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Start Small, Stay Small: A Developer's Guide to Launching a Startup
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Start Small, Stay Small: A Developer's Guide to Launching a Startup

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,811 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Start Small, Stay Small is a step-by-step guide to launching a self-funded startup. If you're a desktop, mobile or web developer, this book is your blueprint to getting your startup off the ground with no outside investment.

This book intentionally avoids topics restricted to venture-backed startups such as: honing your investment pitch, securing funding, and figuring out h
Kindle Edition, 214 pages
Published (first published June 8th 2010)
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Mike Sorry for the late answer, but I thought I'd say I actually have this book in print - ordered it from Amazon.…moreSorry for the late answer, but I thought I'd say I actually have this book in print - ordered it from Amazon.(less)

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Shawn Grimes
Feb 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
As a developer, I'm not necessarily looking to start a business that makes millions of dollars. I'm just looking to start/run a business that lets me work my own hours and live a comfortable life. This book provides some solid advice on starting and running a business by yourself or with a single partner. I think it takes what is practical from "The 4 Hour Work Week" and applies it to starting a small service or product oriented business.

I saw a lot of value from the book on things such as mail
Matic Jurglič
May 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Only after buying this book based on recommendations from the Internet I realized this book is 10 years old. This by itself shouldn't be an issue, but the author made an unfortunate decision to write extensively about things that are not perennial. So after reading for a while about software tools and practices that are now dead or outdated, describing the limitations of an iPhone 3G, etc, I decided to stop and return the book. ...more
Stefan-Iulian Tesoi
Feb 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
The title is highly inaccurate, it should rather be along these lines to reflect the book's content: A Micropreneur's Guide to Launching a Microbusiness.
The author is also selling his Micropreneur Academy side business which is a - paid online learning
environment and community website for startup founders. Probably, or probably not, there is better content at the 'Academy' than in this book.

Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
Start Small, Stay Small: A Developer's Guide to Launching a Startup by Rob Wailing is a very opinionated book on entrepreneurship dedicated to developers.

While usually "opinionated" might conjure up bad connotations, I appreciated the author's honesty and vision - he doesn't try to sell a surefire way to get to a one million dollars or other get rich schemes. The book sets forward a very modest and laser focused goal: launching a small self-funded startup that tries to target a niche market and
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Start Small, Stay Small : A Developer's Guide to Launching a Startup (2010) by Rob Walling is a really interesting book for any developers who are looking at trying to build a side hustle using their development skills. 

The book isn't about founding a VC funded rapidly growing unicorn. Instead Walling concentrates on trying to start businesses that can make a few thousand per month. Walling has also managed to do this himself numerous times. 

The book is packed with advice on how to find a market
Börkur Sigurbjörnsson
This book is a decent read for any developer thinking of taking their coding project to a business. The content may be a bit dated and the author's voice has a hint of arrogance. However, it has good and practical tips for developers on the importance of not underestimating the role of market research and marketing when trying to monetize a software project. ...more
Jesse Buss
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Good book, but a lot of the resources are dated.
Jimmy Longley
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: textbooks
Reviewed as part of my 100 books challenge:

Run-on Sentence Summary
A short, no-nonsense guide to starting a small niche business online that clearly comes from experience.

A really great set of practical advice that I think will really help me when I decide to explore this area. Its main ideas are about finding and evaluating a market, creating a sales funnel, and outsourcing easy tasks to cheap virtual assistants.

Final Thoughts
It’s a bit prosaic, but
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, business
Very pragmatic and straight-to-the-point guide to starting a small software business. The author understands software developers and identifies common pitfalls to avoid. The book is not a comprehensive reference on small businesses, it's very focused on the issues that a single-developer non-VC startup will face. ...more
Nov 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Clearly distilled from years of experience, the content is excellent. The prose isn't the most beautiful or polished, but that's not why someone would pick this up anyways. If you're interested building software that actually makes money, this book is a great starting point. ...more
Lori Grant
A should-read book on startups for knowledge workers and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Good, but advice is a little dated these days.

I wish there was more context/advice into the business and mindset of micropreneurship.
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Maybe 5 years ago all of these things were useful. Today they are outdated and the entire document shows its age.
Feb 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, biz-entr
By now this is a fairly old book, originally published in 2010. Many of the concrete suggestions may be out of date. Many of the links to the websites mentioned are broken, that is if they still exist on the web.

