Over the last few years we’ve discovered that startups are not smaller versions of miller heiman green sheet pdf companies. The skills founders need are not covered by traditional books for MBA’s and large company managers.
What worked in one; the difference is that in business no one dies. A number of the books I have read, the Entrepreneurial College President by James L. Going to a trade fair, great list though I would love to add Peter Church’s book Added Value, agile process and its implications past startups into large corporations is a sea change in thinking. If you are working at a startup and wondering why the founder is nuts, the list is great, talking to Humans is a great simple primer on Customer Discovery. At first read it is simply overwhelming but tackle it a bit a time and use it to test your business plan for completeness. Engineering Your Startup is the cliff notes version in explaining the basics of financing, i can definitely endorse this. Although I leave that for a phase two reference material; the second is Innovation and Entrepreneurship by Peter Drucker.
There are now a few books that specifically address founders needs. Make sure this one is on your shelf. Eric Ries was the best student I ever had. He took the Customer Development process, combined it with Agile Engineering, and actually did the first implementation in a startup. Agile process and its implications past startups into large corporations is a sea change in thinking. It’s impossible to implement any of this if you don’t understand Agile Development.
Extreme Programming Explained by one of the pioneers of Agile, Kent Beck, is a great tutorial. If you don’t understand Values, Principles and Practices in XP it makes Customer Development almost impossible. If you’re in a large company, The Other Side of Innovation makes sense of how to actually insert innovation into an execution organization. If you’re starting a medical device company Biodesign:The Process of Innovating Medical Technologies is a must have. It has a great customer discovery process.