How to Balance a Startup and a Spouse

A wise entrepreneurial friend once told me the following story:

I work all the time. Day, night, weekends, all the time. Sometimes my wife will want some time with me, just to talk. But since I’m always busy, I’m usually at my computer when we have our conversations. What she’s noticed is, I only half-listen when I’m doing that. I’m splitting my attention between her and my laptop.

This hasn’t been good. I could tell it was affecting our marriage. So I resolved to shut the lid of my laptop whenver she wanted to speak. And I’ve been doing that. It hasn’t been easy, let me tell you. But I’ve been trying.

Wise advice.

He also added that this is just one small way to balance his marriage and his startup. There are many other behavioral changes he’s made to be a better husband.

P.S. For more of such advice, Meg Cadoux Hirshberg has been writing a regular column for Inc. Magazine about her experiences. She’s married to one of the founders of the organic-yogurt company Stonyfield Farm. Her column relates the struggles she’s faced on the other side of the fence – being married to an entrepreneur.

Technology, Mobile, Internet Business, Digital Design and Web 2.0 Conferences

Got the itch to travel? And the desire to meet colleagues from other states? And perhaps catch an interesting talk or two? How about an industry conference?

Within the world of web startups and internet businesses, there are a dizzying number of conferences. I’ve attempted to list all of the major ones here. Upcoming dates are included if they’ve been announced. Many of these conferences have already had their 2010 events, so perhaps I’ll have to create this list again early next year to catch the 2011 events before they happen. If I’ve missed anything, please let me know.

General Conferences in the United States

South by Southwest Interactive

Next date: March 11-15, 2011 in Austin, TX

This event started as an Austin, Texas-based music festival in 1987 that added the film and interactive conferences in 1994, all of which have become some of the world’s largest industry events in their respective fields.

TechCrunch Disrupt

Next date: September 27-29, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

This was created in 2010 from the ashes of Michael Arrington and Jason Calacanis’ disbanded TechCrunch50 conference, to continue the vision of TC50 as a way to demo emerging Web 2.0 startups.

D: All Things Digital

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This was created by Walter Mossberg and Kara Swisher in 2003, and is held in Carlsbad, CA annually.

DEMO

Next date: September 13-15, 2010 in Santa Clara, CA

Venture capitalist Stewart Alsop created this conference in 1991 as a launchpad for emerging technologies. It has since changed hands, from Chris Shipley to Matt Marshall.

Voices That Matter

Next date: June 28-29, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

Created by the educational publishing company Pearson Education in 2007, these events emphasize opportunities for learning and networking from industry leaders.

Gnomedex

Next date: August 19-21, 2010 in Seattle, WA

This was created by former TechTV personality Chris Pirillo in 2001 as a single-track technology conference.

Supernova

Next date: July 29-30, 2010 in Philadelphia, PA

Created by Wharton professor Kevin Werbach in 2002, this event explores the transformation of computing, communications, business, and society.

ReadWriteWeb Summits

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

Created by the team at the ReadWriteWeb blog, these events cover a variety of topics, from the real-time web to mobile technologies.

Social Developer Summit

Next date: June 29, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

Started this year mediabistro.com and All Facebook founder Nick O’Neill, this event aims to unite social app developers to discuss solutions and best practices for building applications in the rapidly expanding social web economy.

Inside Social Apps

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

Created by the social media & gaming market research agency Inside Network, this event covers issues around the social app and gaming industry.

Virtual Goods Summit

Next date: October 12-13, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

Created by Charles Hudson of mediabistro.com, this event focuses on the emerging market opportunity for virtual goods and economies.

Startup Lessons Learned

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This event is designed to unite those interested in what it takes to succeed in building a lean startup.

BizConf

Next date: August 4-6, 2010 in Amelia Island, FL

This event is aimed at entrepreneurs, thought leaders, startup founders, and consultants.

The Founder Conference

Next date: August 17, 2010 in Mountain View, CA

This event was created to allow participants to network with other startup founders, find co-founders, improve their ideas and learn how to bootstrap.

LessConf

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This event covers topics ranging from startups to design to marketing to business.

Big Omaha

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This event was created by Silicon Prairie News (SPN) in 2009 and is held in Omaha, NE for entrepreneurs, innovators and creatives.

