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All In Startup: Launching a New Idea When Everything Is on the Line

ISBN: 978-1-118-85766-3
304 pages
June 2014
All In Startup: Launching a New Idea When Everything Is on the Line (1118857666) cover image

Description

If Owen Chase can't find a way to turn his company around in the next nine days, he'll be forced to shut it down and lay off all of his employees. He has incurred substantial debt and his marriage is on shaky ground.

Through pure happenstance, Owen finds himself pondering this problem while advancing steadily as a contestant at the World Series of Poker. His Las Vegas path quickly introduces him to Samantha, a beautiful and mysterious mentor with a revolutionary approach to entrepreneurship. Sam is a fountain of knowledge that may save his company, but her sexual advances might prove too much for Owen's struggling marriage.

All In Startup is more than just a novel about eschewing temptation and fighting to save a company. It is a lifeline for entrepreneurs who are thinking about launching a new idea or for those who have already started but can't seem to generate the traction they were expecting.

Entrepreneurs who achieve success in the new economy do so using a new "scientific method" of innovation. All In Startup demonstrates why four counterintuitive principles separate successful entrepreneurs from the wanna-preneurs who bounce from idea to idea, unable to generate real revenue.

You will likely get only one opportunity in your life to go "all in" in on an idea: to quit your job, talk your spouse into letting you drain the savings account, and follow your dream. All In Startup will prepare you for that "all in" moment and make sure that you push your chips into the middle only when the odds are in your favor. This book holds the keys to significantly de-risking your idea so that your success appears almost lucky.

Join Owen and Sam for this one-of-a-kind journey that will set you on the right path for when it's your turn to put everything on the line.
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Table of Contents

Foreword by Steve Blank ix

A Letter from Thom Ruhe, VP of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation xi

Introduction xiii

Chapter 1: First Appearances Can Be Deceiving 1

Chapter 2: You’re Not Fooling Anyone 7

Chapter 3: You Can’t Sell Anything by Doing All of the Talking 13

Chapter 4: It’s How Well You Lose, Not How Well You Win, That Determines Whether You Get to Keep Playing 19

Chapter 5: The Real Pros Don’t Play Every Hand 25

Chapter 6: Vanity Metrics Can Hide the Real Numbers That Matter to Your Business 29

Chapter 7: You Won’t Find a Mentor if You Don’t Ask 35

Chapter 8: Put Your Customers and Their Needs before Your Vision for a Solution 39

Chapter 9: Don’t Gamble—Use Small Bets to Find Opportunities 47

Chapter 10: Even Experts Need to Prepare for New Terrain 51

Chapter 11: People Don’t Buy Visionary Products; They Buy Solutions to Their Problems 55

Chapter 12: Only Customers Can Tell You if You’ve Found a Problem Worth Solving 63

Chapter 13: Hoping and Praying for Luck Is Not a Strategy 75

Chapter 14: It’s Never Too Late to Test Your Assumptions 81

Chapter 15: The Secret to Customer Interviews Is

Nonleading, Open-Ended Questions 87

Chapter 16: The Only Way to Get Good at Customer Interviews Is to Practice 95

Chapter 17: Finding Out Your Assumptions Were Wrong Is Just as Valuable as Proving Them Right 99

Chapter 18: Don’t Pivot to a New Idea without Testing Your New Assumptions 109

Chapter 19: Save Your Chips for When You’ll Need the Least Amount of Luck to Win 117

Chapter 20: Successful Entrepreneurs Recognize Failure, Fold, and Live to Fight Another Day 123

Chapter 21: Test Your Assumptions before Committing Any Resources to an Idea 133

Chapter 22: Luck Can Be Engineered if You Take Emotion Out of the Equation 143

Chapter 23: Every Successful Entrepreneur Has More Failures than Successes 149

Chapter 24: The Harder You Work, the Luckier You’ll Get 153

Chapter 25: Opportunities to Find Prospective Customers Are Everywhere—You Just Have to Look 157

Chapter 26: The Best Feedback from Potential Customers Comes from Meticulous Interviews 161

Chapter 27: Recognize the Vanity Metrics to Avoid Big Losses 169

Chapter 28: Keep Interviewing Customers until You Find a Migraine Problem Worth Solving 173

Chapter 29: People Can’t Help Themselves from Sharing When You Bring Up a Migraine Problem 181

