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The Ultralight Startup: Launching a Business Without Clout or Capital [Hardcover]

Jason L. Baptiste

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Book Description

April 17 2012

“When I was first starting out, I had to learn many things by trial and error, and I know I could have saved myself a lot of grief if someone had given me advice on what to do. I hope this book will help and inspire you to pursue your passion while avoiding some of the mistakes I made.”

It’s easier than ever before to launch a startup. But in a world where barriers to entry are virtually nonexistent and everyone wants to be the next Facebook, competition is fierce. If you’re just beginning and lack the money and clout to make an automatic splash, how do you differentiate yourself from all the rest?

Jason Baptiste knows firsthand what it takes. After launching his first company while still in college, he cofounded his current venture, Onswipe, in his early twenties, turning it into a multimillion-dollar company in less than a year. Now, drawing on his own experience as a bootstrapping but hungry entrepreneur, as well as on examples from today’s most famous companies, he guides would-be tech moguls through every stage of the process—from testing a concept to acquiring customers to determining the best pricing model—in a cheap, practical way. Among his strategies:

• Build the product you wish you had: Four­square founder Dennis Crowley created an early version of his product because he wanted to keep in touch with former colleagues.

• It doesn’t have to be sexy to make money: Dropbox took the world by storm by offering a great solution to a mundane problem—online storage.

 • Be bold when promoting yourself: Online payment service WePay capitalized on dissatis­faction with industry leader PayPal by dumping six hundred pounds of ice in front of a developer conference.

• Attract fans to attract customers: Budget tracking site created its initial user base by offering original and useful content about per­sonal finance.

Baptiste shows you don’t need an MBA, a trust fund, or even experience running your own com­pany to become a star in the tech world. The Ultralight Startup is a comprehensive, easy-to-follow guide that will prepare any entrepreneur to take his or her idea to the next level.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (April 17 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159184486X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591844860
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #190,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“Jason gives us a rare behind-the-scenes look at the modern startup.”
(-Seth Godin, author of We Are All Weird)

“How do you start something big when you have so little? Good news! It’s now possible to launch and grow a successful startup without having a rich uncle or celebrity connections. This book shows you how. Immensely useful reading for anyone starting something new.”

(-Dharmesh Shah, cofounder and CTO of Hubspot)

“Part handbook, part manifesto, The Ultralight Startup is an inspirational and indispensable tool for anyone interested in getting a business off the ground.”
(-James Marshall Reilly, author of Shake the World)

“If you want to be a tech star, you’ve found your field manual. Jason’s straightfor­ward business advice will make you money and save your sanity. The chapters on PR and fundraising alone are worth the investment.”

(-Josh Kaufman, author of The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business)

“In a world where raising venture capital seems like the default first step for Internet entrepreneurs, Jason does a fantastic job providing a detailed and cur­rent road map for how to get your company to the point where that is a realistic option. The challenges each startup faces are common at the earliest stage of a company and this book will enable entrepreneurs to skip some easy pitfalls and utilize tactics that will give your company a chance to break out.”

(-Dave Tisch, managing director of TechStars NYC)

“Jason captures what it really takes to build a world-changing startup from scratch. The Ultralight Startup is light on theory and heavy on practical nuts and bolts advice that you can implement today. This book will change the way you think about getting your company off the ground.”

(-David Cohen, CEO of TechStars)

“Jason packs an awesome amount of knowledge, experience, wisdom, and practical advice into this tour de force of a book about starting a tech company. If you are thinking about or in the early stages of starting your company, this is an absolute must read.”
(-Brad Feld, managing director of the Foundry Group)

About the Author

Jason L. Baptiste is the CEO and cofounder of Onswipe, a platform for tablet publishing and advertising and one of Time’s 10 Best Start-ups in 2011. Baptiste has been named to BusinessWeek’s Top 25 Under 25 entrepreneurs and Inc.’s 30 Under 30. He is also one of the stars of Bloomberg’s TechStars, a show that chronicled the first six months of Onswipe’s history in the TechStars program for young startups. In his spare time, Baptiste is an avid runner, blogger, and adviser to other startups. He is a graduate of the University of Miami and currently resides in New York City.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, actionable May 31 2012
By Shlok Vaidya - Published on
To be honest, I don't have a lot of love for OnSwipe, the company that the author is CEO of. In fairness though, Baptiste has built a company with a lot of traction, and, as it turns out, his book is actually pretty good.

First, there is little to no original material in this book. Rather, it is a good compilation of best practices. Perhaps the best way to describe it is that The Ultralight Startup provides the 100 ft view to the 20,000 ft view presented in The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products that Win and The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

So you'll get a lot of bullet points of, basically, how to take a business from zero to something. Basically checklists of content marketing, raising funding hiring, finding cofounders, ideating, building, hiring freelancers, a brief legal section. I say 100 ft view, and not 10 ft view, because Baptiste could have gone deeper on each subheading, but I get he wanted to present an overview, and in that, he succeeded.

It's quick. (I read the book in an hour or so.) And though I wouldn't try too hard to religiously stick to his roadmap, it does present a starting point, which is useful in its way.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great start Aug. 31 2012
By Michael J Harris - Published on
By no means is this a be-all/end-all startup guide, but it is a really great intro to the subject. Baptiste hits the key points on a bunch of different subjects, including:

Product development and minimum viable product
Product testing
Business organization
Finding a co-founder
Using freelancers and advisors
Securing financing
Creating buzz

Baptiste is refreshingly honest and to-the point in his approach. You'll find various examples in each chapter based on his experiences with his most recent startup, Onswipe.

As a guy who's getting ready to take the plunge from worker bee to entrepreneur, I found this to be exactly what I needed to bridge the gap between knowing little about things like the VC process and the more in-depth readings out there.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Intro Dec 30 2013
By Christian H - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's a well written book and has a few good points. Most of it is chronicling Baptiste's story of OnSwipe as he gives lessons learned from his experience. I was expecting a bit more theory and instruction rather than a story with a few tips. The tips that he does give are good, but could be gleaned from blogs and other sources (although the time investment to read it is only about an afternoon). My company is not in software or the typical "tech start-up" area, so what he had to say wasn't incredibly applicable. Perhaps the most useful thing I got from the book was on time management and how to divide the business operations and your focus as a founder.
If you want more applicability or help developing a system, then Ries' or Blanks' books would be more helpful. Their books aren't without their flaws either, but they draw from a wider body of experience, different companies and different industries to make their points, so analogous situations are easier to find. They also do a better job of systematizing the start-up process.
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm glad I read it. It's worth it July 10 2014
By Rafal - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm glad I read it. It's worth it
2.0 out of 5 stars Informative but very generic May 22 2014
By Ashish Punj - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not very impressed the way the narration is , it's sounds very cliche and I thought I would get more out it but didn't

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