FailCon

Next date: October 25, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

This conference focuses on start-up failures and how to prepare & recover from them.

BizTechDay

Next date: September 18, 2010 in Seattle, WA

Next date: September 24, 2010 in New York, NY

Next date: October 23, 2010 in San Francisco

This event was started in 2008 by Edith Yeung after a conversation she had with Gary Marshall from the Small Business Administration, and aims to be a conference that inspires entrepreneurs to create and grow their business with the help of technology.

SF New Tech

Next date: July 20, 2010 in San Francisco

These are a series of regular events for startup entrepreneurs, VCs, journalists, recruiters, and others in the industry.

Startup Weekend

Next date: June 25-27, 2010 in Chicago, IL

Next date: September 17-19, 2010 in Edmonton, Canada

Created by Andrew Hyde, this event became a non-profit when Marc Nager and Clint Nelsen took over all operations. Ticket prices are typically much lower than other conferences.

Startup School

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This was created by Paul Graham in 2004 for technical entrepreneurs to learn about building startups.

Finance4Founders

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

Founded by Dave McClure & Dan Martell, this exclusive, invitation-only event is dedicated to educating and helping the next generation of internet startups around issues of fund raising, option pools, and term sheets.

Maker Faire

Next date: July 10, 2010 in Aspen, CO (mini event)

Next date: September 25-26, 2010 in New York, NY

This was created by Make Magazine to celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset.

E3

Next date: June 15-17, 2010 in Los Angeles, CA

Created in 1995 by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) covers the video game industry.

DEF CON

Next date: July 30-August 1, 2010 in Las Vegas, NV

Created in 1993, this is one of the largest and oldest continuously-running conferences for the hacker community.

SF MusicTech Summit

Next date: December 6, 2010 in San Francisco

This event covers the music and technology space.

Hacks/Hackers Unite

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This was created by Rich Gordon, Burt Herman & Aron Pilhofer as a hands-on workshop to build storytelling applications on tablet devices. This past 2010 event was the first.

Lunch 2.0

Next date: Varies; there are lots of them

These events are informal gatherings organized by various companies who hold a short presentation, then break off for lunch and networking.

General Conferences in Europe

LeWeb

Next date: December 8-9, 201 in Paris, France

This was created by Loïc Le Meur in 2005 as a conference covering technology, the Internet, and entrepreneurism.

The Next Web

Next date: April 27-29, 2011 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

This was created by Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, Arjen Schat & Patrick de Laive as a means to bring the professional web industry together in Europe.

O’Reilly Conferences

Web 2.0 Summit

Next date: November 15-17, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

This is an invitation-only conference where Internet executives gather to debate and determine business strategy.

Web 2.0 Expo

Next date: September 27-30, 2010 in New York, NY

Next date: March 28-31, 2011 in San Francisco, CA

This is a spin-off of the Web 2.0 Summit and has open registration.

Ignite

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This is run by local volunteers and gives presenters 5 minutes each to present their ideas to the audience.

Velocity

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This covers web performance and operations.

OSCON

Next date: July 19-23, 2010 in Portland, OR

This covers the vast open source industry.

Gov 2.0 Summit

Next date: September 7-8, 2010 in Washington, DC

This is an invitation-only conference that covers the intersection of web technologies and the US government.

Tools of Change for Publishing

Next date: February 14-16, 2011 in New York, NY

This covers technologies in the publishing space.

FooCamp

Next date: No new dates announced yet

This was originally created in 2004 as a joke by Tim O’Reilly and Sara Winge. More recently, topical Foo Camps have been held at various locations and by various organizers.

BarCamp

Next date: Varies; there are lots of them

This started in 2005 as a spin-off of Foo Camp and has evolved into a series of user-organized conferences and unconferences all around the world.

GigaOM Events

GreenNet

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This event covers green technologies and businesses.

Structure

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This event covers the cloud computing industry.

Mobilize

Next date: September 30, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

This event covers the mobile computing industry.

NewTeeVee Live

Next date: November 10, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

This event covers the online video industry.

Net:Work

Next date: December 9, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

This event covers the tools, technologies and practices shaping the future of work.

