FT Accounts Books — April Edition

“Zero to IPO: Over $1 Trillion in Actionable Advice from the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs,” by Frederic Kerrest

In 2011, Frederic Kerrest, as co-founder and chief operating officer of a failed company facing bankruptcy, received some advice from one of his board members who had been through it all before. Acting on it saved Kerrest and the Okta company from falling into disaster. Six years later, the workplace software company was valued at $40 billion.

After seeing firsthand how that kind of insider knowledge can make the difference between success and failure, Kerrest’s mission is in Zero to IPO is to share these secrets with aspiring entrepreneurs. That means concretization: “When you’re in the trenches, you don’t want generalization. You must know what to do at the moment‘ he writes, promising insights from 20 years of notes he’s made based on his experience with Okta and advice from business leaders and investors he’s met over the years. The goal is to “demystify the world of startups,” with hands-on instruction that Kerrest says isn’t necessarily offered in business school.

As Kerrest acknowledges, only a small subset of companies make it public, but the lessons apply to all founders, whether they choose to go public or remain private, he says. Chapters on topics such as fundraising, selling, and leadership are listed in the order an entrepreneur might go in building a business.

Kerrest discusses the decision to take Okta public and why the IPO was just the beginning of building longer-term goals for the company. Advice ranges from Kerrest’s take on advisory boards – “not worth the time or money” – to tips for coaching your team to get to the point quickly in emails. He draws on his own early misfires to illustrate various points throughout the book, such as Okta’s initial strategy of copying Salesforce and ending up targeting the wrong customers.

Three core pieces of advice are distilled at the beginning of the book: the value of time, always focusing only on your top priority, and remembering that success depends on making any sales. For those who read to the end and still want to give entrepreneurship a chance, Kerrest promises it will be “one of the hardest paths you’ve ever walked, but also one of the most rewarding.”

“Love + Work: How to Find What You Love, Love What You Do, and Do It for the Rest of Your Life,” by Marcus Buckingham

Love and work are two of the basic human needs, but are they related? Marcus Buckingham, head of human resources and performance research at the ADP Research Institute in the US, believes they are and has developed a guide to encourage people to find a job they can be successful in because it is too Fits things they love – or their common threads in Buckingham’s vocabulary.

Buckingham, who was born and raised in the UK before emigrating to the US as a young graduate to pursue a career in research, has little time for education systems and career advisors who push us to pursue what we are good at , or accepting this work eventually becomes a chore. Instead, he urges readers to look for jobs and careers that involve the things you love to do—even if that might seem unspectacular to others, such as B. cleaning rooms in Walt Disney World.

The book encourages readers to discover the specific jobs they really love rather than a dream job or career — and why you shouldn’t be looking for roles only because they offer prestige or higher salaries. Some of his recommendations seem contradictory – don’t trust the opinions of others, listen to those who want to enable you to do the things you love. And Buckingham shares a lot about his personal career path, made possible by discovering what he loved about data analysis, a stutter that held him back in childhood, and his divorce. There is also a lot of concrete advice: just start instead of thinking endlessly about whether it’s right; What you do for a living always trumps who you do it with and why you do it.

love + work towards a manifesto for improving the education system and a guide to better parenting, but at its core it’s about finding the career or set of careers that suits you best by pursuing what you love to do . Who does not want that?

“Going Remote: How the Flexible Work Economy Can Improve Our Lives and Cities,” by Matthew E. Kahn

How will the great remote working experiment that many of us have undertaken during the pandemic lockdown work in the long term?

Urban economist Matthew E. Kahn attempts to examine this from an American perspective go far awayemphasizing that we can get more out of remote work opportunities if we can also anticipate its challenges as they arise.

He points to four specific social challenges that existed before the pandemic: we spent too much time commuting; rents were too high in America’s most productive cities; The local economy stagnated in many rural areas and in post-industrial cities; and many women and minorities have not had the same economic success and access to opportunities as white men.

In three parts – “Workers”, “Firms” and “Locations” – the author examines the short- and medium-term benefits for employees that will help overcome these challenges, how companies are adapting to working from home and how the Rise of remote work can affect “superstar” cities like New York.

The most obvious benefit for workers is less commuting, but again that doesn’t mean everyone is moving to the countryside and city life is diminishing – young people in particular will appreciate personal time and the hustle and bustle of the city. In the meantime, organizations can reduce office space but face challenges as to where to locate now and how to ensure distributed workers feel productive and engaged.

Subsequently, he says, this feeds into what is happening with New York and San Francisco, as post-industrial cities like Baltimore, Cleveland and Detroit may begin to compete for workers because they are more affordable places to live.

“By influencing the geography in which successful people live in the United States, the rise of WFH is creating new opportunities for economic growth in areas that have lagged behind for decades,” writes Kahn.

“Productive Tensions: How Every Leader Can Manage Innovation’s Toughest Tradeoffs,” by Christopher B. Bingham and Rory M. McDonald

The road to becoming a better leader has always been long and rocky. Dynamic environments require constant adjustments, but few leaders know how to manage the pressures created by destabilizing forces. In their new book, Bingham and McDonald, both business school professors, explore techniques to make everyday tensions more productive for executives looking for new growth opportunities.

The guide addresses eight critical tensions that innovators must overcome and offers a portfolio of strategies extracted and generalized from the lived experience of successful leaders across a range of industries and types of companies, including P&G, the consumer goods giant, Instagram and the US military and Slack, the communications platform.

Based on research and interviews, the authors explain that the tensions inherent in innovation are continuous instabilities resulting from competing goals: efficiency or flexibility? Permanence or Change? product or purpose? The authors offer practical solutions to effectively manage any tension and better navigate the changing nature of businesses, characterized by novelty and uncertainty.

An interesting chapter, “Procrastinating or Ignoring the Data?” looks at using data in decision-making, the pros and cons, and a detailed example from Netflix. In summary, relying on extensive data analytics will help drive incremental originality, but also tends to discourage breakthrough innovation.

The model offered in the book simplifies challenges associated with the development of new products and services. The main message is to work smarter by anticipating the tensions that will arise and meeting them head-on, reducing the risk of having to halt innovation efforts and better positioning the organization to overcome complexity.

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