The Ultimate Start-up Guide

The Ultimate Start-up Guide, Marketing Lessons, 
War Stories, And Hard-won Advice from Leading Venture 
 ad Angel Investors, by Tom Hogan an Carol Broadbent, Career Press 2017

The authors' credentials are impressive, which makes it easier to use this start-up guide - Hogan with more than twenty-five years marketing experience, including roles as VP of marketing at Oracle, Borland, Lucent, and VitalSigns Software.  Broadbent served as VP of marketing at BayNetworks, Sr. VP at Aspect Communications, and Director of Marketing at Sun, plus two Kleiner Perkins-funded startups.  Expect that this start-up guide, therefore, is presented with a bias toward early stage marketing strategies and execution recommendations. 

Ninety percent of start-ups fold within their first two years.  To illustrate pitfalls and wrong turns along the way, the authors offer war stories, as well as a lengthy case study following one start-up, Sumo Logic, from its beginnings through idea development, funding, building an organization, early sales, and ultimate emergence as a technical pioneer and market leader in analytics and Big Data. Each chapter concludes with a mini-case study on how Sumo navigated that particular stage.  

Readers will be intrigued by how the start-up moved forward with IT and Big Data all the while growing it's customer base and financial strength.  The authors suggest a "left-right-left" approach to marketing that alternates between left-brain analytic activities and right-brain ceative activities.   "You need to employ both halves of your marketing brain" they say.  "Start with the analytics (left-brain), then use this data to guide your creative thinking (right brain) for strategy.  Then use your left-brain tools to track the efficiency of that strategy."  

The Ultimate Start-up Guide is filled with famous quotes and thought provoking statements that encourage smart start-ups, such as "At Oracle, we were building dinosaur software and releasing it every three years, then having to maintain it across a variety of platforms.  It was bad business and it was exhausting.  "  Benoit Dageville, co-founder and CTO Thierry Cruanes, founder, architect, Marcin Zukowski, so-founder Snowflake Computing.  How sad and shocking to hear this about Oracle. 

Here's another:  "In checking out new hires, I can't stess enough how important back-channeling is.  Look at LinkedIn and find the mutual connections.  Check out their character, ethic, and leadership capabilities.  Remember:  most founders aren't leaders yet.  They've built products but they haven't necessarily led a team before." Fran Hauser, angel investor.

Unfortunately, the index is less useful than it should have been.  Readers with not much time will not find it easy to locate specific pages dealing with Big Data, for instance, because it is not included in the Index.