Review: The Founder's Dilemmas


Book: The Founder's Dilemmas
Author: Noam Wasserman
Format: Kindle and Audible

General Comments

This book was a labor of love. It is born out of interviews and surveys of over 10,000 founders and creates a grid and outlines problems that they will face. It has been very helpful for me as I have considered founding my own company.

10 Things

  1. The primary delima is the tension between wealth and control. Wealth generally takes the form of equity and control often centers around the structure of the board and who is CEO.
  2. Founding-team dilemmas: relationships, roles and rewards.
  3. Beyond-the-team delimmas: hires? investors? succession?
  4. It is important to have hard conversations and to hammer out the details in writing. Failure to clarify will lead to pain later.
  5. As a founder my job is to solve my "resource constraint" problems.
  6. Relationships: Homogeneity doesn't help you solve "resource constraint" problems.
  7. Rewards: centered around the balance between cash and equity. Advocates for a dynamic equity spit. As action is taken equity should be earned.
  8. Hiring: echos of the hard thing about hard thigns. People hired early may not keep up with the growth of the startup. Be careful with titles and roles.
  9. Lots of good info about understanding founding CEO replacement. Ultimately the CEO will be replaced if the company is failing, or is super sucessful and the CEO can't keep up.
  10. Entrepreneurship is a skill. Serial entrepreneurs stand the best chance of ending up both rich (wealth) and king (control).

There is a lot that could also be said about the investors. I will probably make that a second list of 10.