15 Must-Read Books for Entrepreneurs and Product Managers


Many friends and colleagues have asked me for recommendations on books regarding startups and product management, so I’ve compiled a list of 15 books I highly recommend. You may use these books to help shape the way you think about how to build, improve and sell products.

This is an exhaustive list of books that I highly recommend and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend reading the entire blog post all at once. Rather, identify which part of the startup process you need help with and read the appropriate books for that section.

I have categorized these books into 5 groups

Ideation & Pre-ideation Stage Idea Validation Product Development & Improvement Marketing & Sales Founder Journeys
• Crossing the Chasm

• The Black Swan

• Originals
• The Lean Startup

• Sprint
• The Design of Everyday Things

• Creativity Inc.
• Never Eat Alone

• Oversubscribed

• The Little red book of Selling

• Traction
• Elon Musk

• The Everything Store

• Shoe Dog

• Steve Jobs

Keep in mind that this process is not necessarily one-directional and doesn't have a perfect order of sequence. For instance, one may assume that you must have the product completely figured out before thinking about sales however an experienced entrepreneur would tell you that it's best to figure out distribution/sales before even working on a product as poor sales rather than poor product is the biggest reason businesses started by engineers don't work.

Ideation and pre-ideation stage

1. Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore
Crossing the Chasm is closely related to the technology adoption lifecycle where five main segments are recognized: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. According to Moore, the marketer should focus on one group of customers at a time, using each group as a base for marketing to the next group. The most difficult step is making the transition between visionaries (early adopters) and pragmatists (early majority). This is the chasm that he refers to. If a successful firm can create a bandwagon effect in which enough momentum builds, then the product becomes a de facto standard.

Why I recommend this book
This book was published in 1991 and its lessons are needed as much today as ever. Even though this may seem like a book about marketing it provides a very strategic way to think about how to think about customers, product and where to focus your efforts. In a world where every product is supposed to be “Revolutionary” and the next “Unicorn - billion-dollar opportunity”, Geoffrey Moore teaches us that in practice you should focus your initial efforts on small opportunities, gain momentum and then work towards larger markets.

The simple example of the Invasion of Normandy (WW2 reference) provided in the book makes it very easy to understand why it's key to initially focus all your efforts (on a specific beachhead rather than an entire country) when trying to out-compete organizations with far greater resources and weaponry.

My favorite lessons from the book

  1. Trying to cross the chasm without taking a niche market approach is like trying to light a fire without a kindling.
  2. Winning over one (or two) customers in five different customer segments (the consequence of taking a sales-driven approach) will not create a word-of-mouth effect. Your customers may try to start a conversation about you, but there will be no one there to reinforce it. By contrast, winning five customers in one segment will create the desired effect.
  3. When you are picking a chasm to cross it's not about the number of people of involved, it about the amount of pain they are suffering.
  4. You also have to have other market segments lined up into which you can leverage your initial niche solution.
  5. To accelerate the adoption of platforms vendors must clothe them in an application clothing. They must tie them directly to an application in order to gain the end-user sponsorship necessary to secure a beachhead.
  6. Positioning is not about making it easier to sell it is about making it easier to buy.
  7. The key to the Normandy (World War II reference) advantage, what allows the fledgling enterprise to win over pragmatist customers in advance of broader market acceptance, is focusing all your efforts and resources into a confined market niche.

2. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
A black swan is an event, positive or negative, that is deemed improbable yet causes massive consequences. In this groundbreaking and prophetic book, Taleb shows in a playful way that Black Swan events explain almost everything about our world, and yet we—especially the experts—are blind to them.

Why I recommend this book
In a world where data is growing at an exponential rate, scientific discoveries are happening often and Machine Learning is providing us incredible prediction capabilities, we can easily forget about how much we actually do not know. Mr. Taleb reminds us, what we don’t know happens to be quite a lot, in fact, we know very little and cannot make predictions for key events that will shape our future. The key take away for me was that it is important for us to stop pretending that we can predict the future and try to be always curious and look for data that may be contradictory to our initial beliefs.

From a startup perspective, the take away is to experiment new ideas/features as much as possible rather than predicting what features or products your customers will love. In fact, some of the greatest companies “Black swans” (Google, Facebook, and Uber) were created by founders who had no idea their creation would end up becoming so successful.

