Writing a book is hard. Really hard. Much harder than I thought. So I’m extra satisfied that “Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup” is finished, in print and available for the world to buy.
I’ve been helping create software and Internet companies for over 25 years, starting with my first company, Feld Technologies, in 1985 when I was in college. By 1987 I had a partner, a mentor (my father) and a company that was capitalized with $10. (Yes, 10 dollars.) We bootstrapped the business because we had to and by 1993, when we sold the company to a large public company, we’d built a nice, consistently profitable business.
Since then, I’ve been involved with creating and funding hundreds of companies both as an angel investor and a VC (now at Foundry Group). Four years ago I co-founded TechStars with David Cohen (CEO of TechStars) to help first-time entrepreneurs create new software/Internet companies while simultaneously working to energize the Boulder, Colo., entrepreneurial community, which was vibrant but small. Boulder’s population is just 100,000.
Over the past four years, my partners at Foundry Group and I have spent a lot of time talking about, thinking about, and studying how software/Internet companies get started. We’ve done this through our seed investments as well as our activity at TechStars, starting in Boulder, then expanding to Boston, Seattle and New York.
A year ago, David Cohen and I decided to try to put our thoughts down in a book. I’ve been blogging—along with my partners and David—for a number of years, so it seemed logical to organize some of our thoughts into a book. One weekend about a year ago, David and I holed up at my house in Keystone and sketched out the first draft of what became “Do More Faster.”
We decided to write a book by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. Rather than preach at our potential readers, we gathered first-person accounts from the entrepreneurs who have gone through the TechStars program and the mentors who have worked with the entrepreneurs. David and I wrote just 20 percent of the book. It is primarily made up of 80 short chapters (two to three pages each) and organized by seven themes: idea and vision; people; execution; product; fund-raising; legal and structure; and work/life balance. David and I then wrote a bunch of connective tissue between each story to create a cohesive narrative.
When I reflect on the process of writing this book, I realized that I accomplished several goals at the same time that are all related to my lifetime commitment to continually learn, with a specific focus on entrepreneurship. At the most obvious level, I learned what it took to write a book and become a published author. But the process of writing the book gave me a lot of time to reflect on what it takes to create a new company, the attributes of a successful entrepreneur and how entrepreneurial communities work.
Most importantly, it exposed me to the deep thoughts of over 70 other entrepreneurs and mentors who contributed to both TechStars and the book. Hundreds of companies later, I’m still learning all the time from other entrepreneurs, especially those doing it for the first time. I hope you will also.
Brad Feld has been a VC for more than 15 years and is a managing director of Foundry Group, an early stage venture capital firm based in Boulder, Colo., that invests throughout the United States. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, Feld co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and founded Intensity Ventures. Get more info on his new book at www.domorefasterbook.com. You can read his blog at feld.com, follow him on Twitter at @bfeld and reach him via email at email@example.com.