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Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, + Website

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A definitive book for any CEO—first time or otherwise—of a high-growth companyWhile big company CEOs are usually groomed for the job for years, startup CEOs aren't—and they're often young and relatively inexperienced in business in general. Author Matt Blumberg, a technology and marketing entrepreneur, knows this all too well. Back in 1999, he started a company called Retu A definitive book for any CEO—first time or otherwise—of a high-growth companyWhile big company CEOs are usually groomed for the job for years, startup CEOs aren't—and they're often young and relatively inexperienced in business in general. Author Matt Blumberg, a technology and marketing entrepreneur, knows this all too well. Back in 1999, he started a company called Return Path, which later became the driving force behind the creation of his blog, OnlyOnce—because "you're only a first time CEO once."Now, more than a decade later, he's written Startup CEO. As the fifth book in the StartUp Revolution series, this reliable resource is based on Blumberg's experience as a startup CEO and covers a number of issues he's faced over the dozen years he's been a CEO. Offers valuable insights into how the CEO sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders Discusses how to build a company's human capital by recruiting, hiring, and retaining the very best talent Examines how a CEO must align available resources with the company's strategy in order to ensure success Addresses what it takes to master the "How" of being a CEO—from leading an executive team to managing in any type of market Engaging and informative, this book is essential reading for any, and every, CEO.


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A definitive book for any CEO—first time or otherwise—of a high-growth companyWhile big company CEOs are usually groomed for the job for years, startup CEOs aren't—and they're often young and relatively inexperienced in business in general. Author Matt Blumberg, a technology and marketing entrepreneur, knows this all too well. Back in 1999, he started a company called Retu A definitive book for any CEO—first time or otherwise—of a high-growth companyWhile big company CEOs are usually groomed for the job for years, startup CEOs aren't—and they're often young and relatively inexperienced in business in general. Author Matt Blumberg, a technology and marketing entrepreneur, knows this all too well. Back in 1999, he started a company called Return Path, which later became the driving force behind the creation of his blog, OnlyOnce—because "you're only a first time CEO once."Now, more than a decade later, he's written Startup CEO. As the fifth book in the StartUp Revolution series, this reliable resource is based on Blumberg's experience as a startup CEO and covers a number of issues he's faced over the dozen years he's been a CEO. Offers valuable insights into how the CEO sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders Discusses how to build a company's human capital by recruiting, hiring, and retaining the very best talent Examines how a CEO must align available resources with the company's strategy in order to ensure success Addresses what it takes to master the "How" of being a CEO—from leading an executive team to managing in any type of market Engaging and informative, this book is essential reading for any, and every, CEO.

30 review for Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, + Website

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michał

    I am rating books in a manner that should help others to decide wheather to read one or not. I give this one a 5, since I believe that everyone even remotely engaged into running a startup/business will find this book helpful and worth reading. You could basically print most of it, and put in on the wall as a TODO list for yourself.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bett Correa-Bollhoefer

    It's got everything you need to know to be a ceo. It also lets you know how hard it is to be a ceo. Good to read for any leader in a company to understand more about how a company should be run. It's got everything you need to know to be a ceo. It also lets you know how hard it is to be a ceo. Good to read for any leader in a company to understand more about how a company should be run.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sven Kirsimäe

    The title of the book is a bit misleading. I think this book should be read by anyone including and above C-level and any other person who wants to get their daily business checked and in order. 4 start as the book is a bit too long and thus broad, which as mentioned, covers more general leadership and management practices applicable not only to CEOs.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Omar El-mohri

    Amazing book, while you can find the content in some other places, blog and books, but getting it in one book in great with many testimonials from others CEOs makes it a good guide and reference for a Startup CEO. I didn’t take notes but I will make sure to keep the book nearby for references.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rich Maloy

