As obvious as much of the content of this book is to me now, I wish I had read this five years ago and had some of the insights to share with some former executives.
Much of what the author, Brian Cohen, dives into here can be filed under “duh” when you really think about it, but it’s nevertheless wildly important to really grasp the nuts and bolts of the foundational principles of what angel investors really want to see and how you can get there.
Ultimately what it boils down to is the character of the Founder(s) of the company and their grit towards the success of their idea. The idea itself, contrary to popular belief, is not nearly as important as the quality of the people executing on the idea.
As history has proven to me, poor leaders can drive an ivy league idea into the toilet, and exceptional leaders can reinvent something as basic as an MP3 player, or selling a book, into an empire.
In any event, any aspiring entrepreneur would be foolish not to read this book, if for nothing else than to reaffirm some of the obvious, and glean into the cultural and philosophical components of angel investing.
What I personally learned from this book, is that I don’t want an angel investor. Although I may enjoy being one some day soon if the act is anything like the literature representation of it.
I read this book during my last visit to Chicago, and was pleasantly surprised at how much of what was in this book was not immediate common sense. The usual “don’t waste money” and “be realistic” was obviously abound, but the overall message of the book focused far more on specific philosophies of operating lean, rather than simply the financial sense most of us focus on.
In the truest sense, the author focuses on the sentiments of doing meaningful things and being able to adopt quickly when those “things” change with the market(s). Being lean doesn’t simply mean paying your staff the lowest they’re willing to accept anymore; it means being able to dramatically shift the purpose or mission of your business if your customers dictate it; or more likely if the lack of customers forces you to do something different.
Further, the emphasis put on simply learning from mistakes as quickly as possible was a warmly welcomed intuition. Coming from a startup that was absolutely stubborn to the point of willing to fail for it, this is perhaps the philosophy that most resonates with me personally, and one I hope to live up to in future endeavors.
Eric Ries does a masterful job in this book of using real life examples, scenarios, and use cases to illustrate a a point, to the extent he nearly makes it a science.
Anyone who wishes to initiate a startup, or even invest in one for that matter, would benefit greatly from having read this book as it wonderfully illustrates simple mistakes that are easy to avoid, and also things to look out for in founders and leaders that will spend doom; imminent or delayed.
One of the major reasons for moving to Seattle was to become more engaged in a culture that avidly supports technology and “the web.” Through Meetups I discovered a group I could not pass up the opportunity to join and was very pleasantly surprised to be rewarded with such excellent company, brilliant minds, and cigars!
It didn’t hurt that the gathering happened on a rooftop in Downtown Seattle with a spectacular view of the city either.
We will see what comes of this and other wonderful people I have had the privilege of meeting since relocating, but so far the opportunities have been spectacular and I am thrilled to see where these new connections lead both personally and professionally.