Entrepreneur America: Lessons from Inside Rob Ryan's High-Tech Start-Up Boot Camp

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9780066620664: Entrepreneur America: Lessons from Inside Rob Ryan's High-Tech Start-Up Boot Camp

Maybe you've always wanted to start your own business. Or perhaps you're already a member of a small start-up dot.com and you have no idea what you're doing.

You're not alone.

Entrepreneurship is the hottest growth area in America today -- there are 30 million entrepreneurs now, and 60 million more say they would like to be. Do you have what it takes -- do you know what it takes -- to compete and succeed with a small business?

Rob Ryan will help you find out. Ryan founded Ascend Communications in 1989, which in nine years grew from zero to over $2 billion in sales. He now runs the Entrepreneur America "boot camp" from his ranch in Montana, where startup wanna-bes come to develop their entrepreneurial skills. Two of Rob's boot camp companies, Silicon Spice and LookSmart, have market capitalizations of over $1 billion.

If you can't get to Montana, however, come here. In Entrepreneur America: Lessons from Inside Rob Ryan's High-Tech Start-up Boot Camp, Ryan shares his techniques for developing a successful team, product, pitch, and, eventually, business.

Ryan focuses on methods he's developed over the years for building a sustainable business that makes money. He emphasizes the importance of testing your idea on customers, building the product, and making sure that product offers something new and important to those customers.

Through anecdotes and advice, Ryan shows you how to:

Be a red polka-dotted zebra. Make sure your customers can pick you out of a crowd.

Find out if the dogs will eat the dog food. Are you giving your customers exactly what they want?

Learn the 10x rule. Your product must be either 1/10 the cost of your competitors', or ten times the performer.

Stay ahead of the pack. Construct a business model so advanced it'll take a year or more for your competitors to catch up.

Business ideas are like belly buttons, says Ryan -- everybody has one. Entrepreneur America will show you how to turn your idea into a real product, take it to investors, and get your startup started.

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Review:

With $2.5 million in venture capital, Rob Ryan founded a tech company that sold for $22 billion 10 years later. He now operates a "boot camp" in rural Montana for wannabes from promising start-ups interested in following in his footsteps. In Entrepreneur America, he shares personal experiences along with lessons learned from his mentoring program of the same name. Chapters titled with Silicon Valley slang (like "Do the Dogs Like the Dog Food?" and "Sucking the Air out of the Room") help readers assess their readiness to meet with venture capitalists, determine whether consumers really need what they're offering, examine core competencies and market position, measure how the product or service matches the intended audience, and compile a winning business plan. Two additional chapters focus on "how to become number one and stay number one" by managing and hiring effectively, dealing with directors, and handling other responsibilities that become critical once an idea gets off the ground. Ryan shows how some of the 50-plus concepts that passed through his program proceeded afterwards, and includes exercises and other tools for those hoping to replicate their victories and avoid their mistakes. The result should prove practical and inspiring for anyone shaping a new business in today's increasingly demanding environment. -- Howard Rothman

About the Author:

Rob Ryan is a pioneer of the high-tech industry. In 1989 he founded AscEND

Communications with $2.5 million in venture capital financing. At the beginning of 1999, AscEND

was sold to Lucent for $25 billion. Shortly after taking the company public, Ryan retired from AscEND

and started Entrepreneur America from his 1.000-acre ranch in Montana. He has helped launch a string of successful companies, including LookSmart, Virtmed, RightNow, Silicon Spice, Virtual Ink, Vellis, and NetCracker.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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