I really enjoyed Ben's previous book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things (especially the rap intros to each chapter). I recently heard on Tim Ferriss's podcast about Ben's newly released book, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture. Based on how much I liked the first book, I decided to read the new one.
I found the stories and historical anecdotes interesting, and I also enjoyed hearing more "war stories" from Ben about his previous startups. I did enjoy this second book a little less than the first; its core messages were less impactful/applicable. The beginning and end of the book were solid, but the middle didn't seem to connect and flow as well in one cohesive narrative. As a book focused on culture, it did teach some important lessons; I just was hoping it would've been weaved together as well as the first book. In any case, it was still enjoyable and instructive.
Below are some of my notes and takeaways from the book.
I heard about Reboot by Jerry Colonna via Tim Ferriss's and Jason Calacanis's podcasts. It's a book by a very well known startup "coach," but it goes much deeper than that. It exposes how startups bring out many psychological issues in founders that are rooted in childhood experiences. One of its core lessons is that "better humans make better leaders," so working on oneself improves one's company.
It reminded me a bit of Getting The Love You Want, which taught how couples in marriage are dealing with issues from childhood via their relationship. It also reminded me of Esther Perel's new podcast How's Work? that delves into similar issues ("therapy" for the workplace).
I enjoyed the book and learning about the author's "pathless path." The book did stay at a pretty high level, and I found myself craving for a bit more tactical "advice." Regardless, it was interesting to read about the stories of other founders' struggles and how they "processed" their issues.
Below are my main notes/takeaways from the book.
My first two tech startups were AMA (finance) and Ridacto (legal). I'm proud of and have learned a ton of lessons working on those.
This month I began embarking on my third startup adventure: Epirus. I've joined as Co-Founder and COO.
Epirus is a venture-backed startup specializing in agile development of advanced defense systems. The team combines decades of aerospace & defense experience with Silicon Valley innovation in order to address 21st century threats, such as drones and other asymmetric technologies. The company name is inspired by the story of the mythical king Theseus who defended Athens with a bow that had an infinite cache of arrows called the Epirus bow.
I wasn't really looking to work on anything new when I got a call somewhat out of the blue from a close college friend who had worked for over a decade at traditional defense contractors. He wanted to start a new type of defense company to protect against drones, and he wanted help on software, operations, and building a culture of innovation. That's where he thought I could help.
I had always been interested in drones and working on software applied to challenges in the physical world. I knew absolutely zero about the defense space and was somewhat weary about that. Getting to know the rest of the team sold me on the opportunity because I was blown away by the technical rigor and awesomeness of my teammates (100+ patents, awards, etc.). And the excitement and support by 8VC was very encouraging.
This is somewhat different from my other startups in a number of ways: traditional venture backing, my role as COO and sidekick to other amazing co-founders (as opposed to CEO or the first founder/co-founder), bigger team, and totally new industry/market for me. For me, this is an opportunity to learn a ton about a brand new space and build something awesome from the ground up, which I love doing. Go Epirus!
P.S. Epirus is hiring!