The Startup Owner’s Manual

The Step-by-Step Guide for Building a Great Company

by Steve Blank , Bob Dorf

Number of pages: 608

Publisher: K & S Ranch

BBB Library: Entrepreneurship

ISBN: 9780984999309

About the Authors

Steve Blank : Blank is a driving force in innovation, helping to radically reshape


Bob Dorf : Dorf is a serial entrepreneur, founding his first success at age


Editorial Review

In the last quarter of the 20th century, startups thought they knew the correct path for the startup journey. They adopted a methodology for product development, launch, and life-cycle management almost identical to the processes taught in business schools for use in large companies. Yet at the end of the day, even with all these processes, the embarrassing fact is that in companies large and small, established corporate giants as well as new startups, more than nine of 10 new products fail. It’s true in every product category — high-tech or low, online or off, consumer or business — well-funded or not.   We now know what the problem is. Startups have been using tools appropriate for executing a known business. But startups are all about unknowns. To find the path to build a winning startup, entrepreneurs must try a new way

Book Reviews

"This is an excellent manual for building a successful startup. The step-by-step process outlined in the book is enhanced with just the right amount of explanation to show you not just the ‘what’ but also the ‘why’." - kevin kauzlaric

"For people about to begin their journey, it gives you a clear roadmap and practical advice for what you should be doing at each step of the way. " - Culttt

"The book has material for every type of entrepreneur and really tries hard to be a blueprint on how to build and scale a startup. It tries so hard that at the end it ultimately fails, and I'll describe my view in detail." - Vladimir Prelovac

"This book tell you how to do customer development via customer discovery and customer validation." - Trak.In

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Wisdom to Share

Winners combine agile engineering and Customer Development to iteratively build, test and search for a business model, turning unknowns into knowns.

Losers blindly execute a rigid product management and introduction methodology. They assume that the founder’s vision drives the business strategy and product development plans and that all they need to do is to raise funds for execution.

Customer discovery translates a founder’s vision for the company into hypotheses about each component of the business model and creates a set of experiments to test each hypothesis.

Customer discovery includes two outside-the-building phases. The first tests customer perception of the problem and the customer’s need to solve it. The second phase shows customers the product for the first time, assuring that the product solves the problem or fills the need well enough to persuade lots of customers to buy.

Customer creation builds on the company’s initial sales success. It’s where the company steps on the gas, spending large sums to scale by creating end-user demand and driving it into the sales channel.

“Graduation day” arrives when the startup finds a scalable, repeatable business model. At this point it’s fundamentally no longer the temporary search-oriented organization known as a startup—it’s a company!

Customer discovery had you get out of the building twice, first to understand customers’ problems and how they work, and second to determine how well the new product solves that problem.

The first two steps of Customer Development are where entrepreneurs live or die in the search for a repeatable and scalable business model.

When a company has successfully exited Customer Validation, there’s a library full of business-building texts available to help execute the business model.

Whatever you do next, the successful completion of Customer Validation is a momentous step in the life of your startup. You have completed an arduous, challenging journey.