Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur
What struck me about Stuart Skormanís book (subtitled, "Why I Canít Stop Starting Over") is his creative need to start new businesses and his (growing) wisdom about business. Stuartís better-known accomplishments are launching Reel.com (sold for $100M) and Elephant Pharmacy.
Stuartís smarts, creativity, luck, risk-taking, and finances are well-described. The book is written in a conversational style - itís as if youíre sitting down with him (or going for a walk) and heís mentoring you on customer service and startup business logic. He not only describes his business life, but also his personal life (and the give-and-take he learned). The best part of the book is his hard-won pearls of wisdom that end each chapter:
* Why I rarely hire MBAs (they often donít understand the needs for creativity, struggle, and sacrifice)
* Customers can be your best teachers (by intimately knowing your customers likes and dislikes you have a better chance for success)
* Decisions should be made by the person with the best resumť (Hire well and entrust the right person make the right choices on your behalf)
* Three rules to winning in poker and business (Be aggressive, be conservative, be opportunistic)
* Doís and doníts for choosing a business (base it on logic, stick with the familiar, prioritize fun, start small, do something established, know your risk tolerance, and focus on short-term goals)
* Create a second bottom line for your idealism (calculate the cost of your idealism from your profitability)
* Avoid creativity at all costs (where possible, reuse existing well-tested solutions to your problems. Creativity is expensive (but attention-getting)).
* How to make the transition from a big company to a start-up (start small, do your homework, work for a startup first, understand your motivation, and be financially prepared).