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Table of Contents

The Venture Café contains candid, practical information about how to build a successful high-tech company.

Chapter One, The Entrepreneurial Mind, contains anecdotes about how real, live entrepreneurs:

  • Identify new business opportunities
  • React to power outages
  • Decide whether they are serious
  • Come to terms with feelings of isolation
  • Commit themselves to starting their businesses, against all odds
  • Think about risk
  • Read this chapter

Chapter Two, Making the Decision to Go For It, explains how entrepreneurs:

  • Construct an entrepreneurial safety net
  • Line up support from family members
  • Practice working on the company, before they are fully committed
  • Decide who should be an official member of the founding team
  • Persuade potential business partners to join their ventures
  • Avoid being discouraged
  • Juggle family and business
  • Deal with personal bankruptcy

Chapter Three, Setting up Shop: Establishing Your Company's Image, contains anecdotes about:

  • Locating an appropriate first office
  • Presenting yourself in a professional manner
  • Deciding whether to join a business incubator
  • Getting people to call you back
  • Obtaining help from advisors
  • Setting up the internal corporate hierarchy
  • Deciding who gets the final say in an engineering process
  • Deciding what needs to happen, when

Chapter Four, Protecting Your Intellectual Property, contains anecdotes about:

  • Choosing a lawyer
  • Making the most of your legal connections
  • Reducing legal bills
  • Deciding whether to apply for a patent
  • Filing provisional patent applications
  • Classifying information as a trade secret
  • Talking about your idea, without giving too much away
  • Researching the competition
  • Figuring out who is trying to compete with you
  • Convincing journalists to pay attention to your company

Chapter Five, It's the People: How to Attract Dynamic Individuals to Your High-Tech Startup -- And Keep Them From Burning Out, contains anecdotes about:

  • Evaluating a candidate's attitude
  • Convincing technologists to work at your company, instead of the one down the block
  • Avoiding the bad apples
  • Evaluating a candidate's communications skills
  • Trusting your employees
  • Using innovative strategies to attract job applicants
  • Crashing career fairs
  • Using publicity to compete for candidates
  • Convincing headhunters to send you their best candidates
  • Workplace perks
  • What employees want
  • How to close on an employee
  • How to position your company as a place engineers want to be
  • What it's like to get burned-out

Chapter Six, What Venture Capitalists (VCs) Look For When They Evaluate New Proposals, contains advice about:

  • How rises and falls in the stock market affect investments in seed-stage companies
  • How to make contact with VCs
  • Why angel investors may be more appropriate
  • How a VC's money supply affects the negotiation process
  • How to tailor your sales pitch to the desires of an individual VC
  • What venture capitalists look for in an entrepreneur
  • How to decide which firm to approach
  • How to think like a venture capitalist
  • What investors try to avoid
  • How personal idiosyncracies affect the investment process
  • Why an entrepreneur shouldn't take it personally

Chapters Seven, Eight, and Nine provide an in-depth look at ArsDigita Corporation and the One Core Financial Network.

  • "Perseverence: The Story of One Core Financial Network" shows readers why it is important to be fully committed to one's company.
  • "Entrepreneur or Rock Star?" examines what it's like to run a new high-tech company when scores of VCs are scrambling to buy your stock.
  • "Paradise Lost" shows readers what it's like when your relationship with VCs goes awry.

Chapter Ten, Getting the People in Place: Executive Headhunters and the Right CEO, contains advice about:

  • Where to conduct interviews with prominent individuals
  • How professional headhunters begin their interviews
  • What professional headhunters think about during interviews
  • How professional headhunters evaluate candidates
  • How prominent individuals decide when to change jobs
  • What sorts of questions professional headhunters use to determine whether candidates are ready to change jobs
  • How to convince a CEO candidate that a particular company is right for her
  • How to get a CEO candidate to sign on the dotted line

Chapter Eleven, The Dark Corner, contains stories about:

  • What it's like to work at a company that is about to be shut down
  • What engineers learn from the experience of going through a corporate shut-down
  • Why it's important to think twice before taking on clients you have never met
  • Why stock vesting schedules are important for entrepreneurs
  • How unscrupulous business people can take advantage of naive technologists
  • Why it's important to put stock agreements in writing
  • What can happen when trust breaks down
  • Why some VCs insist on putting "weird" looking terms into a term sheet, and why this is okay
  • Why it's important to ask a trusted third party to examine term sheets
  • How entrepreneurs deal with being short of cash

Chapter Twelve, Entrepreneurs and the Media, contains ideas about:

  • What publicity can do for a new business
  • How to increase your chances of getting on the front page
  • Why journalists used to love the Internet
  • Why some journalists began to hate the Internet
  • Why the "dot-com downturn" received so much press
  • What causes journalists to like entrepreneurs
  • How to appear professional when dealing with journalists

Chapter Thirteen, Success, contains anecdotes about:

  • How entrepreneurs arrange their corporate buyouts
  • What it's like when your company gets acquired
  • What it's like when your company goes through an initial public offering
  • How liquidity events change the way employees feel about their jobs
  • How to protect yourself from an unexpected tax hangover
  • How entrepreneurs evaluate whether or not they have been successful
  • What motivates serial entrepreneurs
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