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Start Up: A Silicon Valley Adventure

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  260 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
The founder of the visionary, yet doomed, GO Corporation kept notes throughout his years at the helm, thinking that one day he would produce a book. It shows. This is a vivid and lively rise-and-fall account of a company born to create a pen-based computer. It begins on a corporate jet with the author and fellow industry visionary Mitchell Kapor, founder of Lotus, sharing ...more
Paperback, 322 pages
Published 1997 by Warner Books (first published May 1st 1995)
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Stephen Lake
Jun 27, 2012 Stephen Lake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
A rare look inside the rise (and failure) of a high-profile, venture-backed technology company.

Here's an awesome summary stolen from a review at Amazon (

"I bought this because I read an interview with Mark Andreesen (co-inventor of the browser) in which he shared kind words for Kaplan's memoirs. Having seen the Netscape debacle from its inception to its consumption by AOL, I take Mark as a reliable source on startups and corporate deals.
Startup: A Silicon
Joe White
A 25 year old account of a corporate startup that skirmished with the biggest, baddest corporate cultures of the late-80's - early 90's. Markedly applicable to the tablet explosion based on ARM chips of today.

Large scale financing through venture capitalists and corporate legal arrangements was elucidated.

Direct revelations of Bill Gates as a corporate monopolist. Windows lovers will shrug this off as "just business", but I think that the corporate monopolies have kept innovation in technology
Jul 30, 2015 Mila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't see words, I see real people moving here and there, too much flight scenes and pitches and there's one thing I can say: It's one hell of a ride.
I think this books speaks for itself, J. Kaplan has written it simply and meaningfully. Sometimes it's too techy but on the other hand, it's real life, with all its ups and downs and good deals, bad ones, enemies, friends and the future, dreams, visions, it's really one hell of a ride, the moment you close the book, it doesn't feel like it's the
Oct 22, 2015 Jack rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
it was alright. i enjoyed learning about business on the inside and that was about it,
Feb 21, 2008 Ivan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-story
I like this book very much, giving us big picture of how hard it is to establish your own company. Start-up company is either a hell of joyride OR a joyride to hell. Appreciate all the effort he made from the beginning till the end to raise his "child" called GO. I learn one important thing if I want to make my own someday: find a great idea, communicate it to right people, then make sure the product can be sold!
Mar 25, 2008 Srikanth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Business Students / hobby readers
Recommended to Srikanth by: Friend - Sundar
Shelves: business
when you startup an activity, result may not always success. I guess, Kaplan would have learnt lot of lessons to fight with competition and big market players.
Again book ends with a sad part, But, to emphasise on startup - it ends with another startup business. if you would like to understand business dynamics and why lot of merging happening... Good to start from this book.

Tom Conder
Sep 02, 2013 Tom Conder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At this point the pen computer concept is a bit dated. However there are some themes covered in this book at never age: making a great product, making deals with investors and connecting with customers. Kaplan weaves a tale of his startup from concept to the its last soul-crushing days. I found this book informative and entertaining.
Oct 21, 2007 Charlie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My appreciation of this book skyrocketed when I got to meet Caplan in person. Obviously, he is the sort of big swinging dick that you have envisioned, but it was great to see it in the flesh.
Chris O'Brien
Jun 29, 2010 Chris O'Brien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised at how relevant the book remains, which came out in 1995. If you want to see how tech competition works (or, in this case, doesn't work), this book is worth reading.
Feb 09, 2014 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: changed-me
This book is a well written account of the startup process as it normally failure. If you were ever curious about the startup process, this is a great source.
Feb 19, 2008 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
"Detailed, but well written, story of the rise and fall of Go and pen computing. Especially interesting to read about old acquaintances from Apple days."
Zhifei Ge
Dec 18, 2012 Zhifei Ge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: entrepreneurship
Including almost every aspects an entrepreneur need to know about what to expect during the adventure.
Mar 15, 2009 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dated by now, but still fascinating.
Stas Panteleev
May 13, 2014 Stas Panteleev rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A real thrill.
Mar 31, 2008 aarjav rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reads like a novel!
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Kaplan is widely known as a serial entrepreneur, technical innovator, bestselling author, and futurist. He co-founded four Silicon Valley startups, two of which became publicly traded companies. His best-selling non-fiction novel "Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure" was selected by Business Week as one of the top ten business books of the year, was optioned to Sony Pictures, and is available in J ...more
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