Sunday, August 18, 2019

A startup reading list - fundamental inputs

Photo by Alfons Morales on Unsplash


  • Fundamental inputs == information that I believe (for now) is important for the fundamental for all actions when building a startup.
  • The filter I put this through was, "Would I be super excited if a new hire of mine to read this?"
  • Intentionally limiting to 10 items as forcing function
  • If I was creating a list of unlimited size, I'd incorporate personal worldview reading i.e. David Whyte, Bell Hooks, Pema Chodron, Richard Rohr, David Richo and the like -- and Your Emotional Vocabulary List

Macro Understanding

How Venture Capital Works (HBR) by Bob Zider - situates how the company is (likely) viewed by VC's and why VC is the primary source of capital for most startups


Intellectual Humility by Shane Snow - core mindset for progress of all types (respecting other viewpoints; not being intellectually overconfident; separating your ego from your intellect; being willing to revise your important viewpoints)

Understanding is a poor substitute for convexity (antifragility) by Nassim Nicholas Taleb - hammering on uncertainty, optionality, and experimental mentality

‘Give Away Your Legos’ and Other Commandments for Scaling Startups  by First Round Review- if you/this company is successful, your role will change. Here's how to think about it.


Speed as a habit by Dave Girouard - building speed into company DNA + should pervade all behaviors

Let process be implemented by those who practice it by  Yishan Wong - this dovetails with speed as a habit, and opens convo of how formal process only implemented "right before the point where things tip into chaos"

Principles for Decision-Making in a Flat Organization by Roman Imankulov - this too dovetails with speed as a habit and not getting bogged down in group-decision making


How to De-Risk a Startup by Leo Polovets- de-risking is what every early-stage startup person should be doing through their role

A Dozen lessons about product/market fit by Tren Griffin - pulls in tons of concepts this person should ask about, and gets at what an early-stage co. is driving towards


A Dozen Lessons for Entrepreneurs by Tren Griffin - easy to read, hammers on the fundamentals of building a startup