My favorite lessons from the book

  1. The inability to predict outliers implies the inability to predict the course of history.
  2. The problem with experts is that they do not know what they do not know.
  3. Ideas come and go, stories stay.
  4. I know that history is going to be dominated by an improbable event, I just don’t know what that event will be.
  5. It is not what you are telling people, it is how you are saying it.
  6. Contrary to social-science wisdom, almost no discovery, no technologies of note, came from design and planning—they were just Black Swans. The strategy for discovery and entrepreneurs is to rely less on top-down planning and focus on maximum tinkering and recognizing opportunities when they present themselves.
  7. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones.
  8. Humans will believe anything you say provided you do not exhibit the smallest shadow of diffidence; like animals, they can detect the smallest crack in your confidence before you express it. The trick is to be as smooth as possible in personal manners. It is much easier to signal self-confidence if you are exceedingly polite and friendly; you can control people without having to offend their sensitivity.
  9. Have you ever wondered why so many of these straight-A students end up going nowhere in life while someone who lagged behind is now getting the shekels, buying the diamonds, and getting his phone calls returned? Or even getting the Nobel Prize in a real discipline? Some of this may have something to do with luck in outcomes, but there is this sterile and obscurantist quality that is often associated with classroom knowledge that may get in the way of understanding what’s going on in real life. In an IQ test, as well as in any academic setting (including sports), Dr. John ( an academic with high IQ) would vastly outperform Fat Tony (a person with high “street smarts”). But Fat Tony would outperform Dr. John in any other possible ecological, real-life situation. In fact, Tony, in spite of his lack of culture, has an enormous curiosity about the texture of reality, and his own erudition—to me, he is more scientific in the literal, though not in the social, sense than Dr. John.

3. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt; how parents and teachers can nurture originality in children; and how leaders can build cultures that welcome dissent.

Why I recommend this book
Providing many great examples in this book, Adam Grant teaches us the mindset of originals and nonconformists who have managed to do great things and shape history. There is no single big takeaway from this book but rather many short interesting and inspiring stories. Use this book to shape your mindset and look at issues from a new perspective.

My favorite lessons from the book

  1. “Shapers” are independent thinkers: curious, non-conforming, and rebellious. They practice brutal, nonhierarchical honesty. And they act in the face of risk because their fear of not succeeding exceeds their fear of failing. Former track star Phil Knight started selling running shoes out of the trunk of his car in 1964, yet kept working as an accountant until 1969. After inventing the original Apple I computer, Steve Wozniak started the company with Steve Jobs in 1976 but continued working full time in his engineering job at Hewlett-Packard until 1977. And although Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin figured out how to dramatically improve internet searches in 1996, they didn’t go on leave from their graduate studies at Stanford until 1998. “We almost didn’t start Google,” Page says, because we “were too worried about dropping out of our Ph.D. program.” In 1997, concerned that their fledgling search engine was distracting them from their research, they tried to sell Google for less than $2 million in cash and stock. Luckily for them, the potential buyer rejected the offer.
  2. Entrepreneurs who kept their day jobs had 33 percent lower odds of failure than those who quit. If you’re risk averse and have some doubts about the feasibility of your ideas, it’s likely that your business will be built to last. 
  3. Be prolific with your inventions and ideas, you never know which one is going to be a hit and people will remember you by your greatest hits not the average.
  4. The more people hear something, the more it breeds familiarity and the more people will like it.
  5. Having enemies is better than having frenemies (dealing with uncertainty takes away too much emotion and brain power). Thus it is better to cut ties with ambivalent people and try to convert your enemies.
  6. Dissenting opinions are useful even when they are wrong. Because it promotes divergent thinking.
  7. There are 3 types of cultures: star, professional, commitment. Commitment (very committed and loyal but not necessarily the most talented) works best for startups but not so much for after IPO, rather the star culture (not very loyal but very talented employees – employees with many outside job opportunities) works better then.
  8. Once we’ve set a course of action it's best not to turn worries and doubts into positive emotions. Rather it's best to deal with them directly and shift the system to go into higher gear by embracing our fear. You can harness the power of anxiety and use that as an emotion to move forward.
  9. People are more risk taking when it's about losing something but play it safe when it's about gaining something. That’s why it is good to frame certain things as if people don’t do X they will lose Y.

Idea Validation

4. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
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.

Why I recommend this book
I initially tried reading this book 4 years ago but I really didn’t get what the author was talking about. It was only after I had spent months working on products that did not end being successful that I revisited this book and the author’s words really resonated with me. I realized if I really wanted to build something that users wanted, I didn’t have to build a fully functional MVP (minimum viable product) to see if it would succeed. Rather one or two simple experiments could have easily provided me with that answer and I wouldn’t have wasted months building something that users didn’t want.