Yet, I still found the reading enjoyable and useful. With their skill sets and penchant for creativity, many developers do think about running the shows of their own, but actually running a business requires a mindset as well as a skill set that is quite different from what they already
Milan Berens
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a great book - for 2010 when it was published. It’s still a useful book for 2020.

For startup founders, it gives an alternative option of chasing unicorns. The default mythology of how startups should operate. Instead, this offers a more realistic, and founder sane, approach to creating a software business.

It makes starting a startup easier. Less overthinking. Just do it. And if it succeeds, there’s always the option to pivot towards a unicorn.

The overall structure of the book works wel
Louis Blackburn
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great practical advice

This book is a little dated, being over 10 years old is it hard at times to determine to what extent the advice still holds true in today's tech environment. My research around the topic from other sites and podcasts seems to corroborate the core lessons from the book. For me the tske home message is really focus on the marketablibity and reach of your product. Without that, everything else is meaningless. Whilst modern day seo techiniques and tools may have changed with th
Josh Houghtelin
Mar 19, 2020 rated it liked it
It's a quick read with some very direct advice. Find a niche market, setup some marketing to test if it's valid, build the product and launch it. This specifically focuses on super tiny markets where you can generate $500 - $2,000 profit/month. Once you secure one, then do it again and run them in parallel. The book is a bit dates so the references are definitely a decade old but never the less, it's still all very valid info.

Finally, it's not really focused toward developers. Any tech savvy in
Miguel David
May 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was between a 3 star and 4 star rating. The reason for the 4 star is the content of the evergreen ideas. Unfortunately, between 2009/2010 and now (2020) we’ve seen massive changes in the software world and the quest of the author to give specific pointers and URLs makes the book feel very dated.
The base ideas are good, useful and applicable, but I wish the book would stop selling or be updated to recent knowledge.
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting book. I have mixed feelings as it's a mix of full-on tech startup and "freedom business", taking elements of both. It presents the dynamics of starting a business, evaluating niches and need, and more, and does it well. I don't agree the branding, especially as a "startup book", but good enough book. ...more
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Effective and practical advice. Some bits seem dated already, unsurprising given how quickly the online business environment evolves over time, and I felt like sections could have been even more edited down/to the point. However overall, a good overview and as someone new to the field of indie digital start-ups I felt that there was a lot of useful info I could take away from it.
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rich in important content

Up to date, fresh book about earning money. Content is rich and explains a lot of topics very well at least to start. I've read 5 different books on start ups and bootstrapping and this one is definitely the best. Will come back to its content often for sure
Sep 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
The book contains some of the guiding principles if you are developer and want to start a small business. There is some sound advice in the chapters. At times the author is repeating himself and also some of the information is outdated. The good thing is that the book covers the major parts of the process and outlines the things that the potential micropreneur should be thinking about.
Hossam Mourad
Apr 25, 2020 rated it did not like it
I don't recommend reading this book.

The book feels like a bunch of blog posts stitched together, some of the information are obsolete in 2020, the title is misleading because the content is not targeted to developers at all. Any developer with 2 years of experience already know most of the information in the book.
Bruno Soares
Feb 20, 2020 rated it liked it
The book is around 10 years old and a lot of content is (almost to a funny level) not applicable anymore. Nevertheless, a fair amount of content is as applicable today as it was when this book was written so there’s still some valuable learnings to take from it.
Oct 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Indeed, it's a developer's guide. It's short and sticks to the point. Well, sometimes you read it as a history book. Cannot say that it's completely obsolete though as it still contains some useful information. ...more
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017_read
Actionable in hard soft skills i.e idea, pricing, etc.
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent alternative to many of the startup methodologies out there (Blank, Ries, etc).
Dated, but still good, and valid!
Milan Zivkovic
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book

This book is must read for any developer, but not only developers, who wish to start small software business and stay free from 9-5 work...
James Holdren
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great advice for getting from technician level to manager and eventually entrepreneur. Also great for those who want to start a business but don't want to buy into the VC backed methodology. ...more
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: to-read-soon
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