The Bunker Summit

Next date: No new dates announced yet

This is an invitation-only retreat for 150 selected executives to confer about creating new opportunities across industries.

Bunker Sessions

Next date: July 28, 2010 in San Francisco, CA (open source software in enterprise)

Next date: August 25, 2010 in San Francisco, CA (e-books and publishing)

Next date: September 29, 2010 in San Francisco, CA (mobile technologies in healthcare)

Next date: October 27, 2010 in San Francisco, CA (app marketplaces and TV)

These are a series of town hall meetings covering a wide variety of topics.

Carsonfied Events

Future of Web Apps Conference

Next date: October 4-6, 2010 in London, United Kingdom

This is a conference on the web development industry.

Future of Web Design Conference

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This is a conference on the web design industry.

ThinkVitamin Online Conferences

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

These are a series of online video tutorials covering a variety of topics.

UBM TechWeb Events

Interop

Next date: September 28-30, 2010 in Mumbai, India

Next date: October 18-22, 2010 in New York, NY

Next date: May 8-12, 2011 in Las Vegas, NV

This series of events covers a spectrum of IT and mobile technologies.

Enterprise 2.0

Next date: November 8-11, 2010 in Santa Clara, CA

This event covers technology and software in the enterprise space.

Cloud Connect Conference

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This event focuses on cloud computing and the cloud eco-system.

Environments for Humans Events

In Control Web Design Workshop Conference

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This event covers web design practices, trends and technologies.

CSS Summit

Next date: July 28, 2010 online

This virtual event consists of a series of videos covering CSS development techniques.

Web Optimization Summit

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This event covers web performance optimization techniques.

Mobile Technology Conferences

Mobile World Congress

Next date: November 17-18, 2010 in Hong Kong, China

Next date: February 14-17, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain

This event covers the mobile industry with an international audience.

Mobile 2.0 Conference

Next date: September 20-21, 2010 in Mountain View, CA & San Francisco, CA

Created by five entrepreneurs in the mobile space, this event covers on mobile applications, services, ecosystems, and disruptive innovations.

MobiSys Conference

Next date: June 15-18, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

This event is held by the ACM Special Interest Group on mobile technologies (SIGMOBILE).

APPCON

Next date: August 24-26, 2010 in Las Vegas, NV

This event focuses specifically on mobile applications.

Web Design Conferences

An Event Apart

Next date: September 16-18, 2010 in Washington, DC

Next date: November 1-2, 2010 in San Diego, CA

This was created by Eric Meyer and Jeffrey Zeldman in 2005 for passionate practitioners of standards-based web design.

WebVisions

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This was created by Brad Smith as an event to explore the future of web design, content creation, user experience and business strategy.

BayCHI

Next date: June 22, 2010 in Santa Clara, CA (eye tracking)

Next date: July 13, 2010 in Palo Alto, CA

These events are held by the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI).

AIGA Design Conference

Next date: October 13-16, 2011 in Phoenix, AZ

These events are held by AIGA, a professional association for the design industry.

Computer Hardware Conferences

Comdex

Next date: November 16-17, 2010 online

This long-running computer expo has been in operation since 1979. It is now operated by UBM TechWeb. The next event will be entirely online.

CeBIT

Next date: March 1-5, 2011 in Hanover, Germany

This is the world’s largest computer expo. It was created as a spin-off of the Hanover Fair in 1986.

Computex Taipei

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This is the world’s second-largest computer expo. It was created by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) and the Taipei Computer Association (TCA) in 1981.

Company-specific Conferences

Google I/O Conference

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

Google hosts this conference as a platform to present their latest products and technologies.

Facebook f8 conference

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

Facebook hosts this conference as a platform to present their latest features and technologies.

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

Apple hosts this conference as a platform to present their latest products and technologies.

Microsoft MIX Conference

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

Microsoft hosts this conference as a platform to present their latest products and technologies.

Twitter Chirp Conference

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

Twitter hosts this conference as a platform to present their latest features and technologies.

Adobe MAX

Next date: October 23-27, 2010 in Los Angeles, CA

Adobe hosts this conference as a platform to present their latest features and technologies.

Props to: Casey Allen

Business Idea Evaluation with The Innovator’s Scorecard

Need another way to evaluate your business idea? Thomas McKnight, author of Will It Fly? How to Know if Your New Business Idea Has Wings…Before You Take the Leap, has a robust method he calls the Innovator’s Scorecard. This scorecard rates various factors of your business idea to tell you if it is worth pursuing. Each factor is discussed in detail in the book, so if you would like to learn more about this method, check out the book.

An Excel version of the Scorecard is available. I’ve also created this online version of it.

To use this scorecard, type in a score for each feature into the Raw Score column. This score can range from -10 to +10, with -10 being the worst and +10 being the best. McKnight discusses each factor in great detail in his book. Purchase a copy if you would like to know more about any of them.

Criteria Raw Score
(-10 to +10)
Weight Total
Compelling unserved need

Does your product fulfill a lack of something required, desirable, or useful?

Explainable uniqueness

How unique is your product?

Sustainable differentiation

Can you sustain your uniqueness, or regain it if lost?

Demonstrable now

Can the customer touch, feel, taste, see, sense, or use your product right now?

Good competition

Are there weak competitors that validate your market, yet can be beaten easily?

Bad competition

Are there strong competitors that pose a real threat?

Compelling pricing possible

Could you offer your product at a good price?

Closable customers

Do you have any actual customers right now you could sell to, even before you have a product?

Quality of evidence of demand

Do you have good proof that there is a demand for your product?

Ahead of market

Can you deliver your product at the right time to capture substantial market share?

Ambush exposure

How likely are you to be ambushed by an unknown competitor? How defensible is your product?

“Hot Market”

Is there a wild, almost irrational demand for your product right now?

Attitude: confidence and fearlessness

Do you & your team have enough confidence in yourselves & your product to push no matter what?

Commitment

Can you & your team realistically commit yourselves to this product?

Staying Power

Do you & your team have long staying power, even if your product isn’t profitable at first?

Passion

Do you & your team have true, deep passion for your product?

Management Competence

How competent are you & your team in building and marketing your product?

Honesty and Integrity

Are you & your team known to have high honesty and integrity?

Success Ethic

Do you & your team have a record of achieving significant successes? Are you all capable of doing so?

Looking Good in the Lobby

Are you & your team presentable in fromt of investors?

Cash Flowing Now

Can you earn a cash flow now or very soon?

Revenue Model Swamps Costs

Will your business model allow you to earn real profits (revenues minus expenses)?

Delivery Advantages

Do you have any special relationships or privileges within your intended distribution channels?

Resources available

Do you have access to the resources you’ll need to launch your product?

Preemption & Domination

Would you be able to preempt your competitors and dominate some aspect of your market, value chain, distribution channels, etc?

Strategy to Penetrate Market

Do you have a strong strategy with which to enter into the market?

Strategy for Breaching the Chasm

After you’ve released your product, do you have a strong strategy with which to reach a general audience?

Proprietary Ownership

Can you attach enough value to your product that those who wish to own or use it think of you first?

Partnering Candidates

Are there good partnership opportunities that will give you an advantage without hindering you as well?

Appropriateness of Location

Does your company’s location give you any advantages in resources or customers?

Quality of back-up plan

Do you have a good, realistic back-up plan in case things go wrong?

Unfair Advantages

Do you have any significant advantages in your favor that competitors don’t have?

Manageable Capital Requirements

Do you need to raise an unrealistically large amount of funding? Or is it a manageable amount?

Low Cash Required Prelaunch

In the days & weeks immediately before the launch, do you need a large, or manageable amount of cash?

Visible Capital

Is your funding proven? Is it in the bank, or at least accessible to you with a good degree of certainty?

High Potential Value

Will your business have a high valuation after about five years of existence?

Foreseeable Harvest

How likely will a return on investment be possible for an outside investor?

Taboo

Does your product violate any ethical, societal, cultural, politcal, or environmental taboos?

Lack of Showstoppers

Do any foreseeable showstoppers exist to block your success?

Pretending not to Know

Are you or your team in denial about any threats to your success? Be honest.

High Profile Persons Available

Can you attract any high profile individuals as team members, customers, or evangelists?

