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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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New Book: Brad Feld’s Burning Entrepreneur – How to Launch, Fund, and Set Your Start-Up On Fire!

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Inspired by my friend @FAKEGRIMLOCK, I’ve launched a new self-published book with the gang at Hyperink. It’s titled Beyond The Blog: Brad Feld’s Burning Entrepreneur – How to Launch, Fund, and Set Your Start-Up On Fire! and available digitally on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Hyperink.

For the next 48 hours, you can buy it for $2.99 from Hyperink. After that it’ll go to it’s normal price of $4.95. But, in either case you’ll get six copies for the price of one as with each purchase you get to gift five copies to any friend you want. If you are interested in my writing, I encourage you to buy a copy, give five copies to friends, and tell me what you think of it.

This is an experiment in self-publishing. Part of the way I learn is to just try stuff, see how it works, measure the results, get feedback, and iterate. I have a good understanding of how the traditional publishing industry works now that I’ve done two books with Wiley (Do More Faster and Venture Deals) and I thought working with Hyperink would be a great way to learn more about self-publishing. They approached me, told me they wanted to do an ebook based on a bunch of blog posts I’d written, and asked if I was interested. They reminded me recently that my reply was “Totally game to play – tell me what I need to do.” They hired an editor Jason Karpf who did an excellent job of curating a bunch of posts, organizing them into a coherent book, editing them so they all worked together, and putting it together in a clean, extremely readable format.

When I got the first draft and read through it, I was really psyched with which posts they had built the book around. While you can obviously find all the original posts on the web, seeing some of the best posts I’ve written about entrepreneurship organized in a cogent fashion was very satisfying. But I’ll leave it up to you to decide if it’s any good or not.

The outline of the book is on the Hyperink site. Grab a copy (or six) and tell me what you think. Feedback welcome!

Survey For Book on Startup Boards

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I’m working on a book with Mahendra Ramsinghani called “Startup Boards” where we are trying to provide clear best practices for how the boards of startup companies should work. You may recognize Mahendra’s name – he wrote The Business of Venture Capital which I reviewed recently.

This book is part of my continuous effort to dramatically improve startup company boards. I’ve been on hundreds of boards and have been to thousands (or tens of thousands) of board meetings and way too many of them are bored meetings instead of productive sessions consisting of the leaders, owners, and board members for a company.

Give us a hand and take 5 to 10 minutes to fill out our survey on Startup Boards. It can be anonymous or include you name and email if you are willing to be interviewed in more depth.

Book: My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey

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My grandfather had a stroke when he was 80. He lived another three years, trapped in his mind. Whenever I saw him, I think he recognized me, but he couldn’t really speak and had trouble reacting to anything I said to him. He was clearly very frustrated, and often angry – not at me, but at his inability to communicate. I’ve always imagined that inside his mind he knew everything that was going on, but he just couldn’t get the words out.

A few months ago I watched Jill Bolte Taylor’s incredible TED talk about her stroke and wrote about it in my post I’ve Found NirvanaI thought it was stunningly awesome and bought Taylor’s book My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey.

I read Taylor’s book tonight. I wish I had read this book when my grandfather had his stroke. Taylor is a brain scientist so she combines her intensely personal experience with a deep understanding of how the brain works. She presents this in a way that is easily understandable and directly ties it to her experience. While she acknowledges that there is much to learn, I found her description of what happened and her subsequent analysis to be extremely accessible.

She covers her eight year healing process with a focus on the first year. The puzzle pieces fit together brilliantly. While they are very Jill Bolte Taylor specific, she provides a superb roadmap for helping anyone who has had a stroke to heal.

On top of all of this, Taylor spends a lot of time talking about what she’s learned from this experience, how she’s changed how she thinking about life, and how she’s modified her own life view to have a much more positive experience on this planet.

