Literature On Scaling Up

However, I feel, there is one kind of reliable content that is not easily available on the Internet. The kind of content that goes deep into a subject, analyzing it exhaustively and giving the reader a nuanced perspective of the topic. Let me narrate a personal experience. 

At The Smart CEO, we’ve two strategic business units: the media business and a content marketing studio that assists client companies in creating blogs, case-studies, whitepapers, CEO-authored articles and brand-owned digital magazines. This is a business with linear growth, and I had a few questions for myself: How do we scale this up rapidly? Can we integrate the two business units and pursue hockey-stick like growth? Can I transform this into a business that is venture capital fundable, where the business could solve a major problem for a large number of customers? 

I was scouting around the web, hoping to stumble upon some nuanced articles that answered some of these questions. While I did find some brilliant articles, I must admit that, I was influenced the most, not by these articles, but by a collection of books that I read.

The experience also taught me that the world of books, serve a very different purpose to the reader, compared to all the articles we read online. Well-written books have the power to transform your approach to a problem, giving you a completely new perspective of what you’re dealing with. 

Here, I am going to recommend the five books that really helped me rethink my business plan, to build enormous scale: 

  • The Startup Playbook by David S. Kidder 
  • Zero to One by Peter Thiel 
  • The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz 
  • The Elephant Catchers by Subroto Bagchi 
  • Plan B by John Mullins 

I’d confidently argue that there is no collection of articles on the Internet that would do the same job these books did to my thought process. I was particularly influenced by Kidder’s Startup Playbook, which is a collection of insights from 41 entrepreneurs, mostly from the Valley. What Kidder defines as a Playbook, is nothing but a set of core beliefs, tools, methods and approach adopted by these entrepreneurs who have implemented rapid growth. 

Having said that, I am not taking away the power of short articles, especially the ones we publish in The Smart CEO! 

Hope you enjoy reading this edition.

Prem Sivakumaran is co-founder & CEO of Growth Mechanics, a leadership and entrepreneurship-focused business content company in India. Growth Mechanics publishes The Smart CEO, a publication focused on enabling peer-to-peer knowledge exchange among C-level executives and board members. The platform reaches over 1.2 lakh CXOs across its website, app, print publication & CEO Round Tables, and has featured on the cover India’s leading business leaders/founders from Infosys, Mindtree, Tata Sons, ICICI Bank, Biocon, Yes Bank and several others. In addition of Smart CEO, Growth Mechanics also organises the Startup50 Conference & Awards, an annual event to recognize India’s top 50 startups every year. Startup50 Alumni include Freshdesk, Oyo Rooms, Urban Ladder, Capital Float, Paperboat Beverages, among others. Growth Mechanics’ primary business model revolves around linking CXOs and Brands around engaging content and has worked with India’s leading companies including Mahindra Group, Godrej & Boyce, BASF, Airtel, Tata Docomo, Fiat, IDA Ireland, Yes Bank, Prestige Estates, Frederique Constant, Indian Terrain

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