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Hardcover My Start-Up Life: What a (Very) Young CEO Learned on His Journey Through Silicon Valley Book

ISBN: 0787996130

ISBN13: 9780787996130

My Start-Up Life: What a (Very) Young CEO Learned on His Journey Through Silicon Valley

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good*

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Book Overview

Ben Casnocha discovered he was entrepreneur at age 12 and hasn't slowed down since. In this remarkably instructive book, Ben dissects the entrepreneurship "gene," explaining that everyone has inherited it if they have an idea to make the world a better place. In Casnocha's case, he found a better way for city governments to communicate with constituents on the Web. Six years later, Comcate has dozens of municipal clients, a growing staff, and a record...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Frontline entrepreneurship

A captivating read and a candid story of Ben's startup experience with Comcate. If you thought your young age and `lack of business acumen and experience' was working against you, think twice after learning how Ben handled his business pitches at the ripe business age of fourteen. The story comes to life on every page and offers countless advice - I couldn't help it, I read it in one sitting. A must read for any entrepreneur, both seasoned and new to the game.

Life on the Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster

Ben Casnocha's book is a disarming tale of a startup told by an young entrepreneur who, instead of trumpeting his tale as a tribute to his own genius, shares the real inside story, a roller coaster of a journey. Ben's story shows the value of being humble enough to ask questions when you don't understand and being determined enough to put one foot in front of the other and build a real business. I especially appreciate the way Ben portrays the crucial role of mentors in his successful business. In addition, Ben clearly understands one thing that often evades entrepreneurs (young and old) : the value proposition of a business must be defined from the customer's point of view. And Ben's story does hinge on what I call the twin devils that plague all entrepreneurs: cash flow and people issues. The book has interesting discussions of many practical issues, including how to: teach yourself about finance and accounting, build a board, ask the right questions in a sales pitch, find the right kind of money, pay close attention to detail when presenting, and move a product from small scale to large scale. It would be tempting to focus on Ben's age (indeed, he is a whiz-kid in every sense of the word), but I think the real value of the story is that it has so much in common with entrepreneurs of all ages. Ben struggled to be a "normal high school kid" in the same way I see many talented entrepreneurs struggle to reconcile their own highly empowered view of life with others who are on more passive tracks. Most of Ben's mistakes are not a function of being young, but a function of being human and therefore fallible at times. His successes are equally disconnected from age and result from an unyielding personal commitment to his passion to make his business work and the desire to hear "yes" instead of "no" from the Universe. Probably the most compelling part of Ben's story is his description of the product development process. What Ben calls the "long hard slog" is the process of taking Comcate from a piece of software initially created from a an simple sketch sent by a teen-aged American to a young programmer working overseas to a consistent product, designed for scale and focused on "good revenue" (money coming from product features that don't require extensive support). The slog is where Ben seems to have learned the critical life lessons that will surely help himpursue his entrepreneurial vision. Ben's book does have two specific messages that I think are extremely important to high school and college audiences. One of them is to manage your "personal brand." In this You-tube, MySpace, facebook world, young people tend to forget that future recruiters and investors will quickly find the footprints students are leaving in the digital world right now. I would love to see more high-schoolers and college students resist the urge to share their most intimate moments with the rest of the world in the nam

Casnocha is wiser than most people three times his age

Casnocha is wiser than most people who are three times his age. My Start-up Life is the best gift you can buy your teenage son or daughter ... it will give them confidence in their own abilities and courage to take on new challenges. But you might want to buy two copies as you'll find yourself getting just as much out of it. Ben's crisp writing and interesting anecdotes gave me and sense of adventure and fun while learning a great deal about business. It is Harry Potter meets Good to Great.

A must have for anyone aspiring to walk the unbeaten path.

Bold, insightful, and clearly from the heart, Ben Casnocha's story is the manual for young people looking to join the adult world on their own terms. Throughout his book, Casnocha cleverly intertwines fundamental life lessons with genuine first-hand anecdotes. The result is a unique and astoundingly refreshing story that I urge everyone, young and old, to have on the top of their list for summer reading.

Great lessens for entrepreneurs young and old alike

My Start-up Life is a rare 'business book' that is both entertaining as well as educational. Ben Casnocha, through the tale of his founding a technology company while in high school, has created a compelling, interesting and fun coming of age story -- about both the young man himself as well as for the 'teen years' of his startup. This would be a great book to give to high school students who are interested in starting their own businesses -- but it isn't just a 'kid' book. Quite to the contrary, entrepreneurs of all ages will find useful, hard-won lessons in Ben's story. Highly recommended.
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