A Good Hard Kick in the Ass: Basic Training for Entrepreneurs

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9780609609507: A Good Hard Kick in the Ass: Basic Training for Entrepreneurs

Every day, Rob Adams helps entrepreneurs find true markets for their products, design solid business models, and hire great teams—because that’s what it takes to build a successful company. While this sounds self-evident, far too many entrepreneurs have forgotten these fundamentals. They’ve been influenced by what Adams calls “business porn,” myths lingering like a bad hangover from the easy success days of the late ’90s. These entrepreneurs believe a unique idea is the key to igniting a great business. They think their industry experience already makes them experts on customer needs. They have simplistic, self-defeating illusions about sales, marketing, financing, and more.

They say things like “I have a million-dollar business idea for a new product.” Wake up, says Adams: Good ideas are not scarce—they’re a dime a dozen. Businesses are successful not because of a unique idea but because of extraordinary execution. They offer a better, faster, or cheaper product or service, or they change the way the world solves a problem.

In short, these entrepreneurs need just what Adams doses out in the pages of this book: a good hard kick in the ass. Adams debunks the myths and smashes the illusions—and he knows what he’s talking about, because he stands at the hub of many new startups. His firm, AV Labs, provides entrepreneurs with early financing as well as the management expertise they need to get off the ground.

A Good Hard Kick in the Ass offers detailed, hard-hitting guidance for smart, sophisticated entrepreneurs and established businesspeople alike—along with vivid, in-depth examples of companies that are walking the walk right now. Adams’s straightforward, no-nonsense approach is just what’s needed in the post-bubble economy.

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Review:

Rob Adams--an ex-Marine and former technology executive who now runs an "accelerator venture fund" that works like an entrepreneurial boot camp--offers A Good Hard Kick in the Ass to wake up and shake up today's would-be business owner. The era when virtually any wannabe could turn an intriguing idea and slick presentation into a hefty bankroll is long past, of course. Adams believes the current environment calls instead for a return to elementary but oft-ignored rules expressed here through blunt admonitions (good ideas are a dime a dozen, you don't know your customers as well as you think you do, you don't need big bucks right out of the gate) meant to counter the "startup myths and misconceptions" many hopefuls still harbor. Each chapter breaks down one delusion-busting assertion into specific suggestions (assemble a team with solid "execution intelligence," validate the market, forge a strategy for getting out there quickly) and is fleshed out with the real-life experiences of both big-name techno-ventures and some of the embryonic participants in Adams's AV Labs. Any time you step up to the plate to start a company, you take a chance on striking out, he says, but following these steps should at least get you into the game. --Howard Rothman

From the Back Cover:

“Adams strips the facade off the star-struck ’90s. This tell-it-like-it-is guidebook contrasts business fundamentals with the get-rich-quick frenzy that hypnotized so many would-be entrepreneurs. A must read for every potential entrepreneur!”
—Mike Turner, founder and CEO, Waveset Technologies, Inc.

“This book encapsulates everything I wish I’d known the first time I ventured into entrepreneurial territory. It really nails the issues you need to focus on as you build a company from the garage to a prominent position in the global marketplace.”
—Jimmy Treybig, founder and former president and CEO, Tandem Corporation

“The fundamentals Adams covers in this book are the tenets all companies should be built on—startups and Fortune-class companies alike. Now that we’re out of the days where companies were valued as a multiple of expenses and anything that used the Internet was funded, A Good Hard Kick in the Ass should be memorized by everyone in business.”
—Shelby H. Carter, Jr., venture capitalist, cofounder of SynOptics and Vital-Signs, and former vice president of Xerox Corp.

“Like a great coach, Adams focuses on the basic skills that winners execute with passion and losers ignore at their own peril.”
—Bruce Roberson, director, McKinsey & Company

“Entrepreneurial eagerness, energy, and effort do not always lead to success. Rob Adams’s book imparts a great deal of wisdom that can help aspiring entrepreneurs avoid the myriad woes that plague some of the most recent ventures. I recommend the book for anyone willing to take a hard look at what it really takes to be successful in the world of startups.”
—William A. Sahlman, cochair, Entrepreneurship and Service Management Unit, Harvard Business School

A Good Hard Kick in the Ass belongs on everybody’s business bookshelf. Whether yours is a tech company, a big-company spinout, or a small local endeavor, you need Rob’s straight-shooting, practical advice about what really matters—and why your entrepreneurial instincts probably need adjusting.”
—Gerald Taylor, former president and CEO, MCI

“After being a high-tech entrepreneur for the past few years, I thought I knew it all. Rob’s book taught me that you never stop learning—you can always pick up something new from others’ experience. Not only is this book fun to read, it also imparts some real gems of knowledge.”
—Glyn Meek, founder and CEO, Triactive

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