My favorite lessons from the book

  1. You don’t need to spend 6 months to build a product to see if customers want to buy it or not, you can easily see if customers are willing to use/purchase with a low or high fidelity mockup of a product.
  2. Don’t be mislead by “Vanity metrics” of startups. A metric should be actionable, accessible and auditable.
  3. We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want.
  4. An experiment is more than just a theoretical inquiry; it is also the first product.
  5. Assumptions are things we take for granted as true, without evidence or proof. In the lean startup community, the term “Leap of Faith” is used to describe the riskiest assumptions we are making about our idea. Your goal is to prioritize your riskiest assumptions as early as possible, then create experiments to quickly validate or invalidate these assumptions. By testing the riskiest assumptions early in your journey, you will dramatically reduce the uncertainty associated with your idea.
  6. What if we found ourselves building something that nobody wanted? In that case, what did it matter if we did it on time and on budget?
  7. The ability to learn faster from customers is the essential competitive advantage that startups must possess.
  8. Success is not delivering a feature; success is learning how to solve the customer’s problem.
  9. Your MVP should be a version of the product that enables a full turn of the Build-Measure – Learn Loop with the minimum amount of effort and development time.

5. Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp
From three partners at Google Ventures, a unique five-day process for solving tough problems, proven at more than a hundred companies. Entrepreneurs and leaders face big questions every day: What’s the most important place to focus your effort, and how do you start? What will your idea look like in real life? How many meetings and discussions does it take before you can be sure you have the right solution?

Now there’s a surefire way to answer these important questions: the sprint. Designer Jake Knapp created the five-day process at Google, where sprints were used on everything from Google Search to Google X.

Why I recommend this book
This book is very similar to the Lean Startup by Eric Ries. I believe the Lean Startup gives you a framework for thinking about launching products and validating learnings whereas this book gives you a detailed 5-day list of activities to carry out to improve a product. To carry out these activities you will need a well-established team with defined roles and responsibilities.

Fig: The sprint gives teams a shortcut to learning without building and launching.

My favorite lessons from the book
You can create design sprints for coming up with great ideas to improve a product in only 5 days. Below is the break down of activities your team must do in each day.

  1. Monday: Monday’s structured discussions create a path for the sprint week. In the morning, you’ll start at the end and agree to a long-term goal. Next, you’ll make a map of the challenge. In the afternoon, you’ll ask the experts at your company to share what they know. Finally, you’ll pick a target: an ambitious but manageable piece of the problem that you can solve in one week.
  2. Tuesday: After a full day of understanding the problem and choosing a target for your sprint, on Tuesday, you get to focus on solutions. The day starts with inspiration: a review of existing ideas to remix and improve. Then, in the afternoon, each person will sketch, following a four-step process that emphasizes critical thinking over artistry. You’ll also begin planning Friday’s customer test by recruiting customers that fit your target profile.
  3. Wednesday: By Wednesday morning, you and your team will have a stack of solutions. That’s great, but it’s also a problem. You can’t prototype and test them all—you need one solid plan. In the morning, you’ll critique each solution, and decide which ones have the best chance of achieving your long-term goal. Then, in the afternoon, you’ll take the winning scenes from your sketches and weave them into a storyboard: a step-by-step plan for your prototype.
  4. Thursday: On Wednesday, you and your team created a storyboard. On Thursday, you’ll adopt a “fake it”philosophy to turn that storyboard into a prototype. A realistic façade is all you need to test with customers, and here’s the best part: by focusing on the customer-facing surface of your product or service, you can finish your prototype in just one day. On Thursday, you’ll also make sure everything is ready for Friday’s test by confirming the schedule, reviewing the prototype, and writing an interview script.
  5. Friday: Your sprint began with a big challenge, an excellent team—and not much else. By Friday, you’ve created promising solutions, chosen the best, and built a realistic prototype. That alone would make for an impressively productive week. But you’ll take it one step further as you interview customers and learn by watching them react to your prototype. This test makes the entire sprint worthwhile: At the end of the day, you’ll know how far you have to go, and you’ll know just what to do next.

Product Development & Improvement

6. The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
In this entertaining and insightful analysis, cognitive scientist Don Norman hails excellence of design as the most important key to regaining the competitive edge in influencing consumer behavior.

Why I recommend this book
This book covers many stages of the startup lifecycle and gives good frameworks to have in mind when designing and improving products. The book shows you how to think from the perspective of your customers and how even the simple things in design can make a big difference. Don Norman also talks about Human Centered Design, Activity Centered Design and Design Thinking in this book and I think these are critical topics that any product designer and manager should know about.

My favorite lessons from the book

  1. The same technology that simplifies life by providing more functions in each device also complicates life by make the device harder to learn, harder to user. This is the paradox of technology and the challenge of the designer.
  2. Flow requires the activity [interacting with a product] be neither too easy nor too difficult relative to our level of skill. The constant tension coupled with continual progress and success can be an engaging, immersive experience sometimes lasting for hours.
  3. When major accidents occur, official courts of inquiry are set up to assess the blame. More and more often the blame is attributed to “human error.” The person involved can be fined, punished, or fired. Maybe training procedures are revised. The law rests comfortably. But in my experience, human error usually is a result of poor design: it should be called system error. Humans err continually; it is an intrinsic part of our nature. System design should take this into account. Pinning the blame on the person may be a comfortable way to proceed, but why was the system ever designed so that a single act by a single person could cause calamity? Worse, blaming the person without fixing the root, underlying cause does not fix the problem: the same error is likely to be repeated by someone else.
  4. One of my rules in consulting is simple: never solve the problem I am asked to solve. Why such a counterintuitive rule? Because, invariably, the problem I am asked to solve is not the real, fundamental, root problem. Engineers and businesspeople are trained to solve problems. Designers are trained to discover the real problems.

  5. Fig: In all creative processes a number of possible ideas are created divergent thinking before refining and narrowing down to the best idea convergent thinking, and this can be represented by a diamond shape (from the British Design Council). But the Double Diamond indicates that this happens twice – once to confirm the problem definition and once to create the solution. One of the greatest mistakes is to omit the left-hand diamond and end up solving the wrong problem.

  6. They [designers] don’t try to search for a solution until they have determined the real problem, and even then, instead of solving that problem, they stop to consider a wide range of potential solutions. Only then will they finally converge upon their proposal. This process is called design thinking.
  7. Designers complain that the methods used by marketing (mass surveys used by marketing vs in-depth research on smaller groups by designers) don’t get at real behavior: what people say they do and want does not correspond with their actual behavior or desires. People in marketing complain that although design research methods yield deep insights, the small number of people observed is a concern. Designers counter with the observation that traditional marketing methods provide shallow insight into a large number of people. The debate is not useful. All groups are necessary. Customer research is a tradeoff: deep insights on real needs from a tiny set of people, versus broad, reliable purchasing data from a wide range and large number of people. We need both. Designers understand what people really need. Marketing understands what people actually buy.
  8. Learn to use Activity-centered design: Let the activity define the product and its structure.Let the conceptual model of the product be built around the conceptual model of the activity. Why does this work? Because people’s activities across the world tend to be similar. Moreover, although people are unwilling to learn systems that appear to have arbitrary, incomprehensible requirements, they are quite willing to learn things that appear to be essential to the activity.
  9. Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible
  10. A story tells of Henry Ford’s buying scrapped Ford cars and having his engineers disassemble them to see which parts failed and which were still in good shape. Engineers assumed this was done to find the weak parts and make them stronger. Nope. Ford explained that he wanted to find the parts that were still in good shape. The company could save money if they redesigned these parts to fail at the same time as the others.

7. Creativity Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull
For nearly twenty years, Pixar has dominated the world of animation, producing such beloved films as the Toy Story trilogy, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Up, and WALL-E, which have gone on to set box-office records and garner thirty Academy Awards. The joyousness of the storytelling, the inventive plots, the emotional authenticity: In some ways, Pixar movies are an object lesson in what creativity really is. Here, in this book, Catmull reveals the ideals and techniques that have made Pixar so widely admired—and so profitable.

Why I recommend this book
Pixar movies have on average, World wide box office gross sales of over half a billion dollars each. Given that every new movie has a different script and a different team you can think of it similar to building a product or startup from scratch every time and the startup becoming a half a billion-dollar startup every time!

Similar to movies, the story is a key component for any startup and arguably no company is as good as Pixar (or Disney for that matter) at telling stories. The process created at Pixar and the culture of openness to criticism and feedback are detailed in this book and I believe in any working environment where creativity is key to success, the lessons provided by Ed Catmull should be taken to heart and leaders can incorporate many of these methods in their teams and organization.

