Yesterday, we had the pleasure of hosting a book launch event of Decoding Silicon Valley: The Insider's Guide in Palo Alto. Many people, both Danish and American, showed up to hear the authors, Michelle Messina and Jonathan Baer, talk about their new book and to get books signed.
It was an interesting evening with a small 'fireside chat' by the authors combined with Q&A's from the guests who positively participated in the discussion. The authors also shared also their writing experiences: it has taken two years to write the book and resulted in a lot of rewriting and revising. It has been a long journey, however, they are still already planning to write a follow-up book about Venture Capital, entitled Decoding Venture Capital: The Entrepreneur's Guide.
The event ended with networking, some wine and cheese, and a group photo of the guests and their newly purchased books.
Michelle Messina: author, serial entrepreneur and Advisory Board Member at ICDK
After the book launch, I had a little chat with Michelle about the book and her experience as an entrepreneur. Last, she provide her top 3 recommendations for entrepreneurs coming to Silicon Valley.
Why did you and Jon write this book? What was your motivation and inspiration?
"Jon and I were motivated to write a book that would help entrepreneurs everywhere be more successful. After working with 1000’s of entrepreneurs in dozens of countries, we realized that the further away you are from Silicon Valley, the bigger the misconceptions were about building and growing a company and how things really function in this region. Our objective was to provide a neutral and unbiased perspective of our Silicon Valleys’ best practices that can be applied to a startup anyway. Finally, we want to touch 1 million entrepreneurs with our book within the next year."
What do you wish to be your readers’ outcome? And why should people read the book?
"After reading Decoding Silicon Valley, we hope our readers will better understand and appreciate how Silicon Valley is really organized (the ‘what’ of Silicon Valley) and then how they can be successful (the ‘how’ of Silicon Valley). The book also features 25 interviews with many different types of individuals all of whom provide a deeper understanding of what really happens in Silicon Valley."
What has been your (most important) learning experience with writing the book? As an entrepreneur?
"This is the first book I’ve written and the same applies to my co-author Jon Baer. The most important lesson I learned while writing this book, and as an entrepreneur, is to work with smart people that you like and respect - Jon is exactly that - a great co-author. Other lessons were that it took longer and was much more challenging than I expected. Having a supportive group of friends, colleagues and mentors to talk with, made this long process a bit easier."
You mentioned a follow-up book at the book event. Do you have any comments on that?
"Even though Decoding Silicon Valley: The Insider’s Guide has only just launched, we know entrepreneurs want more information and guidance about how to be successful growing their companies, entering new markets and raising capital. Our next book is entitled Decoding Venture Capital: The Entrepreneur’s Guide and is due out in 2017."
Your top 3 recommendations to entrepreneurs coming to SV?
"The most successful entrepreneurs I have met around the world, do 3 things:
- Understand the market: They understand their customers and their market opportunity at a very deep level. Conversations with customers are a regular part of every business day and help them better shape their product, service, and support options. They do more listening than talking with customers. And many of them have lots of skype and phone calls with prospective customers long before they come to Silicon Valley.
- Be surrounded by outside advisors: Great entrepreneurs inherently know they do not, or cannot, have all the answers. The best ones I have met, maintain a group of trusted advisors and mentors they talk to on a regular basis that provide objective feedback and help them to work through the difficult challenges every startup has.
- Be open-minded: What may have worked well for the company, in their home market, probably will require modification in a new market. So be open to what the prospective customers tell you they want with respect to their product, service, support, payment and installation needs. Then deliver it!"
For more info about the authors and Decoding Silicon Valley: An Insider's Guide, go to:
www.decodingsiliconvalley.com. The book can also be ordered directly from Amazon.
Or contact the authors: