Former entrepreneur turned VC, Harvard Business School Senior Lecturer and champion of civic issues, Jeff Bussgang can now add second-time author to his long list of titles. Jeff and I both serve on the Board of the Alliance for Business Leadership, and this month, my friend and colleague launched his book, Entering StartUpLand. He is a man I respect for his energy, ethics, intelligence and perhaps above all, his openness to otherness.
As the founder of a PR firm whose roots live deeply within the startup world, I know the challenges early stage companies face—from the outside, startups by nature are confusing—lacking order and structure. They are also extremely exciting and attract the most ambitious of us. In his 15 years in venture capital, Jeff has invested in more than 100 startups and understands these challenges better than anyone I know. As he writes, “I live, breath, eat, and sleep startups every day. And I love it… it’s a disease, I swear.”
He’s also the perfect author on the subject because 20 years ago Jeff was the audience for this much needed guidance; a recent college graduate, Jeff had received an enticing offer to join a prestigious firm, have his business school paid for and bypass the financial worries faced by most people starting out in their careers. He turned it down. And everyone said he was crazy. Jeff likens his classmates’ reactions to a Far Side cartoon where the penguins all go one way and there’s one that goes the other way.
Jeff’s guide is unlike most—instead of focusing on startup founders (a company has one, maybe two of these), Entering StartUpLand is for the “joiners,” employees number two through two thousand who want to be a part of a fresh idea or a brand new company. Jeff offers methods, best practices and key attributes for roles—ranging from sales to account management—that will help you figure out if you want to join a startup… and what to expect if you do.
A great read for founders looking to strengthen their business models, current startup employees seeking success, or those just building up the courage to break away from the penguin pack. Cheers to you, Jeff.
Check out his website at www.JeffBussgang.com.
Pick up your copy here.
Beth is the CEO of InkHouse, which she co-founded in 2007, and has grown into one of the fastest-growing PR firms in the nation with 100+ employees and four offices. Named one of the “Top Women in PR” by PR News, Beth is working to reinvent the PR agency model to bend it toward the kind of culture that catapults great ideas and jettisons the rules that no longer work. At InkHouse, Beth focuses on inventing and implementing the new strategies that shape the agency’s work.