The Starttech Curriculum

Back in 2015 I started asking myself why is it that so many companies fail, even if they’re very well funded, equipped with the world’s brightest brains and addressing large and fast growing markets?

In the quest to respond to this question, I got astonished to discover that in most of the cases entrepreneurs (as well as their investors and advisers) were feeling comfortable to just follow what they considered as ‘common sense’ in the sophisticated effort of launching a new product.

Unfortunately, however, common sense does not really help with complicated problems requiring sophisticated solutions. As it often is the case, the answer can be found nowhere but in knowledge. I started, then, looking at the pertinent bibliography and, surprise — surprise, I found out that a pertinent revolution was already happening.

Pioneers like Steve Blank, Alex Osterwalder and Eric Ries have already been paving the way to a scientific approach to new product development and, in essence, to entrepreneurship. This is of utmost importance as a ‘scientific approach’ basically means a repeatable one; in other words, the Holy Grail of each and every investor and entrepreneur!

The last six years I have invested a good part of my time in acquiring this knowledge and in trying to really deepen and sharpen my pertinent understanding. Based on these efforts, I have compiled a book list, which can be found below, which is consisted by four groups of four books each, which could easily correspond to a semesterly pace (or even quarterly, for experienced, fast learners), accompanied by a second list of complementary books which can and should be read anytime throughout this process.

This is not a static list, of course. New knowledge is created on a daily basis and more, excellent books get published every year. I really think, however, that it does form a solid foundation for the contemporary tech entrepreneur and I warmly recommend it.

What is very important though is the studying approach; those books should not be studied in isolation. On the contrary, an experimental, ‘laboratory’ approach should be adopted. The entrepreneur must first read, then work, and then analyze results. After that, they have to return back to theory, deepen their understanding and repeat the experimentation cycle — In other words, the famous “Build — Measure — Learn” cycle, evangelized by Eric Ries in “Lean Startup”, only applied in the learning process.

My concluding remark is on the question whether entrepreneurship can be taught or not; in the past, I used to believe that success in entrepreneurial endeavors are largely based on charisma. I could not have been more wrong with that! The truth is that entrepreneurship can indeed be taught and, even more, no matter the charisma one may have (which definitely helps), if they don’t study, they won’t succeed. As simple as that!

Do take my word for that and, if you want to enjoy the unparalleled experience of a successful entrepreneurial journey, do invest the time necessary to read and to really understand the books below:

The fundamentals

Let’s Get to Work

Getting Ready to Scale

Going Forward

Good to read in any order

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