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The Startup Owner's Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  10,670 ratings  ·  113 reviews
Now a decade after the Four Steps to the Epiphany
sparked the Lean Startup revolution, comes its sequel…
The Startup Owner's Manual

The Manual incorporates 10 years of learning and best practices
that have swept the startup world. It:

Incorporates the "Business Model Canvas" as the organizing principle for
startup hypotheses
Provides separate paths and advice for web/mobile pr
...more
Hardcover
Published March 1st 2012 by K & S Ranch (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  10,670 ratings  ·  113 reviews


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Peter
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Startup
The Startup Owners Manual is a wonderful inspiring and informative book on how to start your entrepreneurial career. It doesn't cover the logistical or administrative tasks but it does focus on the most important aspect of how to achieve customer adoption and retention. In their terms how to discover customers and how to validate them. While every aspect of establishing a business is important, such as legal, finance, resources etc. if you don't have a path to customers you don't have a b
...more
Bob
Oct 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is dry and formulaic, but it has one basic insight that's worth repeating: don't bother making anything until you discover & understand who's going to buy. I gave it 3-Stars because it's not an inspiring book. However, if you're considering bootstrapping a product or company, this is a slam-dunk, 5-Star must-read because it will save you years.

Many aspiring entrepreneurs fancy themselves as undiscovered geniuses, but the reality is that bootstrapping a product or company is much more
...more
CAC
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The text I use for my class. Not perfect (e.g. doesn't emphasize competition, risks and category and concept economic viability enough) but still the best entrepreneurial guide I have found so far. If you don't feel like wading through the text book, try Udacity.com and stream a series of short ENTR lectures, also done by Blank.
Joshua Pitzalis
Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the best business book I have read till date.

It effortlessly dismantles the bullshit idea of a good entrepreneur as a modern day Indiana Jones hacking their way through a jungle of self-doubt armed only with an iron clad will and a penchant for making the right decisions at the right time. This books recast my understanding of the ideal entrepreneur as a scientist, methodical and precise.

The book outlines exactly what to pay attention to through each of the four stages of turning an idea
...more
Tadas Talaikis
OMC, boring as heaven, real life has no "step by step instructions". Like from Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days: "Second system may be years late and fixes none of the first system problems." ...more
Tom
Dec 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blank, Steven Gary, and Bob Dorf (2012), The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-by-Step-Guide for Building a Great Company, K and S Ranch, Inc. K&S Publishing Division. This is a brilliant book about a new approach for entrepreneurs to build lasting companies. It includes a four-stage model Steve Blank made famous called customer development, which complements the traditional product development model. Customer Development is comprised of four processes: 1. Customer Discovery: Who will buy my brea ...more
Florin Roșoga
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I read it entirely and will read it again, starting with the portions I need most. I think you have to read it several times and to apply.
Michal Bol
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Treat this as a reference book or a guide.
Otherwise it may seem boring
Nathan
Feb 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Great companion to The Lean Startup and Business Model Generation. I found it to be more useful in B2B application than in B2C. The edition of the book I have, First Ed/5th printing, has both B2B and B2C content and the way to two are presented in succession within a single chapter does not make for the best read. But the author states early in the book that it is not meant to be read straight through, rather used as a reference - thus the name.

In any event, it's a great book on the subject - pr
...more
Barry Graubart
Simply THE best book on product strategy and market entry for startups.

I follow the customer development method closely in bringing new products to market.

My only criticism is that the book could have used a good editor. Steve writes more like a blogger than a book author and he frequently repeats concepts. But, that's a minor annoyance considering the value this book provides.

If you're a product manager or a leader of an early stage company, buy copies for your whole team and use it.
Adhi
May 20, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was a waste of time. Lean startup is a mindset, this approach is just to create a fad creator for the authors to generate more interest in the courses they offer. The premise that somehow within a few days you will have a great business model is an insult to every startup out there who have spent countless hours getting things right. A real business takes time to think through and most pivots happen organically not within a few days.
Nate Desmond
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book provides an amazing level of detail on running a successful startup. Perhaps more important than the 400+ pages of reading though, the checklists in the back can be pulled out as needed for specific startup tasks.
Michał
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tim
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Essential reading for startups. Gotta thank my friend Tiang Cheng for recommending it to me. Wish I read it a long time ago ;-)
Frederick
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great reference guide for startup owners.
Viktoriia
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is an amazing book! I am about to see how it works in practice.
Igor Đukić
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: accf-7-business
“On Day One, a startup is a faith-based initiative built on guesses”
“Relentless execution without knowing what to execute is a crime.”
“The ability to learn from missteps distinguishes a successful startup.”
“...no business plan survives first contact with customers.”
“Most startups lack a structured process for testing their business model hypotheses.”

I read this book after The Four Steps of Epiphany and found that this book is focused on the first two steps of customer development with great dist
...more
Dragify
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: startup
The bible for startups in addition to "Lean Startup". Steve Blank makes a lot of very good points about startup growth and culture, i.e. what makes startups succeed and what makes others fail. He also goes into significant depth on what you and your business can do to minimise the risk of failure. Great read. 5 stars.
Bruno Rio
Starting a business is no joke. To build a team, a business model and processes that will survive you and any economic tide is hard.

This book has a lot of good insights but it is too dry and procedural. It is never a one fits all formula. Also the book aesthetics tired me because of its excess of diagrams.

Could be resumed into a half and then it eould be much more useful...
Angel Arturo
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed it and the checklists were useful but I think a lot of the content is repetitive. I suggest reading The Lean Startup for the principles given and then just skimming the checklists and ideas according to your product.
Lê Long
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not sure if this book is kept up with current startup trend (as of 2018), but it really give me a clearer way of thinking, planning for my startup right now. It is an essential for founders, especially 1st time starting a new business.
Matt Watkinson
When I was a kid I liked to jump in puddles. It always seemed like a good idea at the time, but I seldom found myself better off for it. In occasionally jumping into the startup owner's manual, I have found my adult equivalent.
Outdoors Nerd
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are so many books on Lean Startup methodology, that have expanded and adapted Mr Blank's ideas, but it was great to get back to the original. This sets out clear, concise principles that will help you cut through the cloud of modern derivatives.
Ethan J
this book is pretty formulaic, and most of it could be dry, but the interesting insight i gained from the book is startup has searching phase where you search for a business model and execution phase...
Milan Vukas
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In short terms: It’s the holy bible for any startup entrepreneur! This book is the practical guide for launching, testing and growing any business model.

Please do yourself a favour and read this book carefully BEFORE working on any startup ideas 🙌
Fabian
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best “manual” (or rather the closest thing to if) on building a (especially) software company. Very comprehensive and detailed when it comes to the topics discussed.

The practices discussed here are really the core of the Silicon Valley Startups.
Todd
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's like Twilight of the Idols for business approaches.
A revolutionary yet practical method for violently growing a business.
Ricardo Cabral
Too much focus on customer/market discovery and validation, so it misses many steps on how to build a great company.
Kim
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book needs to be edited again. There are numerous typos and errors throughout the text.
Jurgen Appelo
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: _startups
Required reading for startup founders.
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Put to a vote, I might have been chosen “least likely to succeed” in my New York City high school class. My path has taken me from repairing fighter planes in Thailand during the Vietnam War, to spook stuff in undisclosed location(s), and I was lucky enough to arrive at the beginning of the boom times of Silicon Valley in 1978.
After 21 years in 8 high technology companies, I retired in 1999. I sta
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