    I really want to be able to strongly recommend this to most of the startups I work with on a daily basis, but it's not for early stage startups. I have to keep in mind that this series of startup books originated with Brad Feld from Foundry Group, a venture firm that invests in Series A & B rounds. The vast majority of the startups I see and work with are at the angel and seed level of capital and growth. As such, advice such as annual 360 reviews is not the most critical advice I would offer ea I really want to be able to strongly recommend this to most of the startups I work with on a daily basis, but it's not for early stage startups. I have to keep in mind that this series of startup books originated with Brad Feld from Foundry Group, a venture firm that invests in Series A & B rounds. The vast majority of the startups I see and work with are at the angel and seed level of capital and growth. As such, advice such as annual 360 reviews is not the most critical advice I would offer early stage startups. The title may have been better as "Scale-up CEO" and targeting companies that have found a scalable, repeatable business model.  With the idea in mind that this is for "scale-up" executives, then I heartily recommend it. But for me and my audience, it's something to aspire towards. 

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Read this on my Kindle and it's the ideal format, as I made a ton of highlights for practical info (board meeting agendas, executive assistant job descriptions, etc.) I'll refer to later. Strongly recommend reading this in Kindle/digital format so you can highlight, and NOT as an audio book, due to the reference material contained within. Read this on my Kindle and it's the ideal format, as I made a ton of highlights for practical info (board meeting agendas, executive assistant job descriptions, etc.) I'll refer to later. Strongly recommend reading this in Kindle/digital format so you can highlight, and NOT as an audio book, due to the reference material contained within.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sousa

    This is a great book. Before reading this book I never thought being possible to know exactly which are the Startup CEO challenges and duties. Matt describes excellently the job of CEO and it helps all newbies on the role to be aware of which are the CEO responsibilities. This is a worthwhile reading.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Vlad Calus

    Vague.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gary Spagnoli

    Lots of noise, little value. Solid advice but much of this content is found in blogs, Twitter and HBR. Nothing feels new or innovative here, and the frameworks already feel outdated.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tim Hughes

    Writing this review as a startup CEO, I would certainly suggest other CEOs read this book as well. While many of the concepts discussed could be placed in the “I know that” bin, it’s good to cover these subjects as not all of us have the same background experience. It’s always good to have a general understanding of all subjects. I also see that one review on Amazon states that "I know this already" .... yes sure you do, but some people don't. "Startup CEO" certainly covers pretty much all angles Writing this review as a startup CEO, I would certainly suggest other CEOs read this book as well. While many of the concepts discussed could be placed in the “I know that” bin, it’s good to cover these subjects as not all of us have the same background experience. It’s always good to have a general understanding of all subjects. I also see that one review on Amazon states that "I know this already" .... yes sure you do, but some people don't. "Startup CEO" certainly covers pretty much all angles that a CEO might need to know. As a UK citizen many of the ways of doing business are only relevant in the US and not in the UK. The chapters on the Board structure and execution are US centric, but that isn’t a bad thing. We shouldn’t shy away from suggestions. Being a CEO does not mean that you have all the good ideas. Which is why I recommend you certainly check this book out if you are a CEO or an aspiring CEO.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dan Fried

    Blumberg founded his startup Return Path in 1999 and has been a magnificent CEO, managing staff, culture, pivots, product, investors, financing, etc. He shares his experience generously and with a warmth and depth of knowledge that is inspiring and of value to anybody starting up their own technology-based business. It's no surprise he put together an impressive board including Fred Smith and Brad Feld, and that he sold Return Path after having grown it to probably over 500 employees, multinatio Blumberg founded his startup Return Path in 1999 and has been a magnificent CEO, managing staff, culture, pivots, product, investors, financing, etc. He shares his experience generously and with a warmth and depth of knowledge that is inspiring and of value to anybody starting up their own technology-based business. It's no surprise he put together an impressive board including Fred Smith and Brad Feld, and that he sold Return Path after having grown it to probably over 500 employees, multinational markets and as a main player in the email-marketing field, in 2019. Of note, while few startups will achieve the success and scope of Return Path, the details of how he managed the company can serve as visualizable goals to aim for and his personality on the page is worth experiencing for anybody aiming to be a good startup CEO.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Yates Buckley