Punchy, compelling story

Do you have a solid, interesting, and catchy elevator pitch?

Government Relevance

Can you gain any political standing or supporters in the government?

Low-Hanging Fruit

Do you have any easy wins you can make, such as prospective customers, rock star employees, low-cost resources, etc?

TOTALS

Grade:

After you’ve finished scoring your business idea, your final Grade will indicate the viability of your idea. If your grade is:

  • 80% or higher – You have a good chance of success, and your grade is high enough to potentially seek outside funding.
  • 70% – 79% – You have a decent chance of success. Examine each factor to see if you can improve its score.
  • 60% – 69% – You have a low chance of success. Examine each factor to see if you can improve its score.
  • 50% or lower – You should move on to another idea.

This scorecard isn’t only designed to give you a one-shot assessment of your business idea. As mentioned above, it also reveals the various factors that can significantly improve the success of your business. If you have a low score on any of these elements, consider revisiting each one and thinking of ways to raise that score.

Business Idea Evaluation with The Product Opportunity Assessment

Want to know if your idea is worth pursuing? There are lots ways to determine this. Marty Cagan, author of Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love, outlines a lightweight method he calls the Product Opportunity Assessment. This document’s goal is to determine whether or not a particular product opportunity is worth pursuing.

Here is what goes into a Product Opportunity Assessment.

  1. Value Proposition: Exactly what problem will this solve?
  2. Target Market: For whom do you solve that problem?
  3. Market Size: How big is the opportunity?
  4. Metrics/Revenue Strategy: How will you measure success?
  5. Competitive Landscape: What alternatives are out there now?
  6. Differentiator: Why are you best suited to pursue this?
  7. Market Window: Why now?
  8. Go-to-Market Strategy: How will you get this product to the market?
  9. Solution Requirements: What factors are critical to success?
  10. Go or No-Go: Given the above, what’s the recommendation?

This sounds like a method entrepreneurs can use as well. It’s meant to be fairly basic, yet comprehensive. While it may not replace a full business plan for a VC presentation, seeing all of these factors spelled out and help you decide on your next product or business idea.

How Do Entrepreneurs Deal With the Stress?

Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto Few things in life are as stressful as owning your own business. Being a parent and dealing with kids definitely tops that, but few others do.

So how do entrepreneurs deal with the everyday frustrations and heartaches of owning a business? I asked a few entrepreneurs I know and got these answers.

Take vacations
While this isn’t always feasible or even truly relaxing, sometimes it’s nice to get away from it all. If you’re in front of the computer all day long, go camping and leave your mobile devices behind. But be careful not to plan a busy vacation that leaves you more exhausted than your work does.
Talk to other entrepreneurs
Misery loves company. Commiserating with other entrepreneurs can sometimes be a relief, especially when they are dealing with the same problems you are. It makes you feel less alone and able to relate to a sympathetic soul. Every once in a while, the other entrepreneurs may offer possible solutions and tips too.
Find advisors
A trusted mentor or advisor can help significantly. They can share their wisdom, lend perspective, and help you get through tough times. Even if they don’t have solutions, it’s nice to know a more experienced person is around, watching your back. Experience is valuable, and good advisors can offer it in spades.
Talk to family & friends outside of your industry
Sometimes it’s good to talk about topics other than your business. Family and friends who aren’t involved in your industry can be a great source of relief. They free your mind from your daily stress, can be a nice distraction, and may occasionally inspire you with non-traditional solutions.
Hire great people and delegate
Easier said than done, but if you can do it, life will be great. Hire trustworthy people smarter than you and delegate responsibilities to them. They can keep things running and potentially improve the business in ways you can’t.
Know when to go out and relax
Just as your eyes need a break from the computer screen and your wrists need a break from the keyboard, your brain needs a break from work now and then. So after you read this post, get up. Take a walk, treat yourself to a coffee, or do some jumping jacks. Your brain needs it.
Exercise and eat right
Maintaining good health is one of the best ways to decrease stress. Exercise and healthy food also improves your brain’s performance, so it’s got a double benefit. Make exercise part of your daily routine, even if it’s as small as a walk around the block.
Meditate and do yoga
Some friends swear by this. Meditation can be really tough to start, but once you learn how, it can be a great source of relaxation. Yoga is a great companion or alternative to meditation, as it combines both meditation and exercise.
Listen to relaxing music
Music soothes the savage beast. If you find your stress increasing, put on a good song. And if you’re really stressed (and perhaps, alone), get up and dance. Shake those hips. Move that booty. Sure, you’ll feel silly, but it could literally shake some of the stress out of you.

