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By Lewis Lin

Lewis Lin is the CEO of Timber Software, a start-up focused on enterprise communication. Previously, Lewis led product development teams at Google and Microsoft. 
 

Mark Suster  recently wrote why it’s important to take 50 coffee meetings.  If you’re busy, you’re probably wondering, “How you’ll make time for 50 coffee meetings?”  Or if you’re a new entrepreneur, you’re asking, “How do you get airtime with leading entrepreneurs & investors?”  There’s an easy solution to both problems: read David Cohen and Brad Feld’s book, Do More Faster.

 

The book is a compilation of 75 short stories from leading entrepreneurs and venture capitalists — including the authors themselves.  Each story is 2-5 pages, making it easy to digest the information quickly.  Some of the stories have been previously published on blogs, such as Greg Gottesman’s Define Your Culture piece. Other stories now have excerpts published online such as Dharmesh Shah’s Avoid Co-Founder Conflict.

 

The book mixes in wisdom from three diverse groups: venture capitalists, experienced/successful entrepreneurs, and new entrepreneurs — many of whom are part of the TechStars incubator program.  The advice ranges from the tactical (“Don’t Suck at Email” – 7 invaluable email tips) to strategic (“Quality over Quantity” – why you should fight feature creep).  At the end of each story, the authors provide their own commentary.

 

Of all the stories in the book, one of my favorite stories comes from Rob Johnson, the co-founder of EventVue.  In a story titled, “Don’t Celebrate the Wrong Things,” Johnson chronicles the rise and fall of their start-up.  Johnson shares how EventVue started with many of the things that other start-ups lust for: strong customer usage, funding, and early revenue.  However, Johnson eventually shuts down EventVue, and Johnson gives a honest, straightforward recount and analysis of their failure.  It’s a painful reminder that sometimes success can be an illusion.

 

Overall, I enjoyed the book.  It’s not meant to replace 50 coffee meetings, but it’s certainly a great way to glean entrepreneurial insights quickly and inexpensively.  It will certainly remain on my bookshelf as a reminder of what to do and not do for my own entrepreneurial activities.

 

My  Favorite Takeaways from Do More Faster

 

  1. “Don’t overvalue the idea and undervalue execution.”
  2. “Focus their passion and pick the smallest meaningful problem. Don’t do MySpace + Facebook + YouTube.”
  3. “As long as I listen to my customers, I never need to have another original idea.”
  4. “You are trying to find as many people as possible who want to be friends with your company, who care about what you are doing, and who want to help you… Focus on making friends first. You’ll have plenty of time to hunt for pink Cadillacs.”
  5. “Entrepreneurs are amazingly gifted salesmen.” – on how a company can generate revenue without having an actual business
  6. “First funding doesn’t need to be celebrated. It simply means you can continue.”
  7. “If you are not completely satisfied with your service, mark down this bill as you feel it is appropriate and tell us where we can improve.”

 
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