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Trajectory: Startup: Ideation to Product/Market Fit

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People often spend years on working on startup ideas that fail—and they could have known long before, had they asked the hard questions earlier. Five-time tech founder Dave Parker has been there, and in Trajectory: Startup he offers a path to get you from ideation to launch and revenue in just six months.

With a track record of starting companies from scratch, raising both angel and venture capital, and participating in eight exits as founder, operator, and board member, Parker's experience is practical and actionable. Having sold three of his own startups and closed two, Parker learned just as much from his failures as from his successes, and he brings this wit and wisdom into his writing in a transparent way. Parker shares advice on:

● What makes a good idea that makes money

● Recruiting and working with cofounders

● Asking customers what product they want (customer development)

● How to build a tech product even as a non-tech founder

● How to get out of your head, ship a product, and make your first sale

Trajectory: Startup removes the mystery from the startup process and outlines a roadmap of tasks and timeframes, with monthly milestones and resources. This pre-accelerator program will help you get the momentum you need. Skip the Executive MBA and go make money! This guide makes starting a company accessible to a broad range of founders, investors, and employees who have the spark of innovation and drive to follow their dreams.

272 pages, Hardcover

Published March 30, 2021

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Dave Parker

20 books3 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews
Profile Image for Kelsye Nelson.
Author 6 books1,981 followers
June 2, 2021
One of the most helpful sections is the chapter that details 14 different revenue models. These examples sparked an entirely new revenue stream for my biotech company. Plus, the book made it easy to illustrate to my scientific and academic-minded co-founders the importance of customer discovery interviews to define our value proposition.

Straight forward, clear guidance for crafting a business that actually makes money. High-level expertise delivered in easy to understand instructions. Excellent advice for non-tech founders working in tech startups. I HUGELY appreciate Dave Parker's openness to share personal business failures right along with success stories.
April 8, 2021
Trajectory: Startup Ideation to Product/Market Fit is definitely must read that I would recommend to any startup founders. This book is extremely easy and fun to read and distills a lot of practical advise in a wide range of disciplines for startups that really resonated with me. It outlines everything that we need to know/do from ideation, to finding a product market fit, developing a well thought out business models, having awkward conversation with cofounders, fund raising speech, etc. It provides a concise roadmap leading for success, and how to avoid pit falls in a kind and direct way. If I were to pick one book to recommend for startup founders, this will be my first and only choice.
Profile Image for Darya.
550 reviews12 followers
March 7, 2021
This book is an interesting story of Startup Weekend that is part of Techstars. I have been a mentor at startup weekends and that's a fantastic learning curve for anyone looking to start a business. This is a condensed and very focused simulation of a real life of an entrepreneur. The same is this book that will guide you through a quick course of entrepreneurship academy.
Profile Image for Boni Aditya.
313 reviews885 followers
March 20, 2022
This is a reference book for founders.

A very well written and well rounded book.

There are some very important things in the book that you can find, for example, the author talks about PRODUCTIFYING A SERVICE as a new model, and give moz as a example of one such company that pulled it off.

The author also talks about TAM SAM SOM LAM - Which are unique.

I just loved reading the book, because it makes perfect sense and it clearly offers a roadmap/trajectory to lead a startup. I am impressed.

Here is a list of books that the author recommends.

Measure what matters - John doerr okr

Start with why - Simon sinek



Growth hacking - Shaun Ellis

Innovators dilemma

The lean startup

The startup owners manual

The step by step guide for building a great company.

Talking to humans - customer development

The founders dilemma

Creative confidence

A curious mind

Made to stick


Thinker toys

Creativity inc

The industries of the future

The third wave

Shark tank vs product line? More mature version

Building a story brand by  Miller

Smart goals

Things to do framework

Shaun Ellis test

The social network movie

Zero to one

Play bigger

The innovators dilemma

Innovators solution

Innovators DNA

Blue ocean strategy

Business model generation

Crossing the chasm


Only the paranoid survive

Bill gross Ted talk - timing

Four steps to the epiphany

Thunder lizard video

Slicing pie book and website

Growth hacking - traction book


Brand fields venture deals

Scott Cooper's secrets of sand hill road

Berkers method of start up valuation

Comparable method

Discounted cash flow

Venture capital method

Productisation of a service


Startup communities

Lost and founder
August 4, 2021

Very interesting for a tech founder who's not experienced with all the vc jargon. Pretty helpful in that regard. I will go back to some useful sections for reference in the future.
May 7, 2023
After reading a lot of books on startups, including Four steps to the epiphany, the Lean Startup books, Business Model Generation, Crossing the chasm, and a bunch of others, this one came at just the right moment for me, while we are in the early steps of product/market fit research for my new project.

Why did it feel right ? Because it feels more directly useful, replete with concrete findings, some hard figures, and with the author's own admission that some things his research brought forced him to change some views (e.g. the unexpected strength of combination business models).

And at the same time, it seems less formulaic and prescriptive than say, The Startup owner's manual. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Tauri Laane.
379 reviews88 followers
June 22, 2023
Maybe it’s because I have read sooo many Startup books in the last 2 years, but this book did not offer much new information. But yes it is a nice summary. At 3h37m he started to go over the list of how angels/VCs value your company in a lengthy easy-to-understand rating system that I should definitely revisit to listen when looking for them. But on the other hand me as a solo founder (on purpose) I don’t agree that this is the worst position as the author claims. I would even say that a solo founder who has the ability to surround themselves with a great team WITHOUT giving away part of the company or vesting policy is even better than a group of founders.
Profile Image for Pete.
136 reviews
November 25, 2021
Consistent, thoughtful and therefore fabulous

An easy book to recommend. Why? Well, the book provides a thoughtful and consistent approach to considering and executing the process of researching, building and operating a startup business. It is approachable and a very easy read. In summary - highly recommended.
Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews

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