My favorite lessons from the book

  1. For all the care you put in the artistry, visual polish frequently doesn’t matter if you get the story right. Story is king.
  2. Trust the process: Keep going when things seem to not be going your way. The process (plan) makes you or breaks you so build it wisely.
  3. Getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than the getting the right idea. (Initially) ideas come from people, not the other way around. If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better.
  4. A Huge part of Pixar’s success is due to “braintrust” where people receive hard, critical and important feedback. People are not defensive when receiving feedback.
  5. Having a finite list of problems is much better than having the illogical feeling that everything is wrong.
  6. If I look at a plot and right away know and where it's going, I don’t trust it. The plot has to be found like a journey with surprises.
  7. Creative people realize their vision over time. It's a marathon, not a sprint.
  8. Include people in your problems not just your solutions.
  9. When it comes to creative inspiration, job titles and hierarchy are meaningless.
  10. A manager’s job isn’t to prevent risk, it's his job to make it safe to take them.
  11. Don’t wait for things to be perfect before you share them with others. Show early and show often. It’ll be pretty when we get there, but it won’t be pretty along the way. And that’s as it should be.
  12. Making the process better, easier, and cheaper is an important aspiration, something we continually work on—but it is not the goal. Making something great is the goal.

Marketing / Sales

8. Never eat alone by Keith Farazi
In Never Eat Alone, Ferrazzi lays out the specific steps—and inner mindset—he uses to reach out to connect with the thousands of colleagues, friends, and associates on his Rolodex, people he has helped and who have helped him. As Ferrazzi discovered early in life, what distinguishes highly successful people from everyone else is the way they use the power of relationships—so that everyone wins.
9. Oversubscribed by Daniel Priestley
In Oversubscribed Daniel Priestly Shows leaders, marketers, and entrepreneurs how they can get customers queuing up to use their services and products while competitors are forced to fight for business. Daniel explains how to become oversubscribed, even in a crowded marketplace. This book is full of practical tips alongside inspiring examples to alter our mindsets and get us bursting with ideas 10. The Little red book of selling by Jeffery Gitomer
In the Little Red Book of Selling, Jeffery provides simple strategies and answers from a lifetime career in sales.

Why I recommend these books
I think these three books provide extremely valuable insights for generating sales. Without learning how to sell a product, you might as well not build a company at all. At the core of any sale is the relationship between the buyer and the seller and these books do a terrific job explaining the mindset you should have to generate a sale and why customers don’t like to be sold but they love to buy (as counter-intuitive as that sounds, that is a reality). This is why every time I tried to sell my products to potential customers the first thing they always asked me is who else is buying your product. If you don’t have enough time to read all three books I suggest you start with Never Eat Alone by Keith Farazi. Keep in mind sales is also critical for attracting non-customers i.e. investors and potential employees and this type of sales can start well before any type product development.

My favorite lessons from these books

  1. People don’t like to be sold but they love to buy.
  2. Make your prospective customers laugh (hence generating some sort of trust) to guarantee a sale.
  3. Number one thing in selling is the confidence you display in your product and yourself.
  4. Personal branding is key sales. If you have a personal brand, you are more likely to be seen as someone who is trustworthy.
  5. People don’t buy what other people sell they buy what other people buy.
  6. Don’t look for a market, create your own market. The supply/demand curve in economics doesn’t apply when brands come in to play. Think of how many actors there are in Hollywood and how few roles exist for big budget movies, according to a typical supply and demand curve actors should get paid little, yet big name actors have created their own market and can demand very high salaries.
  7. Need is based on logic. Want is based on emotion. Emotion beats logic every time even with the smartest people. you can go broke telling people what they need.
  8. Ask people what they want, give them what they want the way they want it and explain it in that context. Then package it with what they need to keep them for the long run.
  9. Have a philosophy, it’s okay to be different as long as you have loyal fans. focus on your fans. What is your philosophy, what do you stand for, what do you stand against and what is the world you want to see. the clearer you are on these, the more followers you will have.
  10. Oversubscribed businesses don’t talk about their products they talk about philosophy, the big problems they want to solve and the change they want to see in the world. Think how Apple doesn’t say buy my phone rather it says “Think Different”.
  11. Don’t ask for the sale in your first meeting with a client, only ask for the signal of interest.
  12. Entertain and educate customers with 80/20 split whichever the order.
  13. The 7-hour rule: Your customers need to know you for at least 7 hours before they can trust you, and you can make a sale. You should be in the mind of the customer for that long before they start feeling more comfortable about making a purchase from you. You can use many techniques such as advertising and content marketing to remind your customers about your company and your products.
  14. If you are punching with heavy weights make sure you have an incredible story.
  15. Build three brands: product, company, and personality. Recently, the personal brand is becoming increasingly important. (For instance Apple the brand, iPhone the product and Steve jobs the visionary founder)

11. Traction: How any Startup can achieve explosive customer growth by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares
Traction will teach you the nineteen channels you can use to build a customer base, and how to pick the right ones for your business. It draws on interviews with more than forty successful founders, including Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), Alexis Ohanian (Reddit), Paul English (Kayak), and Dharmesh Shah (HubSpot).

