Book

“Every entrepreneur faces trade-offs when founding and growing their company. As we discovered at YouTube, those early decisions have far-reaching impacts and lead to unforeseen pitfalls down the road. Noam Wasserman uses vivid anecdotes and deep research to expertly outline the key early choices that define a startup, making The Founder’s Dilemmas an invaluable alternative to real-world trial and error.” —Chad Hurley, founder-CEO of YouTube

TheFoundersDilemmas

“This book provides the rare combination of practical advice and scholarly research. It gets to the heart of the people issues that can bedevil every, and I do mean every, startup. Issues such as founder motivations, equity splits, and equity control can make or break a company. I guarantee that the price of this book is approximately one-thousandth of what you’ll pay lawyers to clean up your mess if you don’t read it.”–Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment and former chief evangelist of Apple

“Noam Wasserman takes you through every major issue in a startup and shows you how to handle it in a prescriptive, logical way. The Founder’s Dilemmasis for everyone thinking about starting a serious company, with their eye on a big prize, and for the people who invest in those companies.”–Paul Maeder, chairman of the National Venture Capital Association, founder and general partner of Highland Capital Partners

“The research that Noam Wasserman has assembled here can help entrepreneurial companies who want to prepare well for their future. The Founder’s Dilemmas is a must-read for anyone thinking about starting a business.”–Timothy C. Draper, founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson

“This book offers a rich understanding of the central personal dilemmas that entrepreneurs uniquely face. These dilemmas are tied to particular choices for entrepreneurs that can have subtle and unexpected ramifications. I don’t know of any other book that comes close to examining these specific and important issues.”–Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, Stanford University, coauthor of Competing on the Edge: Strategy as Structured Chaos


“Looking at the real-life founder issues of many accomplished entrepreneurs, Noam Wasserman draws insights that are both universal and timeless. If you’re thinking of starting a new venture, do your homework and read this first.” -Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO and cofounder of Yelp

The Founder’s Dilemmas is required reading for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and the professionals who work with them. Few entrepreneurs appreciate the far-reaching implications of decisions they need to make at the beginning of a startup venture. Most founders make these critical decisions based on their gut instincts; backed up by data covering ten thousand founders, Noam Wasserman shows that the most common choices made at the outset of a new venture are often the wrong ones. This book also shines a light on the difficult conversations that entrepreneurs need to have with their colleagues and with their investors, and makes plainspoken, commonsense recommendations that facilitate this dialogue.” -Pascal Levensohn, founding partner of Levensohn Venture Partners and member of the board of directors of the National Venture Capital Association (2007–2011)

The Founder’s Dilemmas will change the way we think about the internal dynamics that can make or break startup companies. Drawing on substantial research and considerable insight into practice, Wasserman uncovers the inner lives of startups, exploring the personal and professional conflicts that founders encounter on their entrepreneurial journeys. His book will appeal to academics and practitioners alike.” -Thomas Hellmann, University of British Columbia

The Founder’s Dilemmas fills an important gap in the entrepreneurship literature by providing an in-depth treatment of the people problems that confront all new business founders. Wasserman argues that people problems are responsible for a significant portion of startup failures, and that entrepreneurs tend to underestimate their potentially dangerous long-term effects. In this pathbreaking book, he grounds the analysis of these problems in both richly textured case examples and rigorously developed concepts and theories.” -Ari Ginsberg, director of the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at New York University’s Stern School of Business

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15 Pings/Trackbacks for "Book"
  1. ‘People Problems’ Sink Most Startups | Start Ups says:

    […] problems—who does what and how they’re compensated, says Wasserman, who has written a new book, The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup (Princeton University Press, 2012). I spoke to Wasserman recently about his conclusions on startup […]

  2. FactsMafia » ‘People Problems’ Sink Most Startups says:

    […] problems—who does what and how they’re compensated, says Wasserman, who has written a new book, The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup (Princeton University Press, 2012). I spoke to Wasserman recently about his conclusions on startup […]

  3. Ionic Security Raises $9.4m from Kleiner Perkins, Tech Operators, ff Venture Capital says:

    […] Adam is a brilliant technologist, who was astute enough to know that he didn’t have the background to be the solo leader of a scale B2B technology company.  This was a great example of the “Rich vs. King” dilemma that HBS Professor Noam Wasserman explores in his excellent book, Founder’s Dilemmas. […]