Chapter 30: Stay Objective in Your Interviews Whether You Are Getting Good or Bad News 187

Chapter 31: Nothing Else Matters until You Can Prove That Customers Want Your Product 191

Chapter 32: Luck Makers Seek Out New Experiences and Find Opportunities Wherever They Go 195

Chapter 33: Luck Is Not a Good Strategy for Poker or Business—It’s the Outcome of a Good Strategy 201

Chapter 34: To Prove Demand, Find the Shortest Path to the Ultimate Customer Action 209

Chapter 35: Prepare for Bad Luck by Building Up Reserves 219

Chapter 36: Fear and Inaction Are the Two Greatest Threats to Your Business Idea 225

Chapter 37: Understand Your Tendencies On Tilt So That You Can Compensate for Them 229

Chapter 38: There Is No Mistaking It When You Uncover Migraine Problems Worth Solving 235

Chapter 39: Get Comfortable with Being Wrong 241

Chapter 40: Don’t Go All-In without Confirming Your Assumptions through Smaller Bets 249

Chapter 41: Second Chances Are Rare—Make Sure You Get It Right the First Time Around 253

Chapter 42: Even When You Find a Migraine Problem, Crafting a Solution Requires Vigilance and Readjustment 255

Chapter 43: Don’t Commit All-In until You Prove That Customers Want Your Product and There’s a Business Model to Support It 265

Chapter 44: The Strength of Your Initial Idea, or Starting Hand, Is Always Relative 269

Sam’s Journal 271

Acknowledgments 279

About the Author 283

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Author Information

DIANA KANDER is a successful entrepreneur, having founded and sold a number of ventures, and is a Senior Fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the largest non-profit in the world dedicated to entrepreneurship and education. A Georgetown-educated attorney who left a successful practice to launch her first company, Diana draws on her experience as a founder, investor, and academic to design and implement curriculum in educational institutions and the private sector. A sought-after public speaker, consultant, and writer, Diana has advised startup founders and Fortune 500 executives on her methodology for launching customer-focused products and services and developing an entrepreneurial mindset throughout an organization.

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Press Release

June 30, 2014
All in Startup Proposes a Scientific Method of Entrepreneurship that Serves Entrepreneurs Better than an MBA Degree

 

Are champions born or are they made?  The interesting dynamics of today’s startup landscape definitely brings about this question.  News stories are flooded with tales of successful entrepreneurs who’ve never had to look back; others who stumble and learn from their mistakes. There are still others who never get that second chance and are forced to give up completely.  Diana Kander, a successful entrepreneur and a Senior Fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation who has founded and sold a number of ventures, proposes there is a “scientific method” of entrepreneurship for startup success.

 

As a sought-after public speaker, consultant and writer, Diana uses her creativity and presents All in Startup: Launching a New Idea When Everything is on the Line (WILEY; July 2014; Hardcover & e-book; ISBN 978-1-118-85766-3; $27.95)as a fable that follows the life of Owen Chase who is tasked with turning his company around in nine days.  Through pure happenstance, Owen finds himself pondering this problem while advancing steadily as a contestant at the World Series of Poker. His Las Vegas path quickly introduces him to Samantha, a beautiful and mysterious mentor with a revolutionary approach to entrepreneurship. Sam is a fountain of knowledge that may save his company, but her sexual advances might prove too much for Owen’s struggling marriage.

All in Startup aims to showcase a new type of entrepreneurship, revealing innovative business principles and the emotional reality of entrepreneurship that goes tragically unmentioned during business school. Through the characters of Owen and Sam, All in Startup focuses on:

  • The counterintuitive ways in which successful entrepreneurs think differently than wannabe-entrepreneurs.
  • Help entrepreneurs figure out if they are ready to quit their job and invest their life savings to go “All In” on their big idea.
  • How to significantly reduce the risks involved in launching a new idea.

 “You will likely get only one opportunity in your life to go “all in” on an idea: to quit your job, talk your spouse into letting you drain the savings account, and follow your dream,” says Kander. “All In Startup will prepare readers for that ‘all in’ moment and make sure that you push your chips into the middle only when the odds are in your favor and hold the keys to significantly de-risking your idea so that your success appears almost lucky.”

All In Startup is more than just a novel about eschewing temptation and fighting to save a company. It is a lifeline for entrepreneurs who are thinking about launching a new idea or for those who have already started but can't seem to generate the traction they were expecting.

See More

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