SOURCE: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

April 04, 2012 08:00 ET

Noam Wasserman's "THE FOUNDER'S DILEMMAS" Presents Essential Lessons for First-Time Founders

KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwire - Apr 4, 2012) -

Author advises founders to "look before they leap" in the latest Kauffman Foundation Sketchbook at

Often downplayed in the excitement of starting a new business venture are some of the most important decisions entrepreneurs will face: Should they go it alone, or bring in cofounders, hires and investors to help build the business? Bad decisions at the inception of a promising venture lay the foundations for its eventual ruin. Using a data-driven approach not found in other startup books, "THE FOUNDER'S DILEMMAS: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup" brings academic rigor to the real-world questions that challenge and puzzle entrepreneurs throughout a startup's development.

Released today as the latest book in the Kauffman Foundation Series on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, author Noam Wasserman explodes the popular myths of "founding dilemmas" -- the difficult but necessary decision points founders must face that have important consequences for the founding team and their startups -- by drawing on extensive original data on nearly 10,000 founders in the technology and life sciences industries.

Wasserman, who teaches an award-winning course on entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School, narrates one of his lessons in a new Kauffman Sketchbook. "Take the Leap" presents three key areas founders should carefully evaluate before leaping into a new venture to anticipate their options and understand pitfalls to avoid: career capabilities, market needs and personal circumstances.

Intended to serve as an essential resource for every entrepreneur's toolkit, "THE FOUNDER'S DILEMMAS" gives founders and founders-to-be a trailblazing guide to making better decisions on the road to success. The book is available on Amazon and in bookstores.

Find "10 Surprising Facts" and the "Sequence of Founding Dilemmas" excerpts from the book at

Advance Praise for "THE FOUNDER'S DILEMMAS"

"Every entrepreneur faces trade-offs when founding and growing their company. As we discovered at YouTube, those early decisions have far-reaching impacts and lead to unforeseen pitfalls down the road. Noam Wasserman uses vivid anecdotes and deep research to expertly outline the key early choices that define a startup, making 'THE FOUNDER'S DILEMMAS' an invaluable alternative to real-world trial and error."
--Chad Hurley, founder-CEO of YouTube

"If you're starting a new company, you probably already know that a crazy variety of land mines await you. What if you had a map that showed exactly where they are and how to avoid them? Wasserman's recommendations are backed up by rigorous research -- a rare thing in books about entrepreneurship -- and his stories and anecdotes serve as accessible illustrations of situations faced by thousands of companies. Having seen these dilemmas derail countless startups, I wish every entrepreneur and prospective founder would read this book."
--Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup

"Looking at the real-life founder issues of many accomplished entrepreneurs, Noam Wasserman draws insights that are both universal and timeless. If you're thinking of starting a new venture, do your homework and read this first."
--Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO and cofounder of Yelp

About the Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare. Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people's eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. In addition, the Foundation focuses on initiatives in the Kansas City region to advance students' math and science skills, and improve the educational achievement of urban students, including the Ewing Marion Kauffman School, a college preparatory charter school for middle and high school students. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo. and has approximately $2 billion in assets. For more information, visit, and follow the Foundation on and

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