my target audience for the book, I thought I’d post my current outline and ask for input and feedback on it.  So here it is, still a bit of a work in progress.  Please comment away and let me know what you think, what’s missing, what’s not interesting!

1           Part One: Vision and Strategy (Defining the Company)
1.1          Setting the Company’s Agenda
1.2          NIHITO! (or, “Nothing Interesting Happens in the Office”)
1.3          Setting the Business Direction
1.4          Strategic Planning, Part I: Turning Concepts Into Strategy
1.5          Strategic Planning, Part II: Creating the Plan
1.6          Defining Mission, Vision and Values
1.7          Communicating Vision and Strategy
1.8          The Role of M&A
1.9          The Art of the Pivot
1.10       How Vision and Strategy Change over Time

2           Part Two: Talent (Building the Company’s Human Capital)
2.1          Building a Team
2.2          Scaling the Team
2.3          Culture
2.4          Interviewing
2.5          Recruiting
2.6          Onboarding
2.7          Setting Goals
2.8          Feedback
2.9          Development
2.10       Compensation
2.11       Promoting
2.12       Rewarding
2.13       Managing Remote Offices and Employees
2.14       Firing: When It’s Not Working
2.15       How Talent Changes over Time

3           Part Three: Execution (Aligning Resources with Strategy)
3.1          Making Sure There’s Enough Money in the Bank
3.2          Types of Financing
3.3          Fundraising Basics
3.4          Negotiating Deals
3.5          Pros and Cons of Outside Financing
3.6          Forecasting and Budgeting
3.7          Creating a Company Operating System
3.8          Meeting Routines
3.9          Driving Alignment
3.10       A Metrics-Driven Approach to Running a Business
3.11       Learning
3.12       Post-Mortems
3.13       Thinking About Exits
3.14       How Execution Changes over Time
3.14.1      Finance
3.14.2      Execution

4           Part Four: Management And Leadership (The How of Being a CEO)
4.1          Leading an Executive Team
4.2          Critical Personal Traits
4.3          Being Collaborative
4.4          Being Decisive: Balancing Authority and Consensus
4.5          The Value of Symbolism
4.6          Getting the Most out of People
4.7          Diving Deep without Being Disruptive
4.8          Articulating Purpose
4.9          Collecting Data from the Organization
4.10       Managing in an Economic Downturn
4.11       Managing in Good Times vs. Bad Times
4.12       Communication
4.12.1      Macro (to Your Company and Customers)
4.12.2      Micro (One-on-One)
4.13       How Management and Leadership Change over Time

5           Part Five: Boards (A Unique Aspect of the CEO’s Job)
5.1          Building Your Board
5.2          Meeting Materials
5.3          Meetings
5.4          Between Meetings
5.5          Making Decisions and Maximizing Effectiveness
5.6          The Social Aspects of Running a Board
5.7          Working with the Board on Compensation
5.8          Evaluating the Board
5.9          Serving on Other Boards
5.10       How Boards Change over Time

6           Part Six: Managing Yourself So You Can Manage Others
6.1          Creating a Personal Operating System
6.2          Working with an Executive Assistant
6.3          Working with a Coach
6.4          Finding Your Voice
6.5          The Importance of Peer Groups
6.6          Your Family
6.7          Taking Stock
6.8          Staying Fresh
6.9          Staying Healthy
6.10       Traveling

Nov 062012

Startup CEO (OnlyOnce- the book!)

Startup CEO (OnlyOnce – the book!)

One of the things I’ve often thought over the years since starting Return Path in 1999 is that there’s no instruction manual anywhere for how to be a CEO.  While big company CEOs are usually groomed for the job for years, startup CEOs aren’t…and they’re often young and relatively inexperienced in business in general.  That became one of the driving forces behind the creation of my blog, OnlyOnce (because “you’re only a first time CEO once”) back in 2004.

Now, over 700 blog posts later, I’m excited to announce that I’m writing a book based on this blog called Startup CEO:  A Field Guide to Building and Running Your Company.  The book is going to be published by Wiley & Sons and is due out next summer.  The book won’t just be a compendium of blog posts, but it will build on a number of the themes and topics I’ve written about over the years and also fill in lots of other topics where I haven’t.

The catalyst for writing this book was Brad Feld.  Brad has been a friend, mentor, investor, and Board member for over a decade.  We’ve had many great times, meals, and conversations together over the years, not the least of which was staggering across the finish line together at the New York City Marathon in 2005.  Brad started writing books a few years ago, and I’ve been peripherally involved with them, first with Do More Faster:  TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup (I contributed one of the chapters) and then with Venture Deals:  Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist (I wrote all the “Entrepreneur Perspective” sidebars).

Those are great books, and they’ve been incredibly well received by the global entrepreneurial community.  But then Brad got the bug, and now he’s in the middle of writing FOUR new books with Wiley that will all come out over the next year.  They are:

These four books, plus the two earlier ones, plus Startup CEO, are all part of the Startup Revolution series.  While I’ll continue to do most of my blogging and posting here on OnlyOnce, I’d also encourage you to check out the Startup Revolution site and sign up to be a member of that community.  I’ll be doing some things on that site as well in connection with Startup CEO, and it’s a more concentrated place to post and comment on all things Startup.  In addition, we’ll be putting a bunch of add-ons to the book on that site closer to publication time.

I hope Startup CEO becomes a standard for all new CEOs.  I don’t think I have all the answers, but at least others can benefit by learning from my 13 years of successes and mistakes!  Now all I have to do is go write the darned thing.

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