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Startupland: How Three Guys Risked Everything to Turn an Idea into a Global Business
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Startupland: How Three Guys Risked Everything to Turn an Idea into a Global Business

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  717 ratings  ·  67 reviews
The real story of what it takes to risk it all and go for broke. Conventional wisdom says most startups need to be in Silicon Valley, started by young engineers around a sexy new idea, and backed by VC funding. But as Mikkel Svane reveals in Startupland, the story of founding Zendesk was anything but conventional.

Founded in a Copenhagen loft by three thirty-something frie
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published December 1st 2014 by Jossey-Bass (first published November 13th 2014)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  717 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Many of my friends and colleagues tell me that video and movies are nowadays better than books for documenting real life. I still feel there is in books a depth I do not find anywhere else. A question of generations, probably. HBO’s Silicon Valley may be a funny and close-to-reality account of what high-tech entrepreneurship is but Startup Land is a great example of why I still prefer books. I did not find everything I was looking for – and I will give one example below – but I could feel the au ...more
Pooja Ghera saxena
Very easy read and some good lessons for start-ups overall
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
An inspirational true story of how Zendesk starts from nothing and reaches to this far.

Business related books are never my cup of tea because most of the authors telling the readers on how miracles happened to them, how they create miracles or only people with similar level with them can achieve what they had achieved.

This story is more realistic as it involves the story of the difficulties that he experiences when building his business. The most important thing is he gave the impression to us
deleted d
Dec 22, 2015 rated it liked it
average cool startup story

Building a start-up is all about developing new ideas and taking risks, so there’s no one formula for success. Get a strong team together, watch out for disingenuous investors, be prepared to make mistakes and adapt your strategy when things don’t go as planned. You’ll hit roadblocks you can’t prepare for, just like the author did when he built up Zendesk. But like the author, you can also grow your start-up if you stay flexible and committed to your vision.
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
A short interesting read on how a small gang of ambitious Danish techies formed one of the successful businesses of the decade. Mikkel Svane keeps you engaged in his lucid writing which is devoid of contemporary business mumbo-jumbo. & the book feels like a well articulated medium article in itself. There are quite a handful takeaways like how being people-centric will be a game changer & other things that I wish I could mention here without spoiling the crux of the book.
May 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
inspiring and sobering for anyone building their business. great advice on staying true to yourself, your business & your customers.
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
A random find turned out to be a great find.
I ran (literally - as I ran 6K to the library) into this book at Queenstown library, Singapore and chose it over the book about Twitter. I hadn't really expected much as I had indeed thought "Zendesk? A bit boring business", just as Mikkel admitted in the book. But it is in those fields where people find "boring" or mundane that you may have a good startup idea.

The book turned out quite interesting and I completed within a weekend.
I feelt that Mikke
Simon Eskildsen
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good story, a non-pretentious tone, the butt-ugly truths, personal dramas, and honest personal pontification. The story of how Zendesk was built in a loft in Copenhagen, how Denmark failed them, not through talent, but through availability to venture funding. How the three founders made their way to the New World and found the Promised Land in San Francisco in its hey-day (when San Francisco was still cool) of 2009. Clearly not written by someone who's written a lot, but it doesn't matter, bec ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
More like a 3.5

Having used Zendesk in our startup, Startupland was an enriching read to understand how Zendesk shaped up. It is a very engaging read on the Danish guys who redefined customer support as we know it. Mikkel documents not only his early struggles with the product but also the personal challenges encountered in relocating to Boston and then Bay area. The perspective of a Danish founder and his rendezvous with the Silicon Valley challenges makes this book a must read.

This book is bi
Jul 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
Zendesk is a popular cloud-based helpdesk software which was revolutionary when it was released. I was interested to hear from the founder. Each section in the book contains a short story detailing the progression of the company and a few "tips" at the end.

