Every professional niche has its own terminology, mythology, history, and cultural norms. Fitting in involves learning the basics of this body of knowledge so you can be recognized as a member of the community and have intelligent conversations about topics of common interest.
Silicon Valley is, of course, no different. Getting ahead in startup central isn't just about having a fabulous entrepreneurial idea, impressive coding skills, or stellar business acumen (though those things will certainly stand you in good stead). It's also about understanding the unwritten rules and assumed knowledge of the place.
So if you're thinking of joining the startup world, either as a founder or an early-stage employee, is there a shortcut to learning the secret handshakes and essential backstory? Thanks to Tradecraft, a firm that trains those who want to move into startup jobs, now there is. The company has helpfully put together a lengthy list of essential reading for startup newcomers, covering the basics of the history, technology, and culture of the scene. It includes:
- "Silicon Valley Then and Now: To Invent the Future, You Must Understand the Past" by Leslie Berlin -- This article offers an historical explanation of how Silicon Valley became Silicon Valley.
- "Why Software Is Eating the World" by Marc Andreessen -- This seminal piece by investor Andreessen explains how technology is coming to dominate other industries.
- "The Thoughtbot Playbook" -- A handbook on how to run a software company.
- "Playing Startup" by Lee Hower -- An early PayPal employee explains Silicon Valley's work culture.
- "Rate-of-Learning: The Most Valuable Startup Compensation" by Kyle Tibbetts -- How to make early career decisions.
- "How to Build a Network From Scratch" by Danielle Herzberg -- Just what the title implies.
Tradecraft offers lots more suggestions, as well as commentary on what makes each choice essential reading. When you get through these, dig into the original post for more. Or, if you're looking for additional ideas to fill up your e-reader, get book suggestions from Bill Gates, Tim Ferriss, other entrepreneurs, or even Wall Street titans.
Startup veterans, what articles or books would you recommend to newcomers? Let us know in the comments.