Startup Book Review

When I started my business, I had no idea what I was doing and I spent a lot of time in the library reading books and listening to audio books whenever I was trapped in a car.

I’ve put together a list of 15 of my favorite books for entrepreneurs.

Fifteen books to start your business journey
  • The first four are foundational
    • The Lean Startup – Eric Ries talkes about the idea of staying lean and rapid itteration. Learn from the market and getting aligned with Product Market Fit.
    • The Hard Things About Hard Things – quick read to anchor yourself hard lessons to know as a CEO. It preps you for the difficult journey, the struggle and what’s ahead – a great book to re-read on occasion takes you on a journey through running and growing a company.
    • Start with WHY – a fantastic book. Simon also has a great TED talk on this if you want to get a taste of what the books about. I only wish I had learned this concept earlier in my own career.
    • The Innovators Dilemma – looks at how new technology can disrupt organizations and the how sometimes adopting a new technology doesn’t always work.
  • Second bucket is once you’ve gotten started
    • The Innovators Dilemma – looks at how new technology can disrupt organizations and the how sometimes adopting a new technology doesn’t always work.
    • Crossing the chasm addresses the concept of early adopters / late adopters and how companies transition from stage to stage.
    • How to Win Friends and Infuence People – While this isn’t a business book per-say it’s a fantastic book on people, relationships and how to work with people as a whole.
    • Screw business as usual by Richard Branson. Richard is so unconventional in terms of his approach to both business and life. I think it’s great to understand his perspective and how you can apply his way of thinking to your own world view.
  • The next two books are about metrics and keeping track of your business as it grows.
    • The effective executive – This book introduces the idea of wildly important goals and how you can apply those goals as a focus area of your business.
    • Measure what Matters – This book focuses on the concept of OKR’s. (Objectives and Key Results) as another way to track what’s important and keep focus on it.
  • The next set of five books. Is on operations and more specifically the people aspects of running a business:
    • Work Rules is an inside look at the benefits and thought process of retaining and attracting talent at Google
    • Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh a fundamental book on company values and how Tony built Zappos to be a customer centric organization.
    • The Power of Moments – helps you think about how to make your interactions with employees / customers memorable. Rather than focusing on constant progress this book reminds you to focus on those key moments in your growth and progress.
    • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni tells a fable about team disfunction. It’s a very short read but has some great fundamentals on phycology, commitment and team motivation and addressing organizational dysfunction.
  • The last two books are on negotiation and marketing
    • Never split the difference is a great book on negotiation and how to apply negotiation techniques to various aspects of your business.
    • Influence – the Phycology of Persuasion. This deals with a lot of core concepts around scarcity/urgency/consistency/reciprocation. Many of these concepts are simple but understanding them help you understand the fuller picture of marketing your business.



I wanted to try something different so rather than a typical post, I’m instead going to try to connect! So, Hi! I hope you’re well. I’ve been mentoring more startups through a number of formal programs. I’m now a mentor in residence at TechStars and I’m also mentoring a class at Harvard Business School and NYU. So far so good!

How about this election?  Right? I recently dug into the math behind Ranked Choice Voting a new way to elect politicians.  It’s starting to catch on and I’m hoping we run more elections using it. Sadly MA voted against it this year but I’m hoping more states and cities start to adopt it.  

My GPT3 video continued to be really popular so I made a follow-up video on how to get started with GPT2. It’s surprisingly easy and I had a lot of fun learning Google Colab.  GPT3 still has a very long waiting list and I still don’t have access, even after months of waiting. Anyone? Anyone? Who’s got the connection to OpenAI?

I was getting upset about the rantings of GaryVee so I made a video about how it’s not about startup hustle but rather the vector of the direction that you’re going.  Too many startups think it’s about working hard and while, YES you have to work hard… The truth is that it’s far more important that you’re heading in the right direction and you know why you’re going there.

One of the biggest challenges that a number of companies have is selling expensive items. I see this across the companies that I mentor so I made a video on how I sell SaaS products using a technique called BANT

And lastly… I wanted to dig into startup failure, not just startup success so I took a deeper dive into how Quibi managed to raise close to 2 Billion and managed to lose it all. 

Oh. One more thing… I’m starting to play more with Discord. It’s a tool somewhat like Slack but much more open to communities. If you’re interested in joining the HalfIdeas Discord, you can join it here. I may make a video on how it compares with Slack and Teams in the future but that’s for a later date.


Tesla MCU Upgrade

Tesla is unique because they are both a hardware company and a software company. The main brain of the Tesla car is it’s MCU or media control unit. Up until 2018, the MCU of the Teslas was an NVidea Tegra 3 chipset. In that year Tesla moved to an Intel Chipset and when it did that the new Tesla Model 3 software got a lot faster.

Unfortunately for people who had the older computer the software started to fall behind. Unlike an iPhone that perhaps is easy to upgrade every 2-5 years, it’s much more expensive and complex to upgrade a car. Luckily Tesla recently released a hardware upgrade that essentially replaces the main computer of the Tesla.

Take a look as we upgrade the main brain of a Model S with a new MCU and the Full-Self-Driving computer, the FSD.


Tesla after two year

After driving an EV for two years there are a number of key takeaways:

  1. Electric car charging infrastructure is getting really good
  2. The range is improving and should serve most people’s daily/yearly needs
  3. Price is coming down and the money saved on maintenance and fuel adds up
  4. Tesla is more of a software company and that sets it apart, they sell a computer/gaming console on wheels
  5. It’s hard to find a better value for FUN in a car