Startupland Book Summary - Startupland Book explained in key points
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Startupland summary

Mikkel Svane

How Three Guys Risked Everything to Turn an Idea into a Global Business

4 (31 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

Startupland by Mikkel Svane narrates the story of Zendesk's journey from a small startup to a global organization, sharing both successes and failures. It offers insights into the startup ecosystem and valuable advice for entrepreneurs on how to build a successful company.

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    It’s okay if your first start-up isn’t your last.

    When Columbus returned from his journey to the Americas, some of his peers insisted that any Spaniard could have “discovered” the new continent – all they had to do was sail westward. To prove them wrong, Columbus placed a hard-boiled egg on the table in front of them and challenged them to make it stand on its own. When they failed, he took the egg and gently tapped it against the table, creating a small, flat base that it could stand on.

    Columbus’s point was that it’s easy to do something once you know how – when you don’t, you have to take a risk. Start-ups work the same way.

    Founding a start-up is all about using your entrepreneurial spirit to try new things. The author worked on a number of projects before developing Zendesk, a software tool that enables companies to provide better customer support to their clients.

    His first venture created 3-D illusions based on 2-D patterns, using a piece of software. He ran his business alone: customers sent him orders and he sent the disks out himself.

    The author’s next product was a tool for producing websites, and it gave him his first taste of failure when it collapsed during the dot-com crash of 2001.

    When founding a start-up you also have to realize that sometimes the best ideas are not always the most interesting.

    At first, few people had faith in the idea for Zendesk, as they weren’t inspired by the thought of a company focused on providing better help desks and customer support. Alex Aghassipour, who ended up becoming one of the company’s core members, initially thought Zendesk sounded incredibly boring.

    Like Zendesk, a lot of important start-up ideas might seem unexciting at first, but they can become very attractive if they’re executed well. Take the company Dropbox, for instance. File-sharing isn’t the most exciting service to provide, but Dropbox has made this tedious task easy, interesting and even socially engaging.

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    What is Startupland about?

    In Startupland (2015), Mikkel Svane tells the origin story of his own company, Zendesk. He explains how he went from working on a small website in Denmark to becoming the CEO of a million-dollar trading company in the United States, and shares the insights he gained along the way.

    Startupland Review

    Startupland (2014) is a captivating book that offers an inside look into the world of startups and entrepreneurship. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With real-life stories and practical advice, it provides valuable insights into the highs and lows of building a successful startup.
    • The book explores the challenges and triumphs of starting a business, offering inspiration and guidance for aspiring entrepreneurs.
    • Through his personal experiences, Mikkel Svane offers a refreshing perspective on the startup journey, making the book a compelling and relatable read.

    Who should read Startupland?

    • Entrepreneurs and start-up founders
    • Anyone who wants to bring their business idea to life
    • People who aren’t afraid to take risks

    About the Author

    Mikkel Svane is the founder and CEO of Zendesk, a software company for customer support based in San Francisco.


    © Mikkel Svane: Startupland copyright 2015, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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    Startupland FAQs 

    What is the main message of Startupland?

    In Startupland, the main message is to embrace the uncertain journey of entrepreneurship and learn from failures.

    How long does it take to read Startupland?

    The reading time for Startupland varies. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Startupland a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Startupland is a valuable read for aspiring entrepreneurs. It provides insights and lessons from a successful startup founder.

    Who is the author of Startupland?

    Mikkel Svane is the author of Startupland.

    What to read after Startupland?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Startupland, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Alibaba by Duncan Clark
    • Why Startups Fail by Tom Eisenmann
    • Your First Million by Arlan Hamilton
    • Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson
    • Atomic Habits by James Clear
    • 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do by Amy Morin
    • Don't Believe Everything You Think by Joseph Nguyen
    • #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
    • Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson
    • The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki