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Summary

The real story of what it takes to risk it all and go for broke.

Conventional wisdom says most startups need to be in Silicon Valley, started by young engineers around a sexy new idea and backed by VC funding. But as Mikkel Svane reveals in Startupland, the story of founding Zendesk was anything but conventional. Founded in a Copenhagen loft by three 30-something friends looking to break free from corporate doldrums, Zendesk Inc. is now one of the hottest enterprise software companies, still rapidly growing with customers in 150 countries. But its success was anything but predestined.

With revealing stories both funny and frank, Mikkel shares how he and his friends bravely left secure jobs to start something on their own, how he almost went broke several times, how they picked up themselves and their families to travel across the world to California and the unknown, and how the three friends were miraculously still together for Zendesk's IPO and (still growing) success. Much like Zendesk's mission itself - to remove friction, barriers, and mystery in order to make customer service easier and more approachable - Startupland removes some of the myths about startups and startup founders. Mikkel's advice, hard won through experience, often bucks conventional wisdom and entrepreneurial tropes. He shares why failure (whether fast or slow) is awful, why a seemingly boring product or idea can be the most exciting, and why giving back to the community is as important as the bottom line.

From how to hire right (look for people who are not offended by swearing) to which personas generate the highest response rates, Mikkel answers the most pressing questions from the perspective of someone still in the trenches and willing to share the hard truth, warts and all.

©2015 Zendesk, Inc. (P)2015 Audible Inc.

What members say

Average customer ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent, well narrated. Quite inspiring.

One of the few startup books which doesn't boast about how much money they made, it is well written, honest and well narrated.

Thoroughly recommend listening/reading this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Would have been nice if it included more detail

more detail would have fleshed out the story. Detail about how they got their first customers, about how they designed their first iteration, about how they determined pricing.

I read this as a SaaS startup founder, and whilst it was an entertaining story, and instructive, I was left wanting more 'meat on the bones'.

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Decent, down to earth listen.

A concise and insightful story that kept me engaged through to the end. Didn't even realise Zendesk was a billion dollar company.

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Fabulous insight

I thoroughly enjoyed this book - a great insight into starting a business and the mistakes you will make along the way and how to avoid them!

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love it

great story and love how it is told and didnt want to put it down.

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Inspiring. A must listen for budding Entrepreneurs

Lays the struggle for success bare, in a warts and all tale of repeat failure, never say die attitude & to focus on the relationships of people, to make it to the top.

The best book on entrepreneurship I've listened to thus far.

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Fascinating Insight Into the Mind of a Start Up

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Often the PR team get to polish the biography and backstory in the "rags to riches" stories but Mikkel's journey seems very genuine, honest and open. His frank and almost blunt manner makes for a refreshing change to the over polished "performances" of some start up biogs I've listened to.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Startupland?

Recounting the arguments and genuine disagreements he had with his fellow founders and the honesty to share those early moments when you try and look more professional than you are to people who matter. Having started in a garden shed I felt he really conveyed a time that I too had shared.

Which character – as performed by Christopher Price – was your favourite?

Mikkel's the only character really as it is his biog

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed at the tales of the greenhorn in Silicon Valley

Any additional comments?

A few moments I identified with and some wisdom "from the trenches" mean that I'd happily listen to this again.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jess
  • 08-04-15

It was sometimes tough, but hey look at me now.

Mikkel Svane and the people at Zendesk clearly didn't have it easy. But I think the author fails to really communicate the feelings that came with the process of building the company and overcoming those tough times. It all feels a bit to nice despite the words being said.

Also the narrator gets a lot of the names wrong. (I'm Danish like the guys from Zendesk)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Rene
  • 04-04-17

amazing

totally worth it! it's an amazing book and very inspirational!
helps you get a clear insight!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jon
  • 29-04-16

Engaging and Entertaining

Good story that is well written and we'll read. I hope it is the catalyst that gets tech companies to have difficult conversations and be more inclusive. Made me think and act differently in the work place.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jose
  • 04-04-15

A good story

This is the story of how three friends got together to create a very successful company. The author sounds honest and down to earth. There are no new ways or advice on how to manage your business. Its up to you to get from the story what you think applies to you. Overall, a good book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Josh
  • 04-06-18

Great book

Great insight into what went into this startup from concept to full fledged public company. Recommend for anyone who enjoys hearing/reading about how startups were created.

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  • Splento Photographers On Demand
  • 10-05-17

Brilliant. Highly recommend.

As the leading global photography platform, this book was a very good and timely boost for team Splento. It repeated many ideas we have discovered ourselves, reinforced and deepened our understanding of the platform model and gave us lots of ideas for future innovations. Huge thanks from team Splento.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Shaji John
  • 09-02-17

wonderful read. lot of information

read this wonderful book if you ate planning to start a business. lot of j helpful information

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-04-16

Not much in detail

I was expecting more about the business and business tips. Although the book narrates about the company well it was lacking a little in the interaction.

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  • Ivan
  • 08-03-16

Inspiring story!

It was very refreshing to hear of the raw and real story of this epic start up! Very inspiring.

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  • Pandurang Yachwad
  • 01-10-15

Great inspiring listen

Excellent story with great narration. This book tells us it's never late and if you believe in dream it's doable.