Sunday, April 04, 2010

New New Things

Chock Full of stories - this is the main impression that you are left with after reading half of the book, Upstarts, by Donna Fenn. This book is about the stories of young entrepreneurs in America, how they saw a need, worked out a solution either on their own, or with friends, or with the social crowd (crowd sourcing), typically on the Internet Forums, and became profitable, some wildly so. So if you are looking for examples and case studies on entrepreneurship, particularly of the younger set, this is a good resource. All the examples in this book are about young entrepreneurs in the US, and their business varied from technology startups to publishing. Ms Fenn has helpfully categorized them into Extreme Collaborators, Technology Mavens, Game Changers, Market Insiders, Brand Builders, Social Capitalists, Workplace Renegades, and Morph Masters. Each chapter in the book discusses these categories of enterpreneurs and cites many examples of actual startup businesses, which Ms Fenn dubs 'Upstarts'.

The many examples are fascinating and each provides a lesson or two about starting a business. However, at about the half way marked (of the book), you can't help feeling a bit tired. The stories, while still interesting, get a bit formulaic. So this is probably a book not for reading cover to cover, but a rich resource of case studies and analyses of the many ways and paths and types of ideas and endeavors that can become springboards for successful businesses. Of course Ms Fenn warns what not all businesses succeed, that probably more companies fail than succeed, but the stories of those that failed is just as important as those that succeed. Keep it for a ready reference source.