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The Titanic Effect (eBook)

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  • 74,179 Words

Leveraging decades of startup experience, The Titanic Effect uses stories of success and failure to reveal the often-overlooked human, marketing, and technical “icebergs” that sink startups, while drawing entertaining parallels to little known parts of the original Titanic story.

The Titanic is an iconic tale of what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. The tragedy is in that instant when the ship struck the iceberg, killing over 1,500 passengers and crew—and the hubris of thinking humans can build something too big to fail. But, while the iceberg may have represented the killing blow, what many don’t realize is that the demise of the Titanic was in fact a result of a series of small decisions and missteps across a number of dimensions.

Like the Titanic, venture failure is nearly always the result of a series of errors that were not obvious—problems that lurked beneath the surface—that were a consequence of navigating uncertainty in the early stages of development. Dr. Todd Saxton and Dr. Kim Saxton, business professors, and Michael Cloran, a serial entrepreneur, show similar patterns for entrepreneurial ventures by drawing on lessons learned from the Titanic, as well as case studies of failed and successful startups. Hidden debts accumulated early in the life of even the most promising startup can subsequently sink them. The Titanic Effect offers suggestions for entrepreneurs and investors on how to identify and manage these hidden debts and sail to the promised land.

Leveraging decades of startup experience, The Titanic Effect uses stories of success and failure to reveal the often-overlooked human, marketing, and technical “icebergs” that sink startups, while drawing entertaining parallels to little known parts of the original Titanic story.

The Titanic is an iconic tale of what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. The tragedy is in that instant when the ship struck the iceberg, killing over 1,500 passengers and crew—and the hubris of thinking humans can build something too big to fail. But, while the iceberg may have represented the killing blow, what many don’t realize is that the demise of the Titanic was in fact a result of a series of small decisions and missteps across a number of dimensions.

Like the Titanic, venture failure is nearly always the result of a series of errors that were not obvious—problems that lurked beneath the surface—that were a consequence of navigating uncertainty in the early stages of development. Dr. Todd Saxton and Dr. Kim Saxton, business professors, and Michael Cloran, a serial entrepreneur, show similar patterns for entrepreneurial ventures by drawing on lessons learned from the Titanic, as well as case studies of failed and successful startups. Hidden debts accumulated early in the life of even the most promising startup can subsequently sink them. The Titanic Effect offers suggestions for entrepreneurs and investors on how to identify and manage these hidden debts and sail to the promised land.


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by todd saxton, m. kim saxton, michael cloran

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