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Dear Founder: Letters of Advice for Anyone Who Leads, Manages, or Wants to Start a Business

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  211 ratings  ·  26 reviews
The Los Angeles Times and USA Today bestseller!

Wise, practical, and profitable letters to entrepreneurs, leaders, managers, and business owners in every field--from a leading executive, investor, and business founder

More than 600,000 new businesses are launched each year. How can a start-up find the funding it needs to survive? When, if at all, should a company go public?
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 11th 2018 by St. Martin's Press
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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 ·  211 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, netgalley
Every early stage founder should have this book on their bookshelf as it is an excellent reference manual as you encounter the wild assortment of issues facing startup founders, many of which you may not have seen before.

Choosing to write each piece of advice as a letter was innovative and I appreciate the brevity of each letter. Unfortunately that means some of the advice may appear more simplistic or superficial than one may want; however, minimally each will help you figure out the questions
Jason Orthman
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really good book on leadership from a tech industry veteran. Transparency and communication is crucial.
Dec 24, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a pretty good business book. Maynard Webb, who was COO of eBay under Meg Whitman and later CEO of LiveOps and a bunch of other operating roles plays spiritual uncle (or more accurately, Polonius to your Laertes) to startup founders and would-be start up founders with a series of letters with bits of advice and inspiration.

It's well-organized into sections corresponding to the lifecycle of a company: (1) getting started; (2) finding product/market fit and building a team; (3) growing and
Dora Okeyo
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I love this book! If there's one book that's going to be handed down to generations to come in my home library, it's this one.
If you're starting up a venture, a business, or you are an investor, manager and even if your wheels are turning about starting out a venture, this book will not only inspire you, it'll guide you along the way. Thank you Netgalley and the Publisher for the eARC.
Jan 13, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the author has put the hard works into easy-to-read content, covering all the stages a company could have experience from startup.

A book talking about what would a company experience from a start-up to (hopefully) becoming a legacy.
It provides ideas and solutions to all issues that might occur in all stages.

Though it’s very shallow, it’s easy to read, and it covers all topics.
It’s interesting when I read the letters about what my company has already experienced;
It’s also very valuable to kno
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dear Founder is Maynard Webb's delightful second book. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Each chapter engaging and easy to follow, dealing with a common challenge along the founders journey. It's a refreshing reminder that you're not alone in the journey and the universality of so many of the challenges. It makes what is a very hard thing seem far more tractable and accessible, hard but not impossible. I highly recommend, even if you're not a founder or consider being one. Many of th ...more
Kevin Leung
Apr 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: work
This book is not meant to be read cover-to-cover. Despite that fact, I more or less tried to read it cover-to-cover, though I had several large gaps and stops in-between.

It’s hard to rate this book because it’s intended to be used situationally when you need advice on a certain issue. I imagine that each roughly 2 or 3 page letter is more or less what Maynard would say to you if you admaked his advice on a situation.

I didn’t particularly pick out notable takeaways, but maybe I just don’t need
Mar 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: economy, biz
Not useful at all.
Martynas Petkevičius
I rarely consider business or management books useful or interesting, but Dear Founder has hit an all-time low. It's supposed to give you advice on how to deal with situations commonly faced by start-up founders, but instead it just lists things to consider. For instance, when talking about raising funding, Webb casually mentions the importance of understanding terms like cap, pro rata and liquidation preference, but never explains them. Similarly, the chapter titled "When you need to focus on w ...more
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: management
Maynard Webb’s Dear Founder is a different kind of startup story, told through the letters an active investor might share with a founder struggling, failing, persisting, and triumphing in their quest to build a sustainable business. It isn’t a retrospective history of the latest tech IPO, nor fawning Silicon Valley hero-worship—just candid, objective insight into the moments that can make or break a fledgling venture.

The letters are each written for moments ranging from the good (“When you have
Emanuel Vass
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
If you’re starting a company, own a company, or even work(!) for a company – it’s important not to make preventable mistakes. And that’s what Dear Founder is at its core: a way of avoiding potential catastrophes by addressing them, using the wisdom of one of the world’s greatest businessmen. Maynard teaches everything from how to begin a company, how to fund a company, who to hire, who to fire, how to deal with crises: how to promote, compensate, give feedback to, and lead your team: how to deal ...more
Feb 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
I gave this book 4 stars because it reaffirms what I already know about business. When you grew up in a household full of members who do business, it’s hard not to know about it. When you face challenges every day, you also learn every day.

The one star that I didn’t give to this book is because it offers no insight for more, and I’m sure it’s targeted readers want to know more than what they already do. And instead, we’re stuck with the same pieces of advice we already learned when we were teen
Wairimu Njoki
Jan 23, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Maynard covers every aspect of starting a company ; from conception of the idea, picking co-founders, hiring, fundraising, operational excellence, to scaling. The advise is in very brief letters but covers the topics quite broadly. While the focus of the book is more towards founders, this is very enlightening to people solely in leadership, especially if quite new to leadership. It not only guides you on the day to day mangement but gives perspective on company decisions and other stakeholders ...more
Matt Brown
Apr 18, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: business, leadership
As the intro of the book says 'this isn't intended to be read cover to cover but act as guide when you need it'. I read it cover to cover but would reccomend having it as a guide. Some of the topics are pretty superficial and would appreciate more cases, examples, rather than just a high level "you aren't in this alone". ...more
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is like a bible for founders. I love the way Maynard chose to structure the book into letters that convey a single message. It is very effective and easy to follow. A must read for any founder. I know I will be reading this book several times!
Alfredo Salkeld
Dec 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
It’s not the type of book you can read cover to cover, but I enjoyed skimming the well-organized table of contents in search of letters that apply to me. I read a dozen or so. Webb is the real deal. I borrowed this book from the library but may buy a copy to have on hand for reference.
Steven J.
This one covers some of the common considerarions and risks for creating a start-up. The topic is probably one that can be written aboout for a series of 10 books. This one is worth a look and read but is limited in scope in today's fast changing landscape. ...more
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Sound, practical advice from someone who has clearly had a broad range of experience in starting up and managing companies. Certainly applicable to start-up founders, but plenty of applicable advice for those leading teams and working in larger established companies as well.
Stephen Chan
Feb 03, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-books
Kosala Heengama
Dec 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book is great for a entrepreneur. It gives advise on mostly all aspects of business life cycle and provides insight on how to address challenges. You can also use some the topic to refer back.
Feb 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
Greg Kaplan
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I borrowed it from the library and will now buy it to keep as a reference. It’s written in simple nuggets (letters to founders) about each stage of growth.
Fatima-Zahra I’ltaf
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just wow 🤩
Sumeet Mahendra
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Some very valuable teachings. A sort of must read for every #Founder & #Entrepreneurs
Dennies Chung
Jun 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book was fantastic. I thought the author - Maynard Webb - had an interesting way of telling the story of his career and how he wanted to visualize his advice to the reader: in the form of letters! The content was easily digestible as the chapter (or letters) were an average of 5 pages each and no more than 20 pages. Innumerable pieces of wisdom from the former COO of eBay, CEO of LiveOps, and board member of Salesforce. I definitely thought that some letters could be consolidated into one s ...more
Jordan Owens
rated it liked it
Sep 20, 2019
Martijn Prinzen
rated it really liked it
Jan 19, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Sep 03, 2021
Muntaz K
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Oct 05, 2018
rudy azwan
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Mar 12, 2020
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