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Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  577 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Kaplan, a well-known figure in the computer industry, founded GO Corporation in 1987, and for several years it was one of the hottest new ventures in the Valley. Startup tells the story of Kaplan's wild ride: how he assembled a brilliant but fractious team of engineers, software designers, and investors; pioneered the emerging market for hand-held computers operated with a ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 1st 1996 by Penguin Books (first published May 1st 1995)
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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Stephen Lake
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 (http://www.amazon.com/review/RA1JC7MQ...

"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
Kevin Connor
Feb 16, 2020 marked it as abandoned
I've rarely bounced off of a book so quickly. Silicon Valley has metastasized into a grotesque caricature of the mild excess that this book depicts and celebrates, making this self-obsessed narrative seem small and unpalatable. ...more
Martin Rigby
Fascinating for multiple reasons: (spoilers?)

It shows how industry buzz which seems important can fizzle to nothing. Does anyone even remember the Newton, let alone it's competitor the EOS, which is described in this book? Both devices were way ahead of their time. They were trying to be iPhones at a time when the technology supported little more than a Palm Pilot.

By far the most fascinating part of the book was his description of how Bill Gates practically stalked them and tried to copy what t
Daniyar Kamal
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
My first book about startups, and it gave me some ideas about what could happen in your journey building your own business, especially dealing with big companies. I understood that there might not be good partnership between a huge company and a small one. Either they go separate ways, or the big company just absorb the other one.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great book to read if you want to understand Survivorship Bias in the business/startup world. You can have the world's best talent, the world's best investors, a good product, big customers - and still fail. ...more
David Tenemaza Kramaley
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fun and motivating read when you are building your own startup!
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: computers, history
Started this after wathcin the General Magic movie, which is a documentary about General magic, a startup which tried to market a handheld computer resembling a modern smartphone, back in the early 90s.

I don't remember how I ended up reading the book after it (probably some suggestion online?), but I regretted it.

What starts off as a very interesting story, quickly descends into a groundhog day of sorts with descriptions of round upon round of funding, of cash running out, of investors etc.

I gu
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting history on Go Corp, which I knew very little back then. I have heard of the Apple Newton. Despite all these failure, it did leave a sense pen-based or tablet computers will be a device of the future. It took another 16 years before the Apple iPad that finally bring tablet computing to live.
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business, nonfiction
Great story about a startup in the late 80's. Classic. ...more
Dhananjayan Jayabal
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book vividly tells how big fishes eats away small ones. It was actually a lesson for all entrepreneurs. Hardship faced by Promoters of startups is clearly mentioned in the books.
Eva Weiss
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris Norris
Jul 22, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Started my fascination for startups, long before I was part of one. A great story of a startup way before its time, but with the strong personal bonds that come from being committed to a mission
Manas Saloi
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An honest take. Different from most founding stories of companies
Charles Dalton
Mar 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
Amazing story, with a small amount of take-aways
Kiro Selanor
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Jerry Kaplan kept a detailed diary between 1988 and 1994 with the intention of writing a book about his experiences, and this allowed him to write a book that reads more like a professionally written novel than a business case study. Kaplan replays important conversations, meeting, demonstrations, and emotions as if they had just happened. As a personal account, occasionally he tells of things that were going on in his life such as his father's death or his marriage.

The book contains many detail
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
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 book 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 end.

It was the begi
Feb 20, 2008 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! ...more
Dec 23, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: changed-me
This book is a well written account of the startup process as it normally ends....in failure. If you were ever curious about the startup process, this is a great source.
Oct 21, 2007 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.
Stas Panteleev
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A real thrill.
Chris O'Brien
Jun 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Mar 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Dated by now, but still fascinating.
Feb 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
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." ...more
Oct 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
it was alright. i enjoyed learning about business on the inside and that was about it,
Zhifei Ge
Dec 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: entrepreneurship
Including almost every aspects an entrepreneur need to know about what to expect during the adventure.
Mar 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Reads like a novel!
Stephan Stücklin-wightman
rated it really liked it
Dec 21, 2014
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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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