I recently had the very fortunate chance of reading Founder at Work: Stories of Startup’s Early Days by Jessica Livingston. What can I say, it’s a great book! I had problems putting it down. It’s filled with non-stop stories of how people started their software companies. Jessica was able to get interviews with so many great founders that it’s amazing the book wasn’t any longer (and too bad).
Each story was great on their own, but some always stick out more than others. For me personally, I really appreciated James Hong’s story of how Hot or Not was founded. I had heard of that site when the internet was a new thing, but I didn’t realize just everything that went into it. His parents even got involved in trying to filter out inappropriate images at some point. He explains to his dismay that he realized this, and then what he did to solve it. For that particular company, in the beginning they were really flying by the seat of your pants. Jessica’s writing is definitely able to convey their crazy roller coaster ride, you really feel what they went through.
Others that stuck out to me where Max Levchin’s Paypal story. Steve Perlman’s story of how they founded WebTv. Caterina Fake’s story of Flickr. The list just goes on. Every story is interesting. In reality there’s not a single founding story I can say I didn’t thoroughly enjoy. Jessica really has a talent for pulling the best out of the people she interviews.
The best news of all about this book is that according to her Channel 9 interview, she’s in the works to create a sequel to this already great book. I can’t wait for it to come out. I’ll definitely be one of the first to pickup a copy.