Found in 6 comments on Hacker News
hga · 2016-11-26 · Original thread
Let me add my favorite book of war stories in finding product-market fit, reaching/educating users for whom the product is a sufficiently new thing they need that, in pursuing a business model that worked (do the numbers!), etc. This one is about a specific company, so it's a concrete and very real history vs. perhaps some of these recommended books more focusing on the theory, principles and applications, it could help reify those sorts of books. Disclaimer, I really like history and think you can learn from it ^_^:

Walking the High-Tech High Wire: The Technical Entrepreneur's Guide to Running a Successful Enterprise ( Pretty cheap used.

hga · 2016-09-02 · Original thread
I strongly suggest reading The E Myth: Why Most Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, ( or perhaps it's updated The E-Myth Revisited... (

Besides being fairly short, and having a lot of general good advice, such as, to use my own wording, making sure every essential hat is worn by someone, e.g. you probably won't start out with a CFO, but make sure one of the founders or earliest employees wears it, it goes into a thesis that you should write up a manual of how your business runs as if you were going to franchise it.

Plenty of good justification for writing this up at some level of detail can be found in the other comments in this topic, although I'll admit the book is not oriented toward high tech businesses.

But they're still businesses, and for that focus I highly recommend, probably after one or more books on customer development, which refine many of the ideas in it, Walking the High-Tech High Wire: The Technical Entrepreneur's Guide to Running a Successful Enterprise ( It's a story about a company that made and sold novel at the time discrete semiconductor devices, how they did their customer development, how they realized doing custom work for various customers was a loser, etc. It'll help reify what you'll read in good customer development books.

hga · 2015-09-23 · Original thread
Indeed, it's a lesson many of us find very difficult to learn, that the price someone is willing to buy something at has little relationship to what it costs. This book is the best I've read on the subject:

But it's silly that Amazon is selling them for more. Often times much more.

Not by choice. Amazon tried to set some reasonable price points, and the big five refused to play ball (remember their conspiracy with Apple?), ultimately renegotiating their contracts to agency pricing. Which is why so many of their books cost so much now.

hga · 2011-10-26 · Original thread
While it's broader in scope, I found the marketing lessons in Walking the High-Tech High Wire: The Technical Entrepreneur's Guide to Running a Successful Enterprise to be very valuable:

By now they could well be subsumed in e.g. Steve Blank's work, but it's not a long read and the price is right. And they walked the walk: they developed a device that the could fabricate on a lab table top, but it required different thinking from hardware designers. That plus their quasi-pivot (actually just doing the numbers and figuring out which of the two businesses they were doing (selling parts and consulting) they should focus on) are also worthwhile, even or especially if you're in software.

hga · 2010-05-20 · Original thread
Well, in this case it sounds like the VC was skewing the compensation to the minimum that would achieve his desired short term results, recruiting this CEO (at a big pay cut) and retaining the founders (with no pay raise).

It worked, in that he achieved both objectives and the company went public. The problem from the VC's point of view is the longer term....

This brings out one other point, which for illustration I'd like to turn around to something we're all familiar with: how much do you charge?

If you're to be successful in sales it has nothing to do with e.g. how much are your costs.

In fact, your general approach should be more one of "What is the right price and where does that leave us?"

One of many important lessons to be found in my favorite high tech company development book, Walking the High Tech High Wire ( or

hga · 2009-12-29 · Original thread
Walking the High-Tech High Wire: The Technical Entrepreneur's Guide to Running a Successful Enterprise by David Adamson,

The best tech startup book I've read, by a founder of a company that came up with a unique semiconductor device. They had to create their market (it had great advantages but they had to convince EEs to do something unconventional), they had to discover what made them money (selling parts or services (consulting)), etc.

If your company is going to have a lot of people and has repeatable processes (i.e. you're not developing software) The E-Myth by Michael Gerber or I suppose its revision (which I haven't read):

He suggests that you build up any company of this nature as if you're going to franchise it.

He also has a lot of other good advice; one that comes to mind is to make sure that there's a head for every "hat", i.e. make sure every critical function is the responsibility of someone, don't let anything fall through the cracks simply because of oversight.

At the other end of the spectrum, it's no accident that Robert X. Cringely's Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can't Get a Date is still in print:

Read/skim it if for nothing else but the lesson of how Intel, after it had gotten quite big almost died due to the innocent well intentioned actions of one man. He makes the point that high tech companies, even if they enter the Fortune 500, aren't like "normal" ones.

There's the conceit that when a company gets big enough, no one person can kill it. His example is only one of many you can find where screwing up at the technical level can with frightening speed put a high tech company on a terminal path (see the recent "When the elves leave Middle Earth" HN item for another example of this:

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