Here's Everything You Should Know About Startup

The Book That Wasn't Meant To Be a Book


I know what you're thinking. It's kind of an ego trip to put a title on a book like Everything You Should Know About Startup. In my defense, it's not what I meant to do when I set out on this project.

But for the record, I wish I had read this book 20 years ago.

In the spring of 2015, Automated Insights, the startup I helped build from the ground up when it was just me and the founder developing our first Natural Language Generation platform and a bunch of young coders standing up the infrastructure, was acquired, quite by surprise, by a private equity firm. It was one of the highest-dollar exits in the Triangle startup center in years.

Just 15 months prior to that acquisition, ExitEvent, a news source and network/database of startups across the Southeast and beyond, was acquired by Capitol Broadcasting for 20x what I put into it.

My phone, email, Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook blew up. A lot of questions about taking startup to exit, a lot of the same questions about taking startup to exit. After more coffee, lunch, and beer than one human should have over the span of two months, I got an idea.

See, the Ai/ExitEvent twin exits weren't an overnight thing. They were actually my 9th and 10th startups. Most of those turned profitable and exited nicely, a couple of them blew up in my face or languished into stagnation. But over the course of 20 years and 10 startups, I've built up enough stories and scenarios to be able to talk about startup without having to resort to bullshit startup talk.

On top of that, I'm kind of an analysis nut. I try to find commonality, causality, efficiency, and root cause in whatever it is I'm doing. Strip away the jargon, the random, the flash, and distil the components that can be reused, simply and measurably, to fire the rocket.

THAT is what I set out to do when I began Teaching Startup and the book which would eventually become Everything You Should Know About Startup. It grew organically. The first few chapters I wrote were kind of random with a common theme of going against the grain of what's out there posing as entrepreneur education today.

Once I hit on the idea of the Five Stages of Startup, the first five chapters of the book, I realized I had just put the general startup timeline into chunks that applied to almost any startup and words that everyone could understand. So I had the "when" of startup nailed.

It made sense to then go after the "who," which is where Five Roles of Startup came from, the next five chapters. Following that was the "what," breaking down the Five Kinds of Startup, then the funding, then the motivation.

Pow. There's Everything You Should Know. More importantly, by elimination you get everything you don't need to know. There are too many smart, talented people locked into jobs or careers that don't fulfill them. They don't get into startup because they think there's all this qualifying experience or knowledge they need to have to call themselves an entrepreneur.

That's just so false. If you create something and sell it for more than it costs you to make and market, you're an entrepreneur. It doesn't matter if that something is software, an app, a service, a comic book, a dessert topping, a cancer drug, whatever.

That's the spirit baked into Everything You Should Know About Startup. If you're new to startup, here's your universe. If you've been an entrepreneur for a while, whether you consider yourself one or not, here are 121 concepts you need to be thinking about and building off of. At least 80% of this content will apply directly to you. The other 20% is where you'll succeed or fail.

I also understand there's a lot of borderline scammery and false-prophecy in learning to be an entrepreneur. So I broke out the first five chapters of the book into another title, Getting Started, and that's available for free.

My hope is that you'll start with Getting Started, then pay for Everything You Should Know, read it (hey, review it too), and then use it as a reference as you build your own thing.

Oh, and for a limited time, depending on when you're reading this, you can get the entire Everything You Should Know book for free, provided you're willing to review it. Just go to my books page and fill out the form (if the form is no longer there, I'm no longer giving away books).