Friday, January 3, 2014

Managing Startups: Best Blog Posts of 2013

Here's my compilation of 2013's best posts and books about managing startups. I assembled similar lists at the end of 201220112010 and 2009. Many thanks to all of the authors! Thanks as well to O'Rielly Media for publishing my 2012 compilation as a book -- and for joining me in donating all profits to Endeavor Global.

A special hat tip to William Mougayar, who launched this year to aggregate insights and advice from entrepreneurs and investors. In addition to the SUM website -- through which I found many posts listed below -- William publishes a terrific email newsletter that curates the week's best posts.

Apologies to authors whose work I've omitted. Please use comments below to suggest additional posts. 

Happy New Year!

Marketplace Models

2013 featured an unusually large number of insightful posts about management challenges with different tech startup business models, so I've divided those posts by model type, starting with marketplaces:
  • a16z GP/former OpenTable CEO Jeff Jordan discusses challenges confronting tech companies with a local focus and how successful "local heroes" manage to scale rapidly
  • Kleiner Perkins EiR and former senior Google and eBay exec Stephanie Tilenius looks at key factors for success with curated consumer marketplaces such as Uber and RelayRides
  • Author Sangeet Choudary also analyzes network mobilization challenges for services marketplaces, with focus on professional services.
  • MuckerLab's William Hsu looks at how marketplaces create and capture value
  • Julia Hanna explains my colleague Andrei Hagiu's research on the difference between multi-sided platforms and traditional retailers.
Models That Leverage Dominant Platforms
SaaS Models
Enterprise Software Models
  • David Barrett, founder/CEO of Expensify, examines new approaches that are disrupting sales and marketing in enterprise software
  • Upfront Ventures GP Mark Suster looks at the upside of pursuing early professional services revenue for an enterprise software company, then examines some of the risks of rely on such revenue
Online Retail Models
Other Business Model Issues
  • a16z GP and serial entrepreneur Chris Dixon discusses challenges/opportunities with tech hardware startups
  • Fred Destin asks when early monetization is important to a tech startup, using Snapchat as an example; Greylock's Josh Elman on the same issue
  • Ben Thompson (Stratechery blog), using Apple as an case study, concludes that Clay Christensen's theory of low-end disruption does not apply in consumer markets
  • Entreprenuer/investor/advisor Brian Balfour on how the emergence of new distribution channels opens ecosystem niches for new ventures
  • In "The Anatomy of an Online Ad," Sim Simeonov describes, step by step, the role of different service providers in the delivery and tracking of online ads 
Early-Stage Business Model Validation/Customer Development/Lean Startup Approaches/User-Centered Design Research
Marketing Post Product-Market Fit: Demand Generation and Optimization
PR Strategy
Sales and Sales Management
Product Design

Product Management

Business Development
Funding Issues

Founding Process
Company Culture, Organizational Structure and Other HR Issues
Recruiting: General Issues
Recruiting Engineers

There's lots of great content online about how to recruit developers, so I've given this topic its own category
Board Management
Startup Mentors
Startup Failure
Exiting By Selling Your Company
The Startup Mindset and Coping with Startup Pressures
Books for First-Time Entrepreneurs, Covering the Startup Process End-to-End
  • MIT's Bill Aulet published Disciplined Entrepreneurship, a step-by-step guide for 1st-time founders
  • Matt Blumberg published Startup CEO, a book which offers advice for 1st-time  CEOs of tech startups
Advice for MBAs and Others Aspiring to Join Tech Startups


  1. Thanks for the shoutout, Tom. It's a stellar compilation. My work was inspired by yours. The hat tip is mutual :)

  2. Wow thanks for the inclusion, what a list!

  3. If you're looking for another source for startup content, check out my weekly newsletter:

  4. Excellent collections of posts. I found this last year and loved the articles. I have been anticipating the new installment for weeks.

  5. Great line up. Lots of work behind pulling this together.
    Thanks for the curation

  6. Excellent curation. Do include the bestselling book about a failed start-up: "Because Shit Happened - What NOT to do in a start-up!" -

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  8. Brilliant round up! More start up owners need to read all of these!

  9. Hello Platformsandnetworks
    Such a great tips... i read and learn some good things..
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  10. Thanks as well to O'Rielly Media for publishing my 2012 compilation as a book -- and for joining me in donating all profits to Endeavor Global.Thailand market entry entry services

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