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The Startup Game

The Startup Game
Inside the Partnership between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs
by William H. Draper and Eric Schmidt
Palgrave Macmillan, 2011

Co-authored by one of the best known and most respected venture capitalists, William Draper, this book is an autobiographical account of 40 years of investing in entrepreneurs and their ideas.

Draper uses stories of risky investments, cagey CEOs and rancorous board meetings to illustrate how he evaluates innovations and their innovators. Object lessons drawn from his involvement with Skype, OpenTable, Hotmail, Prolacta BioScience, Baidu, Selectica and dozens of other high-tech firms make for fascinating reading.

Draper sums up much of his message in "The Top Ten Avoidable Mistakes of Entrepreneurs" where he elaborates on the following preventable blunders:
  • Creating overly optimistic projections about market size and customer acquisitions.
  • Underestimating timelines.
  • Trying to do everything yourself.
  • Failing to master the elevator pitch.
  • Not downsizing when necessary.
  • Being inflexible.
  • Not developing a clear marketing plan.
  • Building a board that consists only of friends.
  • Not taking action in a recession.
  • Not knowing the right way to approach venture capitalists.
Anyone expecting to meet with venture capitalists now or in the future would be well advised to read this text carefully and take its lessons to heart.

The Startup Game
The Startup Game

Entrepreneurs prove that conventional wisdom may be conventional but is not always wise. They demonstrate that good ideas - the ones that change the world - are often initially rejected by all, save for a select group of risk takers and innovative thinkers.

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