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The Launch Pad Audiobook

The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator, Silicon Valley's Most Exclusive School for Startups

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Publisher's Summary

Twice a year in the heart of Silicon Valley, a small investment firm called Y Combinator selects an elite group of young entrepreneurs from around the world for three months of intense work and instruction. Their brand-new two- or three-person start-ups are given a seemingly impossible challenge: to turn a raw idea into a viable business, fast.

Each YC session culminates in a demo day, when investors and venture capitalists flock to hear pitches from the new graduates. Any one of them might turn out to be the next Dropbox (class of 2007, now valued at $5 billion) or Airbnb (2009, $1.3 billion).

Randall Stross is the first journalist to have fly-on-the-wall access to Y Combinator. He tells the full story of how Paul Graham started this ultra exclusive institution, how it chooses among hundreds of aspiring Mark Zuckerbergs, and how it teaches them to go from concept to profitability in record time.

©2012 Randall Stross (P)2012 Random House Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (13 )
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4.0 (11 )
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4.5 (11 )
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Performance
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  •  
    luke 20/05/2015
    luke 20/05/2015 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "fantastic"

    I have listen to this book a number of times
    worth while and very informative nothing really ground breaking or new but the story line was very interesting

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jon Searle 17/05/2015
    Jon Searle 17/05/2015 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Makes me wish I was young and dumb and 24 again."

    encouraging or disconcerting that the idea doesn't really matter - it's the quality of the founding team, particularly how well they know each other.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Andrew
    30/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Soothing"

    This book eliminated the fear of failure, and replaced it with a childish and nerdy excitement for starting a start-up.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Alex
    26/04/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Perfect intro for outsiders"

    Loved it, I feel like I finally know a bit of what they look for.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Craig
    San Jose, USA
    4/09/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Must have for startup folks"
    What made the experience of listening to The Launch Pad the most enjoyable?

    The story was interesting the whole time and the information was useful


    What did you like best about this story?

    For someone thinking about startups the book gave an insight into the ups and downs of a startup


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lukasz
    Lodz, Poland
    20/03/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Must-read for any aspiring VC"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would higly recommend this book to anyone seriously interested in startups from both investor and founder point of view.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This book has tons of great examples of founder and investors at works, sleeves up, hands down with nitty-gritty details regarding daily job of running and investing in startups. Very motivational for someone looking to get a glimpse into the world of Silicon Valley.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I was particularly moved by the examples shown regarding the motivation needed to ABC: always be closing, as pictured with the example of Vidyard trying to setup a cooperation and/or a meeting with AirBNB to try to replace their existing video-hosting partner as pictured below with a fragment of the book itself:

    When Michael Litt looks at Airbnb’s Web site, which makes use of videos, he sees a natural home for Vidyard’s services. Airbnb’s AirTV section has videos of the more unusual lodging listings or colorful Airbnb hosts— its nickname is “the ‘Cribs’ of Airbnb.” Vidyard’s software is not finished, but Litt goes after Airbnb, sending an e-mail to the cofounders, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia. It is the very first week of the summer session. Always Be Closing.

    The subject heading of Litt’s first e-mail message is “AirTV— Current YC company looking for some quick insight!” He opens, “Hey Guys, Sorry to bother. We’re building a platform for video serving (encoding, analytics, customization included) and would love some insight into what you guys are doing with AirTV.” He says Vidyard could add analytic reports to the videos that they are already serving or “we can serve and take the entire piece off of your shoulders.” He closes with a mention that both Vidyard and Airbnb have shared parentage. “Thanks and let me know— we’re very glad to be YC!”

    His message is forwarded to Venetia Pristavec, the manager in charge of Airbnb’s videos. Airbnb presently is using the video service of Vid Network, a startup that does the video hosting and analytics that Vidyard plans to offer. But Pristavec says that Airbnb is looking for a new video provider. Unfortunately for Vidyard, Airbnb has narrowed the field of replacement candidates to a pair of big names in video hosting, Ooyala and Brightcove. Clearly, Airbnb has decided to move away from relying on a startup and instead shift to a much larger company as its video supplier.

    Litt is not daunted. He asks Pristavec if she has time for a chat. “It just so happens we’re in a bid for another initiative with Ooyala and Brightcove,” he says, suggesting implicitly that Vidyard is able to hold its own while battling with the big boys. He asks Pristavec only for information, for her “perspective” on the reasons for switching from Airbnb’s current video host. “I promise I won’t try to sell to you. I’m not a salesman— we’re just looking for feedback from potential users,” he says.

    Meanwhile, Paul Graham dashes off a note to Pristavec and to Airbnb’s cofounders, testifying to the Vidyard team’s work ethic and asking that they be given an opportunity to make their pitch before a final decision is reached. Litt follows with an impassioned follow-up e-mail addressed directly to Gebbia. “This is an awesome opportunity that we are willing to work our asses off for,” he writes. “It goes without saying that your brand would hold some amazing clout for us and the timing is perfect
    for both parties.”

    Litt dispatches more e-mails but it is all for naught. Airbnb does not budge from its original plan and Vidyard does not get the chance to make its pitch to land the contract. Litt does not pause. “Sorry to be a pain,” he writes Airbnb again, confessing that “we’re really putting on the hustle.” He proposes that Vidyard produce some videos for Airbnb. This offer will not lead to a commission either. But to Litt, there is never a definitive no, there is only to-be-continued.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Scott
    Irvine, CA, United States
    13/11/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best audiobook for yc applicant"

    Must read for yc applicants.
    You can see what Paul Graham and Sam Wants
    Audible 20 review sweepstakes entry

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Splento Photographers On Demand
    11/08/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I wish I read it two years ago"

    Great book. Very insightful and educational. As the leading photography platform (think Uber for professional photographers) we thought Splento was an ideal fit for YC. This book clearly explains why it wasn't. Having a great business and team do not necessarily matter, both team and idea have to be right for YC and tick certain boxes. So if you are an aspiring entrepreneur thinking of applying to YC, read this book first to save yourself time and disappointment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dan Collins
    Katy, Tx United States
    19/07/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Start-up Myths and Legends"

    So you want to be a part of a tech start-up? This book is not meant to dissuade but it might end up doing just that. By taking the listener through a typical 3-month yCombibator batch the author can genuinely make you vicariously feel the dizzying highs after your team gets selected and the absolute misery of the trough after you "graduate ". Great ride!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Roberto Rodriguez
    14/07/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I really liked this book"

    Very interesting book for entrepenour, from begginning to end, it gives the a real vision of what is like to be in an accelerator program. This. book is a must to read for all entrepeneurs interested in be part of one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • V. T.
    17/06/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very inspirational, though not very practical"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I truly enjoyed listening to the book. Yes, it is not a practical guide on how to build a company or secure investment.
    However, it (1) explains very well how one of the most known business accelerators work. (2) The story turns out to be very inspirational and motivating. Much more so than the many books from various business guru's that are supposed to motivate and inspire. I found this simple descriptive story to be much more effective than the books filled with prompts and advice to start doing something.
    DEFINITELY recommend.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Robert
    3/04/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "peak behind the scenes"

    I really enjoyed this audio book. It gives nice overview of y combinator and that your ideas don't have to be big to be successful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Amazon Customer
    23/11/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Best Book for Start-Up"

    This is the book that I recommend to anyone who is looking to build or is building a startup.

    Why is it so good? Because being an entrepreneur is a lonely, random, dark, stressful and most of the time badly rewarded journey. And those who think it's different are going to get hit hard. Be sure that if building a successful company was easy - much much more people would be really rich, and most of startups wouldn't die in the first year. And in this journey you need peers and friend, teammates and likeminded people around you. This book supercharges your surrounding or compensates the possible lack of it. You just get into the whirlwind of great people, insights, results in startups and a lot more.

    How does it helps? Aside from feeling energised and a part of an elite group of young entrepreneurs selected to be lead in the worlds best accelerator, there is a huge lot of business knowledge, purposefully and in smart manner given from all sides - from Y-Combinator partners, from brave young people starting their businesses, from the public they sell their products to, from potential employees, and from what is now history of success of those companies.

    This is a book to teach in schools - that would be my suggestion for economics/business classes. This is especially true especially considering the fact that current education leads to where our world currently is - political, ecological and energy crisis, with lots of fields where significant improvements are not just welcome, but urgently required. But as we're in the world where money is the key resource - people should learn how to build up the resource to actually patch or fix any part of our world. But that's polemics. Main idea here - this is a book to re-listen at least once a year. To anyone looking to get it and thinking if it is wort it - I strongly recommend you do get it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tatiana
    London, United Kingdom
    13/12/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Must Read for Startups"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Launch Pad to be better than the print version?

    No


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Launch Pad?

    The paragraph on gender differentiation in the start-up world.


    What about Rene Ruiz’s performance did you like?

    It was ok.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made a bit frustrated and angry at times with the hypocritical and sexist approach that the lead character selects his start-ups. It's very money driven without any considerations for the best interests of the person. Must read if you are thinking or have recently launched a company - there is some good advice in it about how to pitch and sell your business but i wouldn't go down the route of incubators after this read.


    2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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