5 books every startuper needs to read

Startup Stock Photos

It’s never easy to start your own business for the first time, and this is where good books come as a real treasure. Especially to those who are just about to enter the world of entrepreneurship or they work in a startup. We bring you top 5 books by the choice of Kuwait’s notable young entrepreneurs.

Saleh Al-Musallam, co-founder of Ghaseel, an on demanding car wash app, really liked these books:

  1. How to Build a Billion Dollar App, George Berkowski

Apps have changed the way we communicate, shop, play, interact and travel and their phenomenal popularity has presented possibly the biggest business opportunity in history.

Berkowski draws exclusively on the inside stories of the billion-dollar app club members, including Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Candy Crush, Square, Viber, Clash of Clans, Angry Birds, Uber and Flipboard to provide all the information you need to create your own spectacularly successful mobile business. He guides you through each step, from an idea scribbled on the back of an envelope, through to finding a cofounder, building a team, attracting (and keeping) millions of users, all the way through to juggling the pressures of being CEO of a billion-dollar company (and still staying ahead of the competition).

  1. Zero to One, Peter Thiel

The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

  1. Enchantment, Guy Kawasaki

Enchantment, as defined by bestselling business guru Guy Kawasaki, is not about manipulating people. It transforms situations and relationships. It con­verts hostility into civility and civility into affinity. It changes skeptics and cynics into believers and the undecided into the loyal. Enchantment can happen during a retail transaction, a high-level corporate negotiation, or a Facebook update. And when done right, it’s more powerful than traditional persuasion, influence, or marketing techniques.

Kawasaki argues that in business and personal interactions, your goal is not merely to get what you want but to bring about a voluntary, enduring, and delightful change in other people. By enlisting their own goals and desires, by being likable and trustworthy, and by framing a cause that others can embrace, you can change hearts, minds, and actions.

Hashim Bahbahani, co-founder of Coded, and a man who is very active in Kuwait’s startup community since 2011, aside from Zero to One recommends the following books:

  1. The Lean Startup, Eric Ries

Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.

The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.

Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs – in companies of all sizes – a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever.

  1. The Startup Owner’s Manual, Steve Blank & Bob Dorf

The Startup Owner’s Manual guides you, step-by-step, as you put the Customer Development process to work. This method was created by renowned Silicon Valley startup expert Steve Blank, acknowledged catalyst of the “Lean Startup” movement, and tested and refined by him for more than a decade.

This book will help you:

  • Avoid the 9 deadly sins that destroy startups’ chances for success
  • Use the Customer Development method to bring your business idea to life
  • Incorporate the Business Model Canvas as the organizing principle for startup hypotheses
  • Identify your customers and determine how to “get, keep and grow” customers profitably
  • Compute how you’ll drive your startup to repeatable, scalable profits

Did you read any good book about startups? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments with us. 🙂

RECAP: StartupQ8 Monthly Event (August ’15)

Every month, StartupQ8 hosts two speakers from the startup world to talk to the Kuwaiti startup community about some of the lessons and experiences they’ve went through, and talk about the startup they’re currently working on. Last night, the event took place at The VIVA Coded Academy. The two speakers were Ali Abulhasan, co-founder of goTap, a new payment ecosystem for Kuwait, and Saleh Almusallam, co-founder of Prodesign IT, the makers of FanScan (Instagram based app that has over 3 million downloads).

The two topics of discussion were mirrored around how a technical founder deals with the business side of a startup (Saleh’s part), and how a business founder manages a technical project and a development team (Ali’s part).

Both speakers offered valuable insights on their respective approach. For Ali, he admitted having initial trouble bridging the gap between himself and his technical team. One of the ways he mitigated that was by educating himself on some of the fundamentals of software as related to his field (payments) in which he already had previous experience. The other way was for him to board on developers who had the right mindset for a Tap’s philosophy of focusing on user experience. Ali admits that he would love to have more developers on his team, but that a lack of coding talent has restricted him greatly in that sense (we hope our Coded students can solve that problem!). To combat that issue, he tries to work with freelancers who might have the potential and intention to become full-timers at Tap.

As for Saleh, he faced a different dilemma. Saleh is a technical founder, and has had experience launching a few applications and websites. In his talk, he discussed the importance of learning on how to stay “lean”. He warned that the biggest pitfall for a technical founder was not in disregarding the business side, but rather the need to perfect a product before launching. Saleh advised the audience that “done is better than perfect”, alluding to the importance of launching a product early to gain feedback and data on usability. As for dealing with the business side, Saleh is a believer in first making something people love, than backing that up with venture financing and a strong business model that comes naturally with the product. He did, however, warn against sticking to a single revenue stream or remaining inflexible when it comes to changing the business model.

 

Stay tuned for more of our monthly events to hear more from startup founders and entrepreneurs! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram @startupq8

%d bloggers like this: