By the time I finished shutting down Objective Advantage in March, 2009, I was seriously burned out on the idea of entrepreneurship. Starting a company is difficult. Selling off the bits and shutting it down after 11+ years is tougher. When I sat down and considered my future career path I really figured the only way forward was to go back and be an employee again – no more 70 hour work weeks, no more agonizing over the payroll and fewer sleepless nights. Sure, I’d lose some freedom and some financial upside, but the tradeoffs seemed like a no-brainer. I even turned down an opportunity to own a piece of a company that bought some of the IP from my former company and instead joined them as an employee.
Then I read “Founders at Work”, a collection of interviews with founders of famous technology companies. As I read through the stories, the few embers left over from the fire that had kept me self-employed for almost 20 years started to glow hot again. Each page felt like a personal conversation with one smart founder after another. My old heroes with their garage-startup VC war stories were all there — Steve Wozniak (Apple) and Dan Bricklin (Creator of VisiCalc) were two of my personal favorites. There were also great stories from Web 2.0-style founders that self-funded their companies like Joel Spolsky of Fogcreek. Every founder gave me a useful lesson. Every founder reminded me of something I liked about startups. By the end, the flame of entrepreneurship was burning hot in my gut once again.
How often do you find a book that inspires you? If you have ever considered starting a company or even joining a startup, this book is a must read. Just be careful; The inspiration, as Thomas Edison famously said, is only 1% of what it takes.
See this book at Amazon.com.