  4. hungry4 » Insights empreendedorísticos: direto da sala de aula de Harvard says:

    […] de 2013, aula de empreendedorismo com o Professor Noam Wasserman, autor do best-seller “Founder’s Dillemas“, e uma surpresa: ao invés dos clássicos (longos) cases onde conflitos reais de business […]

  5. TOP MBA Brasil | says:

    […] de 2013, aula de empreendedorismo com o Professor Noam Wasserman, autor do best-seller “Founder’s Dillemas“, e uma surpresa: ao invés dos clássicos (longos) cases onde conflitos reais de business […]

  6. Recommending “The Founder’s Dilemmas” by Noam Wasserman | Iain's Chips & Tech says:

    […] been recommending The Founder’s Dilemma by Noam Wasserman a lot these days. I like how Wasserman takes a his empirical study of 10,000-ish startups and looks […]

  7. Cómo Elegir Un Socio Fundador | Carlos R Cobian says:

    […] las razones más comunes del fracaso en los emprendimientos. Según Noam Wasserman, autor del libro The Founder’s Dilemmas, hace algunas décadas el sociólogo Arthur Stinchcombe atribuyó el alto fracaso de las nuevas […]

  8. An Initiate’s Guide to Map-less Spaces | widgetau.org says:

    […] talk about a difference between founders and CEOs. As professor Noam Wasserman explains in his book The Founder’s Dilemma, the skills needed to run at start-up at the beginning are not the same as the skills needed when […]

  9. Let You Know Everything » Shot Through the Heart: Startup Love says:

    […] and chocolate.  Startup love wanes and failure rates are high. Noam Wasserman, author of The Founder’s Dilemma, tells us that an inordinate number of new companies fail because of people problems. As time moves […]

  10. Gochaa World » Shot Through the Heart: Startup Love says:

    […] roses and chocolate.  Startup love wanes and failure rates are high. Noam Wasserman, author of The Founder’s Dilemma, tells us that an inordinate number of new companies fail because of people problems. As time moves […]

  11. Lean tech startups: more opportunities than ever before | Paul J. Morris says:

    […] will supply you with loads of insights and experience into the journeys of other entrepreneurs. Noam Wasserman’s The Founder’s Dilemma is loaded with wisdom from 10 years of thorough […]

  12. Start-Up : le livre » Blog Archive » Les dilemmes du fondateur. La réponse est « ça dépend! » says:

    […] Les Dilemmes du Fondateur est à la fois un livre fascinant et frustrant. Fascinant parce qu’il fournit des données très rares (et pour la plupart inconnues) sur les fondateurs et les start-up high-tech. Frustrant, car il fournit rarement des réponses aux dilemmes auxquels les fondateurs peuvent être confrontés. Il m’a fallu la lecture complète du livre pour enfin comprendre que la réponse Wasserman fournit est qu’il n’y a pas de meilleure solution pour un fondateur face à un problème, mais que s’il connaît toutes les situations possibles, il pourra mieux décider sur la base de sa propre motivation et … de sa personnalité. Alors, oui, elle ou il pourra décider, non pas sur des critères rationnels, mais plus en suivant ses inclinations personnelles ! […]

  13. Start-Up: the book » Blog Archive » The Founder’s Dilemmas – The Answer is “It depends!” says:

    […] The Founder’s Dilemmas is at the same time a fascinating and frustrating book. Fascinating because it’s providing very seldom seen (and mostly unknown) data about founders and high-tech start-ups. Frustrating because it is also seldom providing answers to the dilemmas founders may face. It took me the full reading of the book to finally understand that the answer Wasserman provides is that there is no best solution for a founder facing a problem, but that if he knows all possible situations, he might better decide based on his own motivation and … personality. So she or he might decide, not on rational criteria but more because of his personal inclinations! […]

  14. Shot Through the Heart: Startup Love | Toronto Standard Toronto Standard says:

    […] and chocolate.  Startup love wanes and failure rates are high. Noam Wasserman, author of The Founder’s Dilemma, tells us that an inordinate number of new companies fail because of people problems. As time moves […]

  15. Stirling Cox - Managing Director of AlphaSightsUSA says:

    […] Noam Wasserman (HBS) […]

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