Reader’s Poem: The Startup Owner’s Guide

Thanks to the recommendation of Adam Gordon, President of Andaimo Games and adviser to the Benedictine Center of St. Paul’s Monastery, I have already benefited from the entrepreneurial wisdom in this text The Startup Owner’s ManualThe methods and principles, I am told, are so well tested that the National Foundation for Science uses this text as required reading for grant recipients. I believe it to be good asset for innovative Christian leaders, as well.

Startup’s vision—
untested hypotheses
in need of customer proof.

Seek and discover
the repeatable, scalable,
sustainable business model.

Discovering customers means
moving founder’s hypotheses to facts.
Summarize hypotheses,
including the problem solved
for the customer.
Get out. Meet real people.
Understand their problem more clearly.
Refine, refine,
return to conversations,
sharpening your suggested solution.

Create test points.
Use data to adapt or fold.

Now work toward a sustainable model.
Use learnings to create a sales roadmap.
Get out. Meet real people.
Understand what leads them
to engage, to take action.
Use learnings to communicate
benefits in more compelling ways.

Finally, with advisers and with honesty,
evaluate and validate—
fold or proceed.


Steve Blank and Bob Dorf. The Startup Owner’s Manual. Seventh printing. Pasedena, CA: K&S Ranch, Inc., 2012. Reader’s poem by Samuel Rahberg.

After I finish a good read and before I tuck it away on the shelf, I like to spend some time summarizing what was most important to me. I use the author’s own words, varied only slightly, and follow the themes that speak most strongly to me at the time. The example above remains a summary and serves only as my own interpretation, so I take responsibility for any deviation from the author’s original intent. Even so, may it be a helpful reflection for others and an encouragement to read a fine book in its entirety.

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