The Brady Forrest Book Club
Welcome to Techronomicon, a series about the essential books every hardware startup should have on its shelf. This week, we’ve got a special 4-for-1 edition that we’re gonna call the Brady Forrest Book Club.
As VP of Highway1, Brady Forrest is always busy helping our companies move forward: imparting advice, guiding decisions, making introductions, and generally steering the ship that is Highway1, drawing on years of experience from places like O’Reilly Media and Khosla Ventures. What’s on his bookshelf?
First up: From Concept to Consumer by Phil Baker, a foundational read for anyone who has an idea for a product and wants to make it a reality. “It’s the first book I’d read,” says Brady. “Phil has 40 years of experience bringing a number of products to market at big companies and startups, and can walk through his own successes and failures. He shows you it’s not just a matter of being able to ship a product, but knowing what your market needs, and being able to cost and price a product right.”
But he considers its true value even more apparent in the current age of crowdfunding. “The #1 concern I have with crowdfunding is when people launch on Kickstarter as a test; I think it’s a waste of time. There are cases where it’s worked, but there are more where it hasn’t. There’s a huge danger there: if you test-launch on Kickstarter and you’re wrong, you’ve wasted an opportunity. And there are other ways to test your idea: Google AdWords, Facebook ads.
Eric has a bunch of different methods (like giving your prototype to customers for a week) that really help you out a lot more. If you’re thinking about doing a startup, I’d read this book.”
Brady’s next pick is a book every Highway1 company gets a copy of: Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson. “As soon as you’re gonna start raising money — as in, you’ve thought about it and you know that’s the route you want to take — read this book.” End of line!
Last, but by no means least, is something brand new: a book Brady helped write along with Renee DiResta and Highway1’s Ryan Vinyard. It is called The Hardware Startup: Building Your Product, Business, and Brand.
“It's a manual on how to do a modern hardware startup. It gives a contemporary view of what’s going on in the hardware and manufacturing space, and all the resources available to you. ”
Brady Forrest, VP, Highway1