Unfortunately, this book feels like a pure cash in - it's like someone said to the author "you could make a lot of money writing a book about this" and he took it literally. It's one of the only books I can say I feel genuinely cheated out of
Diogo Ferreira
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leom Sheng Rui
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It entails the whole journey of Zendesk, and how it became a global business from just three guys working together to build a better product. The inspiration and the experience that you can draw from this book is truly amazing. A good read, will recommend to any aspiring entrepreneur hoping to one day make a true difference to the world !!
Dian Perdhana
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My favourite quotes in this book:

“If you want to make something look easy, you have to put a lot of effort into it. Only by embracing the fact that nothing is easy and that the most important things are so incredibly hard can you approach work (and life) with the right humility that can set you up for success.”
Manas Saloi
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Origin story of Zendesk, and how they transformed an industry which is not "sexy". I am not giving this a 5 stars because I expected to learn a little more about the difficulty in growing a saas business while this book just focussed on the beginning of Zendesk. ...more
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heartfelt story of an entrepreneurial journey

This is a really inspiring story about a small company from Denmark creating a global product company. Recommended for all startup enthusiasts
Ken Hamner
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book explains, better than maybe any I’ve read, the stresses and challenges of growing an entrepreneurial venture, not only from things that go wrong, but even challenges that come from growth and success. Well worth reading.
Jas Hothi
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've read this a couple of times now, an awesome telling by Mikkel Svane of his going from a Copenhagen basement with two friends, and balancing family life and the stresses of early startup days, through to moving to the US and ZenDesk becoming listed. ...more
Annette Erdozaincy
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was such an interesting and fun read. It was very insightful reading about how Zendesk started and how it grew into such a successful company. It's written with some humor too. I found it hard to put down! ...more
Robert Fire
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An Amazing book, i felt It was my life, I'm the combination of the founders, but I don't have an IPO yet, but I swear by Elvis I will.

Robert Fire

@irobertfire (US)
@frobertfire (ESP)
Adán Galván gonzález
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
from garage to IPO, nice story about building products with love and passion.
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very inspiring and filled with great advises. Being a startup owner myself, I could relate to many of the stories mentioned.
Lex Krishnadath
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An amazingand unconventional story
Interface Mirror
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I liked the book because of its simplicity in describing what challenges are met to launch a real product used by thousands. The idea of the book was conveyed beautifully by the end of the book.
Jun 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Startup Land
Mikkel Svane

“Startup Land” by Mikkel Svane is a book about how three regular guys took big risks and turned an idea into a successful global business. The book is nonfiction and it talks about the struggles and the triumphs of starting a global business. The aim of this book is to pass along knowledge the author was able to gain after going through this experience and to give an inside look at how modern businesses grow from the startup stage forward.

Mikkel Svane was one of three m
Jul 01, 2015 added it
Mikkel Svane is a rare bird -- a Dane who started a "cloud" company in Copenhagen, together with two partners, and then moved it to California and took it public at a billion dollars. While it's not a rag to riches story, Startup Land does take the reader on a very unusual journey. The subtitle refers to the face that the three partners risked everything (as every entrepreneur does) and turned an idea into a global business. Most of us have never been privy to what is involved in growing a busin ...more
Aug 16, 2015 rated it liked it
A high level overview of Zendesk and its origins. Very insightful and beneficial to the community - thanks to Mikkel for taking the time to share with us.

It reads like fiction, although it is very much nonfiction. A worthwhile read for any person interested in the startup culture and mindset. Zendesk has done well, and this is a classic story of why entrepreneurship is so praised today.

Fast read, pages turn.
Provides an inside look at Zendesk.
Inspirational and motivational for those in the
Sukanta Maikap
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a bit different from many others in the same genre. It’s very personal and narrated as a diary rather than as straight out gyans from the exercise. That has helped with depicting the more human side of the author. In my opinion this book stands out in terms of profiles of the founders, in there early 30s, not some prodigy dropping out of Phd to start a company.

This book is a must read for all wannabes, and probably can act as “it is never too late” catalyst.
Kaspars Koo
A simple, honest and genuine story about Danish start-up Zendesk.
It is refreshing to read about a European company for a change. Not just because the main characters of the book are not Americans, but also because the story itself is delivered differently - with a fresh Danish modesty and sincerity and without usual American boasting and over-exaggeration.
Not too many useful business tips, but a quick and entertaining read.
Marc Palucci
Sep 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Zendesk continuously strives to make their product offering better. They were focused on building a product for an industry they believed needed changing. Their original vision was to provide a beautifully customer service desk service thats simple. Today, they are publicly traded and operate in over 130 countries. Mikkel shares what they discovered along the way and the adversity that he had to endure.
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
It's interesting getting to know Mikkel a bit more and the struggle he had with the company. I think this is a good read for anyone who's interesting in becoming an entrepreneur or who uses Zendesk and would like to know about the humble beginnings of it's founder. This isn't a bad book by any means, it's just not up my alley. ...more
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