No Vision All Drive

I love origin stories. Yesterday at the kickoff of Techstars FounderCon, I stood on stage with David Cohen and David Brown as we went through the origin story of Techstars, followed by a build up of what has happened over the past seven amazing years. As the 50+ people working for Techstars stood on the stage at the end, I got chills. Afterwards I got feedback from a number of the 500 people in the audience that it was extremely useful context for them, many of whom joined the extended Techstars network in the past two years.

A few weeks ago, FG Press released the first book in its Techstars series titled No Vision All Drive: Memoirs of an Entrepreneur. It’s written by David Brown and is the origin story of David Brown and David Cohen’s first company Pinpoint Technologies.

If you recognize David Cohen’s name, but not David Brown’s, you have a new David in your world. Brown was one of the four co-founders of Techstars (with Cohen, me, and Jared Polis). A little over a year ago, he joined Techstars full time as one of the three managing partners – the other two being David Cohen and Mark Solon. Brown runs the organization day to day and Solon manages all the fund and capital formation activity.

While I’ve known Brown for seven years, Cohen and Brown have worked together for 25 years. Pinpoint was a self-funded company that was their first entrepreneurial endeavor. Like many other startups, it had many ups and downs but the David’s created a very successful, profitable business that was acquired by ZOLL (a Boston-based public company) in 1999. Brown stayed at ZOLL for a while, left, and then came back and ran ZOLL Data (the division based on Pinpoint) until last year when he finally left for good.

When I read the first draft of No Vision All Drive I immediately realized this was a powerful origin story. It shows the personal and professional development of Brown and Cohen as they grew from two guys trying to figure out how to start their business to leaders of a real company. Brown’s reflections on the experience are detailed and demonstrates his incredible talents as an operator. If you know Cohen, after reading this book, you understand why they are perfect partners and have worked so well together over the past 25 years.

It’s a delight to get to work with both of these guys. No Vision All Drive gave me deep insight into Brown and how to be effective working with him, as well as what to expect in the context of his leadership and management style. And it made me even more optimistic about the future of Techstars.

Our goal with the Techstars Series is to get out a series of books applicable to all entrepreneurs at an affordable price. So, instead of doing the default Kindle $9.99 price, or tying the Kindle price to the hardcover price, we are charging $4.95 for the Kindle version. We know there is no marginal cost to each incremental e-book so we want to provide it at a price that entrepreneurs won’t think twice about, which we pegged at the equivalent of a Starbucks Venti Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino .

If you are interested in origin stories or just want to better understand the guys behind Techstars, I encourage you to grab a copy of No Vision All Drive: Memoirs of an Entrepreneur.

  • Rick

    Which do you think is worse – no vision all drive or no drive all vision?

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      You need the both. It’s part of why Cohen and Brown are such a great team.

  • http://www.semilshah.com/ Semil Shah

    In early stage, origin story is like 90% of the whole thing, I’m learning.

  • http://www.about.me./Mariah.Lichtenstern Mariah Lichtenstern

    What a great idea…

  • Ginger Cohen

    I have the original book. Does this have new content?

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Yup – new content but based heavily on the original.

  • http://ben.casnocha.com Ben Casnocha

    Finally, a publisher that understands the concept of marginal costs vis-a-vis e-books!

  • valencia

    cant even try to top that
    but I like a smart man

  • Kyle Nicholson

    Any plan on an audiobook version?

  • http://www.ThanksJonathan.com/?disqus Jonathan Drake

    Would like to see a way that all parties could be served. A buy one get one free would probably get more out into the world as it would allow “me” to be the good guy…even with a $10 price point. http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2004/03/buy_one_get_one.html and several other BOGO offers. An added bonus that had a deadline (webinar etc) would also increase sales. Having a place where they can “register” their book to get more content would allow you to have an audience to intro the next book to… *After all that I am going to buy it anyway so keep up what you are doing on the value creation side* re: “we are charging $4.95 for the Kindle version. We know there is no marginal cost to each incremental e-book so we want to provide it at a price that entrepreneurs won’t think twice about”

  • RBC

    Hey Brad, hope all is well. I’ve been checking recently and not seen any new posts. Hope it is just that you are writing for a book, or busy on a side project. We miss you!

    • David Cohen

      brad is off the grid on a break.

  • http://cointent.com Brad Ross

    Same price as a Venti Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino with 1/10th the calories?! Sign me up.

    Congrats on what sounds like 7 incredible years!