If someone close to you has had a stroke, this book is a must read right now. Given the prevalence of stroke in our society, I’d encourage everyone to read it, for at some point it’s highly likely that someone close to you (including yourself) may have a stroke of some sort. I know that if it every happens again in my world, I’ll have an substantially better understanding of – and capacity for – being helpful.

Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist

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My partner Jason Mendelson and I are psyched to announce that our book – Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist – has been published and is now available. We are also relaunching AskTheVC – the companion website to the book that we maintained for several years, went dormant for a while, but is alive with content once again.

The book originated in 2005 when Jason and I wrote a long series of posts on this blog about a typical Venture Capital term sheet. It took us a year or so to get all the way through it, but it was fun and generated an enormous amount of positive feedback from entrepreneurs (and would be entrepreneurs) who told us how helpful it was for them to understand how a VC term sheet actually worked.

People regularly suggested that we turn the blog series into an actual book. Until about a year ago we’d simply encourage people to PDF up the posts and do whatever they wanted with them. We got great feedback from students and entrepreneurs all over the world who said they were on the receiving end of the posts, that the posts had been used as the curriculum for a class, or that they had simply referred to them during a negotiation and they were “more helpful than their lawyer.”

After I wrote Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup with David Cohen (the CEO of TechStars), Jason and I decided to write Venture Deals. We knew the term sheet series would only be a small part of the book and would have to be re-written, so we just got to work. Once again, it feels amazingly good to “ship the book” – it’s remarkably hard work to get from “an idea for a book” to an actual book.

For those who think this is just a reprint of the blog posts, they make up less than 20% of the book and have been completely rewritten. The table of contents gives you a feel for this.

  1. The Players
  2. How to Raise Money
  3. Overview of the Term Sheet
  4. Economic Terms of the Term Sheet
  5. Control Terms of the Term Sheet
  6. Other Terms of the Term Sheet
  7. The Capitalization Table
  8. How Venture Capital Funds Work
  9. Negotiation Tactics
  10. Raising Money the Right Way
  11. Issues at Different Financing States
  12. Letters of Intent – The Other Term Sheet
  13. Legal Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know

While it’s a chewy topic, we’ve tried to keep it light, fun, and enjoyable. But we’ve also tried to make it a must read for any entrepreneur, or would be entrepreneur, or student interested in entrepreneurship, or junior lawyer that is working on deals, and our parents. We’ve created a dynamic companion site at AskTheVC, are working on a teaching guide, and have a few entertaining surprises up our sleeve that will be launched in early September.

Since I’m a shameless book salesman, you’ll be hearing plenty more from me on this blog. But for now, go take a look at Fred Wilson’s wonderful review titled Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist.

The Startup Marriage

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Amy and I have just launched a new project we are working on together called Startup Marriage: Balancing Entrepreneurship and Relationship. It includes a blog, a tweet stream, and a book (hopefully by the end of the year.)

Since the beginning of 2010 I’ve written two books. The first, Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons To Accelerate Your Startup, was with David Cohen, the CEO of TechStars. The second, Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer And Venture Capitalist, was with Jason Mendelson, one of my Foundry Group partners. Wiley published both of them and I’ve learned a lot about writing a long form book. I’ve also enjoyed the process and the work immensely, except for the final, mind-numbing edit cycle.

Amy and I have been talking about writing Startup Marriage for several years. Do More Faster’s last chapter is on Work-Life Balance and I have written a lot about Work-Life Balance on my blog. While there is always more to learn and figure out, Amy and I have gotten a lot of things right, although we’ve had plenty of ups and downs along the way as we’ve figured this stuff out.

We’re spending a good chuck of our time in Paris and Italy writing together. Our goal is to have a solid draft of the book done by the time we get back to Boulder after Labor Day. We haven’t decided whether to self-publish or go with a publisher this time around – we’ll see how we feel when we get a little closer to the end of the draft. In the mean time, we’ll be blogging regularly on the Startup Marriage blog about a wide variety of topics, including the experience of writing a book together. We hope you’ll follow us and participate!

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