    The book is a fairly exhaustive guide on being a CEO in a startup. The areas of emphasis are well thought and contain useful advice. Also referenced texts are high quality further research. The language is not always relatable and contains many fluff terms that I could see interpreting in different ways with varying outcomes. Most of the examples come from the author’s business and avoid controversies and sprinkle everything with a kind of marketing magic sense. The author’s and other businesses The book is a fairly exhaustive guide on being a CEO in a startup. The areas of emphasis are well thought and contain useful advice. Also referenced texts are high quality further research. The language is not always relatable and contains many fluff terms that I could see interpreting in different ways with varying outcomes. Most of the examples come from the author’s business and avoid controversies and sprinkle everything with a kind of marketing magic sense. The author’s and other businesses described are in a very particular area and structure which does not replicate to many others or at least many of the areas that would are left uncovered presumably because they are controversial. Rarely did the book convey some information that would surprise me, i felt i could have written the book with no knowledge of the job in most cases.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Scott Wozniak

    Strong and specific discuss of being CEO of a startup. He gives you enough info to be practical and then points you to books and people who can help you go deeper in area, if you want. I loved all his points. My only note is that it’s very much for a startup that has major investors. A large portion of the book is focused on things like investor board and stock options. So if that’s not your approach, then you’ll have to skip a good chunk of the book. Otherwise, very well done.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Javier

    Probably one of the most informative and well written books I've read in the subject. I love how manageable the chapters were and there was absolutely zero rambling. The book was very straight to the point and yet able to tell the story. The author also seemed to be quite humble, making this book devoid of the whole icky "guru" vibe that some of these books tend to have. I enjoyed reading it very much Probably one of the most informative and well written books I've read in the subject. I love how manageable the chapters were and there was absolutely zero rambling. The book was very straight to the point and yet able to tell the story. The author also seemed to be quite humble, making this book devoid of the whole icky "guru" vibe that some of these books tend to have. I enjoyed reading it very much

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rui Varela Morte

    This is a great book for one who's starting a business, startup or not. Inside you will find many starting points to be a better CEO. More than taht I felt more conscious about the complexity of being a CEO. This is a great book for one who's starting a business, startup or not. Inside you will find many starting points to be a better CEO. More than taht I felt more conscious about the complexity of being a CEO.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kumar Raghavendra

    A very insightful book on the ins and outs of starting and managing a company. But more broadly, this has great leadership lessons in terms of how a leader should operate in practice on a day-to-day basis. A good read to incorporate some of these into our own work lives.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stijn Volders

    A great book for anyone in a leadership position. There are heaps of great idea's in this book covering all important aspects of running a business. Stop what you're doing and start reading! A great book for anyone in a leadership position. There are heaps of great idea's in this book covering all important aspects of running a business. Stop what you're doing and start reading!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ali Yildiz

    Wonderful book for the ones who has a dream of being a business owner

  19. 5 out of 5

    Josephine Hood

    Helpful even for a mot for profit CEO.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Doughty

    I generally listen to books while at the gym and this audio books is divided into two sections which are each a little of 6 hours long or a lot of treadmill time. The book had its moments, but far too often felt like as advertisement for ReturnPath or Brad Feld. I guess this makes since to prop both up, but it got old and fast. I much prefer more info and I just did not feel like I got enough. The first half just never grabbed me at all, but the second half had lots of thoughtful info and suggesti I generally listen to books while at the gym and this audio books is divided into two sections which are each a little of 6 hours long or a lot of treadmill time. The book had its moments, but far too often felt like as advertisement for ReturnPath or Brad Feld. I guess this makes since to prop both up, but it got old and fast. I much prefer more info and I just did not feel like I got enough. The first half just never grabbed me at all, but the second half had lots of thoughtful info and suggestions. The second half also seemed to get away from the pitch for ReturnPath and Brad Feld a bit with more of a focus what the title of the book suggests. It is a decent read, but I feel there are many other books that hit the mark much better for those looking to start a company.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eliot Peper

