I didn't read this book, I devoured it. As as young entrepreneur, I was overwhelmed with the compelling and concrete examples of GenY approaches to business. Upstarts! is a fresh roadmap for any person, project, organization, or company looking to "get" how business (and the world) can thrive in the transformational days ahead. I bought three for my friends stuck in boring jobs!
"disrupting the status quo"
As an Entrepreneur, Upstarts is a great resource which proves that the creative force is alive and well. Youcan't help but feel energized while reading story after story of those who had the courage and desire to create or improve on what was already created. The following line best sums up the book for me: "why am I breaking my back on something that's not exciting to me." (page 84)It is that sentiment that resonates throughout the book while Donna Fenn describes each GenY Entrepreneur and how he or she has "rocked" the status quo. The book is written in a very readable style and thoroughly enjoyable.
After meeting Donna Fenn, I had to read her book Upstarts and I am glad I did. I had started my business Dura Doggie and it was essential for me to keep up on my business readings. It was not the typical "10 steps to success" type of read, but instead a boiling pot of stories and cases done on already successful Gen Y companies. An easy read filled with tactics, and lessons that will most certainly help your business grow. As the saying goes, "Two Thumbs Up"...well I give it four.
Report about how GenY entrepreneurs are shaking up business
Small-business expert Donna Fenn reports on the impact of Gen Y "upstarts" on the world of commerce. Entrepreneurial in spirit, as well as bold and brash, many Gen Yers have already formed their own highly lucrative companies. Indeed, some are now grizzled business veterans, having started their companies while they were still in high school. Many of their firms are Internet-based, while others are in more traditional business sectors. On the Web and in other industries, Gen Y companies differentiate themselves from the competition through clever use of technology, superior branding and imaginative business practices. getAbstract recommends Fenn's book to older businesspeople who want to know how these trendsetters operate and how to sell to the massive, affluent Gen Y market. This book also serves as a valuable learner's manual for Gen Y members who want to create their own businesses, but have not done so - yet.
First of all I love the layout of the book. While it has all the usual sections (intro, acknowledgements, chapters, etc) there is a "playlist" between each chapter. The playlist is basically the cliff's notes of the preceding chapter and I love that.
On to the content. The book is the story of a generation that refuses to play the corporate game invented for them my their parents and grandparents. It used to be popular to learn a trade, go to work everyday, collect your paycheck, have little, live simply and 45 years later the company that you built with your blood, sweat and tears would take care of you in retirement. My generation is faced with a much harsher reality which includes making investment choices within our own retirement vehicles (with little to no education on investing), dozens of jobs throughout our lifetimes and the shattered image of stability that huge companies once provided.
There are a few nuggets I got from this book. The first of which is that while we see the corporate monsters and their lack of commitment to employees who work diligently to improve the company and the bottom line we don't like the game. While most of us don't run companies with the big corporations resources we know what loyalty and commitment are. Todays small business requires results and when those results are achieved the rewards are more responsibility and a loyalty that exceeds the walls that make a company. While the status quo is seeking a candidate that has a certain number of years within a field we demand results. A company that is not highlighted within this book but easily could have and, presumably, would have been had Donna heard of it, is [...]. In one of their current job listings they ask for 3 years of experience and then add this:
"At least 3 years of experience are preferred, however drive and accomplishments are more important than the exact number of years experience, please highlight these in your cover letter"
We are changing the face of corporate America and how it is run. Those who adapt early will survive and those who refuse will fail to attract the truly creative, world changing people they so badly need.
Second, we will not demand a defined block of time but an end result. The expectation has already begun to change among some of America's biggest corporations including electronics giant Best Buy. They began using the Results Oriented Work Environment (ROWE) in 2006 (This story is highlighted on page 169 of the book) and their reward was a 35 percent increase in productivity. People stopped punching the clock and started getting their work done. Best Buy is swimming against the strong current that is corporate America and saying we don't need to see you, we need to see your results.
We are a generation that wants it all. We want the amazing job, long coffee breaks, recognition for the hard work and results we achieve and we don't want to wait until we're in our 50's to experience it. We are capable, we are chomping at the bit to achieve great things and companies like Best Buy provide the avenue for us to do exactly that.
Finally, I want to talk about what separates an entrepreneur and a dreamer. It is a simple one word answer that takes creativity, dedication and discipline. EXECUTION. Every story in this book represents a dream, a plan or a hobby that turned into something bigger than most people thought it would. From moving and trash companies to website development all entrepreneurs find themselves doing. They don't wait for their big break, they create it. Some come from families with money, some shut themselves in their bedrooms and offered free website enhancements to their favorite bands and others learn to bootstrap not only their companies but they sacrifice a lot of comforts like real food (eating ramen) and time off but they all took action.
That is the biggest piece of the puzzle that most people refuse to acknowledge in their quest for happiness, riches or success. They all wait for it to come to them. WAKE UP! It is not coming to you, you have to make it. Change your life, your family's life and the lives of so many within your community by getting up and doing something great.
I would not recommend this book to those who are comfortable and have no desire to be inspired by the stories of young people building successful companies. If you have the desire to change or need that extra boost of encouragement to get up and get out of where you are then this is the book for you. For me it fanned the flame, I have started a few companies and have yet to be truly successful but without question I will get there and the best part is I will know when I'm there and it may not be your picture of success.
They're young, they're brash, they're smart and they're77-million Generation Y is creating startups at anunprecedented rate, and their approach tobusiness is unlike anything you've seen.The generation described by the mediaas spoiled, entitled, even narcissistic, is provingthese notions false every day. Inspiredby the rock-star entrepreneurs of previousgenerations and driven by a burning desireto control their own destinies, GenY is rewritingthe entrepreneurial playbook one coolstartup at a time. Magazine writer Donna Fenn interviewedmore than 150 young CEOs to learnwhat makes them tick. While upstarts aremotivated by similar aspirations of pastgenerations, their way of doing business isradically different ;and it';s changing the wayeveryone must do business now. Upstarts examinesand analyzes this entrepreneurialrevolution to reveal eight critical lessons everyentrepreneur and marketer must learn.Fenn describes a generation of entrepreneursthat is highly collaborative and teamoriented.It's quick and alert when it comes tonew technologies. It's hell-bent on changingthe world. And it's totally impatient with outmodedbusiness models. The sooner you adapt to the new way ofbusiness, the greater chance you have togrow and profit in the years ahead. Upstarts provides key insight into: Building collaborative tribes Deploying technology to yourcompetitive advantage* Disrupting the status quo Deconstructing the GenY market Generating branding buzz Adopting a social mission Inventing the workplace of the future Reinventing your company Misreading GenY companies could be thebiggest business mistake you ever make. Thisforward-looking book serves both as a headsupto the far-reaching changes coming yourway and as a detailed guide to meeting theresulting challenges. The upstarts are here to stay. Are you?