Jul 21 2004

Young Jackasses of the Post-New Economy

That got your attention, huh? There it is – on page 233 – as our intrepid authors speculate on the title of their upcoming Inc. Magazine interview (which was – thankfully titled – An American Start-Up – subtitled “We’re motivated, passionate, excited, terrified, and, at many times, have absolutely no idea what we’re doing.”)

When I was starting my first company, I read all kinds of books from entrepreneurs and founders of companies that “seemed successful.” Many of these were autobiographical, self-promoting drivel. I eventually gave up and rarely read these today.

Matt Blumberg’s review turned me on to this one. The MouseDriver Chronicles is a great story, well written, fast paced, and has a very “blog-like we’ll share everything” feel. The authors – who co-founded a business to create a mouse that looks like a golf driver immediately upon graduating from Wharton Business School – tell all. They spare no one, least of all themselves.

Since the business was started in 1999, they spend a lot of time reflecting on how their buddies are doing in the dotcom explosion while they toil away in obscurity at a markedly low tech business. A chapter aptly titled Schadenfreude near the end of the book allows our fearless entrepreneurs a small measure of satisfaction to have created a successful, albeit modest, business in the midst of what became the dotcom implosion.

This is a must read for any entrepreneur – first time or otherwise. Their stories are great and their lessons are clear. For example, the chapter titled Darkness, Darkness, Darkness, Darkness is about – well – when everything completely goes to shit early in the life of the business. It’s an experience that any entrepreneur that has survived the creation of a company will recall clearly (possibly with glee that it’s in the rearview mirror, it’s happened a bunch of times since, and Mr. Entrepreneur has survived). Out of this, our fearless leaders realize that Making and Selling – that’s all any business is, really, from Boeing to the corner lemonade stand. The rest is dreaming, description, and distraction.”

Great stuff. I wish there were more books in the world like this one.