Why I recommend this book
I highly admire Gabriel Weinberg for being brave enough to take on Google with his own search engine (DuckDuckGo) and actually being able to take away some market share in the insanely competitive search engine market. If you can take on Google and Microsoft Bing successfully with one-millionth of their cash reserves, you probably know what you’re talking about. If you try several distribution channels but cannot nail one, you are guaranteed to fail.

This book is a great read as it gives a good list of all acquisition channels that startups should at the very minimum consider. The key to this is trying out channels which you think are best for your product or company, measuring results and then making bigger investments for customer acquisition once your key customer acquisition channels have been identified (channels with highest ROI). Failure to properly consider all channels can be very costly for a fledgling startup with limited cash.

The only customer acquisition channel that hasn’t been described in this book is Influencer Marketing: Which is partnering/paying social media influencers which have their own loyal fan bases to promote your products and brand. This opens up a new channel for brands to connect with consumers more directly, more organically, and at scale.

My favorite lessons from the book
19 different acquisition channels are detailed in this book.

  1. 1. Targeting Blogs: Popular startups like Codecademy, Mint, and Reddit all got their start by targeting blogs.
  2. 2. Publicity: Publicity is the art of getting your name out there via traditional media outlets like news outlets, newspapers, magazines, and TV.
  3. 3. Unconventional PR: There are two different types of unconventional PR. You’re probably familiar with the first type: the publicity stunt: The second type of unconventional PR is customer appreciation: like sending handwritten notes to customers.
  4. 4. Search Engine Marketing: Search engine marketing (SEM) refers to placing advertisements on search engines like Google.
  5. 5. Social and Display Ads: Display ads are the banner ads that you see on Web sites all over the Internet. Social ads are the ads on social sites, like those in our near your Facebook and Twitter timelines.
  6. 6. Offline Ads: Billboard and direct mail.
  7. 7. Search Engine Optimization: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your ranking in search engines in order to get more people to your site.
  8. 8. Content Marketing: A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.
  9. 9. Email Marketing
  10. 10. Viral Marketing: Viral marketing consists of growing your customer base by encouraging your customers to refer other customers.
  11. 11. Engineering as Marketing: Your team’s engineering skills can get your startup traction directly by building tools and resources that reach more people. You make useful tools like calculators, widgets, and educational microsites to get your company in front of potential customers.
  12. 12. Business Development: Business Development is the activity of pursuing strategic opportunities for a particular business or organization, for example by cultivating partnerships or other commercial relationships, or identifying new markets for its products or services.
  13. 13. Sales: Sales is focused primarily on creating processes to directly exchange of a product for dollars. Having a refined sales funnel that continually generates leads, qualifies them, and converts them into paying customers is the goal in this channel.
  14. 14. Affiliate programs: An affiliate program is an arrangement where you pay people or companies for performing certain actions like making a sale or getting a qualified lead.
  15. 15. Existing platforms: Leveraging the massive user base of existing platforms like Apple App store or Chrome browser extensions by placing your apps in their stores or marketplaces.
  16. 16. Tradeshows: Trade shows offer you the opportunity to showcase your products in person. These events are often exclusive to industry insiders.
  17. 17. Offline events: Sponsoring or running offline events — from small meetups to large conferences — can be a primary way to get traction.
  18. 18. Speaking Engagements: Giving amazing talks is a great way to promote your startup and your own brand.
  19. 19. Community building: Community building involves investing in the connections among your customers, fostering those relationships and helping them bring more people into your startup’s circle.

Founder Journeys

Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Phil Knight, and Larry Page are the people whom I look up to most as they have truly revolutionized the current technology, business, and marketing landscape. Although I haven’t found a good book written regarding Larry Page, the books below detail life stories of all the other founders and they are great reads. I highly recommend reading these book as I had a difficult time putting down each book once I started reading them.

12. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

13. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

14. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

15. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

20 Awesome Colors