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4.4 out of 5 stars
Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure
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on April 11, 1998
Startup detailed the life of a technical venture from birth to death in a fast-moving and entertaining style. Kaplan does a great job of explaining what it was like to be there and what obstacles they faced in their journey to bring the first pen based computers to market. Kaplan gives an appropriate level of detail when descibing situations without being 'dry'. While another reader didn't like this book because of the superfluous descriptions, I thought this made the book even better -- it gave me a *feeling* of what it would have been like to be there in person. I missed many "bedtimes" when reading this book and I highly recommend it if you're interested in business stories, start-ups, or technology stories.
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on July 28, 1997
Kaplan's brief book about a massive failure is a quick read. His suave writing allows him to portray his competitors as evil barons -- I pitied him many times throughout the book. Yet he does not pity himself, which is important, or this type of book could turn into a personal sob story. Perhaps most importantly, Kaplan demonstrates through his mistakes that a customer segment must be defined before a product is built. GO never clearly targeted its customer base and thus never had one. I am personally happy to see that Kaplan's new company, Onsale.com, which hosts auctions online, is doing much better. If you're low on time, low on sleep, and need an exciting business book to read, this is the one
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on April 28, 1998
Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure is a must read for anyone interested in starting up their own technology company or anyone interested in how Microsoft, IBM, AT&T and Apple operate and how much power they can wield to help, steal or destroy new technologies. Kaplan takes you through from the inception of the hand-held pen computer idea to the completion of a workable product and all the trials and tribulations in between. You get an insider's look into running a startup as Kaplan deals with venture capitalists, customers, employees, product development and meeting schedules. A very easy reading book! A definite MUST READ - I highly recommend it!!
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on March 28, 2000
This is an excellent case study of the hurdles a high-tech entrepreneur must jump. It provides a great insight to challenges entrepreneurs will face growing a business. It is a real eye opener for anyone think about starting a technology-based business.
It also is a case study for investors to see what is really happening behind a start-up's doors during a funding round.
Lasty, this book is not only educational but it makes entertaining ficton-like reading. Since the book was writen recently, there are many familiar people, companies, and events that bring this story to real life.
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on December 18, 1997
I have to agree with Mark Rushton's review below...this is a story well worth reading but one that is written with the literary skill of a dime store novelist. Kaplan can't seem to decide whether he's writing a history book or a novel, and as a result the writing gets in the way of the story a lot of the time. Nevertheless, it's still an interesting story and one worth reading. I read it at the same time as "Apple: The Inside Story" and "Accidental Empires" and the three overlapped and complemented each other nicely. (Accidental Empires is by far the most well-written.)
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on April 9, 1998
Mr. Kaplan has produced an honest chronicle of the twisted and senseless events leading towards the demise of a truly original company. This book has confirmed my doubts about the tidy and shiny exterior many high tech companies show publicly. These companies extoil their virtues, telling us how much they are helping us as a society. Underneath that shiny exterior the driving forces are the greed and the megalomaniacal tendencies the men who lead them, no different from the robber barons of 150 years ago. The writing style can be tiresome, but overall it is a very good book.
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on September 22, 2000
This book provides value in a number of ways.
First, the reader is given a detailed review of the growth of a start-up. One feels the struggles and victories of the organization. Second, the speed of change in the technology industry is clearly communicated--not an easy thing to do in a book. Finally, the author provides an excellent overview of the frustrations of raising capital. For anyone involved in a small organization with aspirations of an IPO--this is a must read.

Unfortunately, this book is hard to find. LOOK, it is worth the effort.
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on September 25, 1998
I bought the book amidst lot of hype from my friends and relatives who have read this book. I didn't find it so exciting as to place it on the top shelf. This book definitely gives a very close encounter with the 'happenings in a corporation's entire life' in silicon valley. Some useful insights into how the industry works, which include dealings with Apple, IBM, AT&T, Microsoft are captured very well. Slightly boring in parts. And a completely one-sided view of the world, obviously.
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on June 20, 2001
This is a pretty good read by an exceedingly arrogant businessman who seems more often than not to forget that he failed and, moreover, is clueless why. His knowledge of business is about 50th percentile. His knowledge of government is at best 10th. Lots of 50thth percentile businesspeople make it. If you're naive about government - as Mr Kaplan surely was - about the best you can do is whine about that mean old Bill Gates while your company goes belly up. Read it and weep -- or laugh.
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on June 17, 1997
This book provides value in a number of ways.
First, the reader is given a detailed review of the growth of a start-up. One feels the struggles and victories of the organization. Second, the speed of change in the technology industry is clearly communicated--not an easy thing to do in a book. Finally, the author provides an excellent overview of the frustrations of raising capital. For anyone involved in a small organization with aspirations of an IPO--this is a must read
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