How They Started - How 25 Good Ideas Became Great Companies

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How do you turn a good idea into a great business?Lots of us have ideas we think would make great businesses. Most of us never do anything with those ideas. Maybe it's because we're really happy with our jobs, maybe it's because we'...
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How do you turn a good idea into a great business?

Lots of us have ideas we think would make great businesses. Most of us never do anything with those ideas. Maybe it's because we're really happy with our jobs, maybe it's because we're not confident that our idea would really work. Or maybe it's simply because we don't know where to start.

This book is about 30 people like you. They had an idea, and went on to start a business. Those businesses are all extremely successful and most are now household names all across America.

With success stories ranging from retail and gaming to social media and the restaurant business, How They Started relives the humble beginnings of companies such as Coca-Cola and Disney, Google and Twitter, Zynga and Chipotle Grill. Through personal interviews with key sources - including founders, investors and past employees - each profile reveals how the company took its first tentative steps and subsequently became the famous name it is today.

Written by Carol Tice, regular writer for Entrepreneur Magazine, and David Lester, who set up a highly successful software company in Farmington, CT and now runs a company dedicated to supporting start-ups and entrepreneurs, How They Started is an enlightening and fascinating book that answers key questions for each business, such as:

-What happened first?
-How did they choose their name?
-How much did it cost to set up?
-Where did they find suppliers?
-How did they get their first customers?
-What problems did they run into - and how did they overcome them?

Profiles include: Blackberry, Chipotle Grill, Coca-Cola, Disney, Dropbox, eBay, Electronic Arts, Etsy, Gatorade, Google, Groupon, IBM, Jamba Juice, KFC, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Pinkberry, Spanx, Trip Advisor, Twitter, Wholefoods, Zipcar, Zynga.

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Editorial Reviews


“For anybody like me who’s an entrepreneur (or dreams of becoming one), this book is a welcome reality check. Yes, pluck, luck, and being smart enough to know you need some good mentors are vital. And as for the reader in all of us, who likes a good tale, How They Started delivers big time, too! It’s the personalities involved, and the values that drive people to be bold and creative that I found most endearing.” - Dan Hill, author ofEmotionomics

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpfulBy Moi on May 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
So... EITHER the idea of writing a book on how companies got their start OR writing in the brilliantly informative and clear style of the authors would be enough to make me enjoy this great business book.

However, the combination, represented here, is really remarkable.

First the concept: read about how some great companies started from a good idea, the roadblocks they encountered, the good decisions (and sometimes bad) they made. This is a great, straightforward concept. You almost never will end up, as an entrepreneur (of which I am one), entirely imitating the path of another company, no matter how successful. This is because of the different variables, such as product line and timing, that are inherent in every business situation. Nonetheless, having these remarkable examples to a) benchmark and b) inspire you is incredibly useful as a pick-me-up, idea generator, and in many cases actual guidebook.

Now, to the style in which this book is written. Many business authors, ironically, aren't actually particularly good writers. On the other hand, some really are good writers, and yet notheless fail to write in a way that maximizes ease of reading and comprehension. Ms. Tice and Mr. Lester, however, have shaped literally every sentence in a way that goes down easy and actually sticks in memory in a very retrievable way. For a business book, that is my highest compliment.

Micah Solomon
Author of "High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service"


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