On Startups: Advice and Insights for Entrepreneurs

Dharmesh Shah

Note from the Author

Hi, my name is Dharmesh, and I’m a startup addict. And, chances are, if you’re reading this, you have at least a mild obsession as well.

This book is based on content from the OnStartups.com blog. The story behind how the blog got started is sort of interesting—but before I tell you that story, it’ll help to understand my earlier story.

As a professional programmer, I used to work in a reasonably fun job doing what I liked to do (write code). Eventually, I got a little frustrated with it all, so at the ripe old age of 24, I started my first software company. It did pretty well. It was on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies three times. It reached millions of dollars of sales and was ultimately acquired.

I ran that first company for over 10 years working the typical startup hours. When I sold that company, I went back to school to get a master’s degree at MIT. I’ve always enjoyed academics, and I figured this would be a nice “soft landing” and give me some time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. As part of my degree requirements, I had to write a graduate thesis. I titled my thesis “On Startups: Patterns and Practices of Contemporary Software Entrepreneurs.” And, as part of that thesis work, I wanted to get some feedback from some entrepreneurs. So, I figured I’d start a blog. I took the first two words of the thesis title, “On Startups,” discovered that the domain name OnStartups.com was available, and was then off to the races. The blog was launched on November 5, 2005.

Since then, the blog and associated community have grown quite large. Across Facebook, LinkedIn, and email subscribers, there are over 300,000 people in the OnStartups.com audience.

This book is a collection of some of the best articles from over 7 years of OnStartups.com. The articles have been topically organized and edited. I hope you enjoy them.