Spinning into Control: Improvising the Sustainable Startup

Spinning into Control: Improvising the Sustainable Startup

by Amiel Kornel

Hardcover(1st ed. 2018)

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Could everything we’ve learned about entrepreneurship simply be wrong?

There is no shortage of how-to books with ‘manual’ in the title, and articles promising ‘The 7 [or 6 or 10] key traits of successful entrepreneurs’, which breed an infectious optimism all too often quashed as startups fail. Amiel Kornel puts a persuasive case for an alternative theory that while grounded in the natural way great entrepreneurs operate resists reduction to a simple recipe or method.

Kornel, who has coached hundreds of entrepreneurs, believes that disciplined planning, lean management, and commitment are no guarantee of success. The limited resources of a startup demand knowing when and how to explore and ‘tinker’, artfully recombining ideas, designs, media, software, and materials on hand. True venture craftsmen harness and redirect the energy of startups that might otherwise spin dangerously out of control towards failure.

The stories of entrepreneurs like Sun Basket’s Adam Zbar, Minecraft’s Markus Persson, Y Combinator’s Paul Graham, and Metacode Technologies’ Joel Schatz are woven throughout the book, along with examples from beyond business, including legendary ocean-racing sailor Isabelle Autissier and acclaimed urban designer Gerard Penot. Kornel shows how meeting challenges in a broad variety of fields rife with uncertainty often relies on the ability to loosen the coupling between command and control, a prerequisite of skillful improvisation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781137513557
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan US
Publication date: 11/03/2017
Edition description: 1st ed. 2018
Pages: 166
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Since co-creating and incubating on-line publisher IDG News Service in pre-Internet 1985, Amiel Kornel has co-founded, managed, funded, and/or advised nearly 20 early-stage startups. He has also advised more than 15 multinational companies in the US and Europe seeking to launch new ventures, pilot startup accelerators, or redesign their innovation practices. Through his work as venture capitalist since 2004, he has qualified roughly 1000 startups as potential investments. A sailor, he divides his time between homes in San Francisco, California, and La Rochelle, France.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Ode to the venture craftsman

Chapter 2 Mastering the art of tinkering

Chapter 3 Mastering the art of conversation

Chapter 4 Mastering the art of wandering

Chapter 5 The improvisational startup

Chapter 6 Making do

Chapter 7 Making new

Chapter 8 Blending art and science

Chapter 9 Epilogue- The failsafe entrepreneur

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“As a venture capitalist, board member, and startup advisor, Amiel Kornel has seen plenty of startups win big — or die trying. Spinning Into Control shares with you everything he has learned about how an entrepreneur can combat the chaos that's characteristic of nearly every startup, and put his or her company on the right path.” (Scott Kirsner, Boston Globe entrepreneurship columnist and Co-Founder, Innovation Leader)

“Amiel provides a compelling contrast to mainstream guides for entrepreneurs. He charts a course for, primarily, the founder as product visionary. He acknowledges that, for many startups, the path to success is winding, and often recursive. But it’s also a thrilling voyage of discovery and improvisation with, one always hopes, a fruitful ending. The book deeply resonated with my own experience as venture investor and serial entrepreneur.” (Alex Osadzinski, Managing Director, Relias Learning and active angel investor. Formerly en-trepreneur at Sun Microsystems, Be, Vitria, and VC at Trinity Ventures)

“Amiel Kornel has been playing every role in the startup world for thirty years. Here he shares what he’s learned—that while principles—‘lean’, ‘minimum viable product’, etc.—can be useful, the successful entrepreneur is a resilient artisan, never in equilibrium, always learning, even (or especially) from failure. The book teaches the skills, and the mindset, of benefitting from the many sources of feedback available to the startup.” (Chris Meyer, Founder and CEO, Nerve; and author of best-seller BLUR)

“Anyone involved in realizing startup projects — from independent, bootstrapping entrepreneurs to managers of corporate venture accelerators — will discover actionable insights that help them hone their craft. Spinning Into Control breaks new ground by calling on founders to blend art with science. It spotlights the one skill most required, but often least developed, in the venturer’s toolkit, namely improvisation.” (Bill Hill, Founder and CEO, MetaDesign San Francisco and member, Board of Advisors, In-stitute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology)

“What a fresh and natural look at what it take to be successful as an entrepreneur. This book will help educators like myself teach ‘real-world’ entrepreneurship — as a craft that mixes both art and science. Kornel’s book informs founders, funders, advisors and corporate partners about the essentials of successful venture craftsmanship.” (Brett Bonthron, Digital Transformation Partner, Salesforce and Adjunct Faculty, University of San Francisco School of Management)

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