    Matt's a veteran entrepreneur and his book is a gift to CEO's everywhere. Many management books only focus on big company leadership issues. Many entrepreneurship books focus only on very early stage businesses. Startup CEO walks you through the entire growth lifecycle of running a business. Plus, it's organized in easily digestible, standalone chapters that contain concise and actionable perspective and recommendations. If you're leading a company, this is a book worth making time for. Matt's a veteran entrepreneur and his book is a gift to CEO's everywhere. Many management books only focus on big company leadership issues. Many entrepreneurship books focus only on very early stage businesses. Startup CEO walks you through the entire growth lifecycle of running a business. Plus, it's organized in easily digestible, standalone chapters that contain concise and actionable perspective and recommendations. If you're leading a company, this is a book worth making time for.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carlos

    Unlike other books of its kind, there are many practical applications that one can take away from this book. These range from communicating company goals (and key questions and templates one can use), setting and maintaining a positive culture, engaging with staff at all levels including promotions, all the way to ensuring the self is being taken care of (sleep, exercise, family time, etc.). Recommend this book and the great resource links within.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    This was a good, solid book about leading a start-up. I think it serves better as a reference manual than as a business text that you would want to consume in one sitting. He gives good advice about a large number of issues that CEO's (and other execs) face at one point or another. I could see myself returning to this when, say, I'm beginning to plan our next executive offsite, or if we're having problems with a member of the BOD, etc. This was a good, solid book about leading a start-up. I think it serves better as a reference manual than as a business text that you would want to consume in one sitting. He gives good advice about a large number of issues that CEO's (and other execs) face at one point or another. I could see myself returning to this when, say, I'm beginning to plan our next executive offsite, or if we're having problems with a member of the BOD, etc.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Trevor

    Fantastic "view from the trenches" by a successful startup CEO. I appreciated the practicality of the advice and the way Blumberg pulled in different perspectives by including short passages from friends and co-workers. A must-read book if you're thinking of starting up your own company and even more important for early-stage founders. Fantastic "view from the trenches" by a successful startup CEO. I appreciated the practicality of the advice and the way Blumberg pulled in different perspectives by including short passages from friends and co-workers. A must-read book if you're thinking of starting up your own company and even more important for early-stage founders.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Paul Davidescu

    Amazing book for a first time CEO to understand how all the moving part works and how they can avoid making mistakes as things get more complicated and intense down the road. Matt is an all-star and did a good job at easing apprehensions by breaking problems down in a beautifully easy to understand manner.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Craig Cote

    What an interesting and informative book, even for a non-CEO like me. There's lots of meat, and I hope to start making use of some things in my own "operating system" immediately. I figure that knowing more of the why's and where fore's of running a business can make one a more valuable employee and help make the decisions that inevitably get made make more sense. What an interesting and informative book, even for a non-CEO like me. There's lots of meat, and I hope to start making use of some things in my own "operating system" immediately. I figure that knowing more of the why's and where fore's of running a business can make one a more valuable employee and help make the decisions that inevitably get made make more sense.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vasco

    Excellent read. It starts out slow with business model and idea validation subjects I didn't enjoy that much. But from there onwards it's a roller coaster of deep content about all areas the CEO operates with, ranging from boards to assistants to employees to compensation and bonuses. Well rounded and deep book. To re-read! Excellent read. It starts out slow with business model and idea validation subjects I didn't enjoy that much. But from there onwards it's a roller coaster of deep content about all areas the CEO operates with, ranging from boards to assistants to employees to compensation and bonuses. Well rounded and deep book. To re-read!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jay Dawkins

    Good core lessons, but overly general at times. Repeats a lot of what is taught in the 'Founders Dilemma', but has some great content on many later – stage issues such as building and curating a board of directors. Good core lessons, but overly general at times. Repeats a lot of what is taught in the 'Founders Dilemma', but has some great content on many later – stage issues such as building and curating a board of directors.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mathias Meyer

    A great book, reference, guide for anyone who finds himself in the position of building a company. Read it on the Kindle but bought the print version just so I can have it on my desk to thumb through whenever I need it. A+++ book, highly recommended.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Derek

    Exactly applicable to what the title states. I especially like the last little chapter that includes comments from his wife (apparently this is the tip of the iceberg for another book: Startup Life). Appreciate the effort the author put into it.

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