The real story of what it takes to risk it all and go for broke.
Conventional wisdom says most startups need to be in Silicon Valley, started by young engineers around a sexy new idea and backed by VC funding. But as Mikkel Svane reveals in Startupland, the story of founding Zendesk was anything but conventional. Founded in a Copenhagen loft by three 30-something friends looking to break free from corporate doldrums, Zendesk Inc. is now one of the hottest enterprise software companies, still rapidly growing with customers in 150 countries. But its success was anything but predestined.
With revealing stories both funny and frank, Mikkel shares how he and his friends bravely left secure jobs to start something on their own, how he almost went broke several times, how they picked up themselves and their families to travel across the world to California and the unknown, and how the three friends were miraculously still together for Zendesk's IPO and (still growing) success. Much like Zendesk's mission itself - to remove friction, barriers, and mystery in order to make customer service easier and more approachable - Startupland removes some of the myths about startups and startup founders. Mikkel's advice, hard won through experience, often bucks conventional wisdom and entrepreneurial tropes. He shares why failure (whether fast or slow) is awful, why a seemingly boring product or idea can be the most exciting, and why giving back to the community is as important as the bottom line.
From how to hire right (look for people who are not offended by swearing) to which personas generate the highest response rates, Mikkel answers the most pressing questions from the perspective of someone still in the trenches and willing to share the hard truth, warts and all.
©2015 Zendesk, Inc. (P)2015 Audible Inc.
It's like reading your own story as a startup founder. The roller coaster highs and lows. The scrappy nature of the early years, eating startup spaghetti.
"It was sometimes tough, but hey look at me now."
Mikkel Svane and the people at Zendesk clearly didn't have it easy. But I think the author fails to really communicate the feelings that came with the process of building the company and overcoming those tough times. It all feels a bit to nice despite the words being said.
Also the narrator gets a lot of the names wrong. (I'm Danish like the guys from Zendesk)
"A good story"
This is the story of how three friends got together to create a very successful company. The author sounds honest and down to earth. There are no new ways or advice on how to manage your business. Its up to you to get from the story what you think applies to you. Overall, a good book
"Engaging and Entertaining"
Good story that is well written and we'll read. I hope it is the catalyst that gets tech companies to have difficult conversations and be more inclusive. Made me think and act differently in the work place.
"Not much in detail"
I was expecting more about the business and business tips. Although the book narrates about the company well it was lacking a little in the interaction.
It was very refreshing to hear of the raw and real story of this epic start up! Very inspiring.
"Great inspiring listen"
Excellent story with great narration. This book tells us it's never late and if you believe in dream it's doable.
"Not enough detail"
Too much of an overview for me. I felt it lacked the details that make great biographies/autobiographies like Richard Branson's Losing My Virginity or "Hatching Twitter".
Worth reading if you use Zendesk and love it. If you don't use Zendesk and don't really care about their story i'de give it a miss.
"The classic startup story"
Mikkel and Carlye does a good job in telling the ZenDesk story. It's full of the anecdotes that all startup founders goes through. It's great to have a unicorn telling the story for inspiration of other Nordic startups.
"Very compelling and entertaining book"
A very honest, insightful telling of the of both ZenDesk's story from startup to public company but also very much a truthful story of the founders journey from 3 guys simply trying to build a better product all the way to bringing it public, with all the highs and lows in between.
"Needs more meat"
I thought the book was ok but it doesn't really talk in detail about the growth of the company. it's kinda short for a history of the company book.
"Excellent, well narrated. Quite inspiring."
One of the few startup books which doesn't boast about how much money they made, it is well written, honest and well narrated.
Thoroughly recommend listening/reading this book.
"Inspiring. A must listen for budding Entrepreneurs"
Lays the struggle for success bare, in a warts and all tale of repeat failure, never say die attitude & to focus on the relationships of people, to make it to the top.
The best book on entrepreneurship I've listened to thus far.
"Fascinating Insight Into the Mind of a Start Up"
Often the PR team get to polish the biography and backstory in the "rags to riches" stories but Mikkel's journey seems very genuine, honest and open. His frank and almost blunt manner makes for a refreshing change to the over polished "performances" of some start up biogs I've listened to.
Recounting the arguments and genuine disagreements he had with his fellow founders and the honesty to share those early moments when you try and look more professional than you are to people who matter. Having started in a garden shed I felt he really conveyed a time that I too had shared.
Mikkel's the only character really as it is his biog
I laughed at the tales of the greenhorn in Silicon Valley
A few moments I identified with and some wisdom "from the trenches" mean that I'd happily listen to this again.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.