What do you do to relax?

Important Things Startup Founders Should Know

Being an entrepreneur can be a pain in the ass. Especially if you’re not prepared for it.

Fortunately, there are a lot of generous people offering sage advice. David Shen, an advisor & investor of early stage Internet startups, tries to talk people out of being an entrepreneur. Starting a business is not for everyone. If that’s the case for you, the sooner you realize it, the better.

I talk about the time commitment. I talk about my early Yahoo days when there were just a bunch of us, and we worked our tail off for years. I talk about the long hours we spent building Yahoo back in the day, the stress, the do-everything-yourself mentality and the chaos of not knowing what’s coming next. I tell them about the fact that relationships have broken up due to training for Ironman, which even at its peak, doesn’t equate to time commitment spent at a startup and for a longer period of time. I go through the inevitable ups and downs that come with relationships and families of entrepreneurs; it’s not an easy place to be when your work and family demands collide.

Dharmesh Shah, founder of HubSpot, also offers ten critical questions that startup co-founders should ask themselves:

  1. How should we divide the shares?
  2. How will decisions get made?
  3. What happens if one of us leaves the company?
  4. Can any of us be fired? By whom? For what reasons?
  5. What are our personal goals for the startup?
  6. Will this be the primary activity for each of us?
  7. What part of our plan are we each unwilling to change?
  8. What contractual terms will each of us sign with the company?
  9. Will any of us be investing cash in the company? If so, how is this treated?
  10. What will we pay ourselves? Who gets to change this in the future?

To these great questions, I would add two derived from Shen’s advice:

  1. Do we all understand the risks and commitment required to be an entrepreneur?
  2. Is everyone willing to fully take those risks and honor those commitments?

It is not easy being an entrepreneur. But if you understand the risks and commitment required, you will have a better chance of survival.

Photo by: Team Dalog

Three Words of Wisdom

Oops, almost missed the memetrain on this one. Here’s an oldie but a goodie: Dharmesh Shah’s Startup Triplets, with a few from Guy Kawasaki.

These are basically three-word phrases for entrepreneurs. A ton of great ones have already been voiced. Here are mine:

I hope Shah doesn’t mind my using his awesome tweet link idea. Internet memes are fun!

Got a Good Business Book Recommendation?

And I thought I read a lot. I’ve got nothing on this guy. In 2009, Tim Young read 146 books. Damn. I gotta beat him in 2010.

He also kindly suggested five books for entrepreneurs:

  1. Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long

    This book sounds particularly useful. “Although most founders focus on their cash burn rate,” write Tim, “very few focus on the burn rate of their daily time.” Too true, too true.

  2. Beautiful Data: The Stories Behind Elegant Data Solutions

    Sounds like a nice, geeky read. Awesome.

  3. Performance at the Limit: Business Lessons from Formula 1 Motor Racing

    I’m not a big Formula 1 fan, but it could be an interesting read.

  4. Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story, Updated and Expanded Edition

    I’ll definitely need this book.

  5. The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance

    Oh, that reminds me: I keep meaning to play some tennis. And golf. Hurray for bougie sports.

The Knack: How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up One of my personal favorites in 2009 is The Knack: How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham. Brodsky is a veteran entrepreneur and author of the “Street Smarts” column in Inc. Magazine. Burlingham is an author and editor-at-large for Inc. Magazine.

The Knack is a gritty, no-nonsense book for entrepreneurs. From having hands-on experience with your company’s financials (to the point of going through your books with paper and pencil) to understanding root causes and not just symptoms, some of this material may be familiar, but all of it is practical. Reading this book felt like sitting down with a battle-worn business owner with a gravely voice and sharp tongue from Brooklyn who told it like it is. I would recommend this book to all entrepreneurs.

Do you have any good business books to recommend? I gotta beat 146 books this year!

Props to: Eric Rodriguez