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On a warm September night in 2002, former acquaintances Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis reconnected at a mixer for new students at Harvard Business School. Alexis had just ended a four-year run at eBay during the dotcom boom and bust. Alexandra had just spent three years as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch. Now they were entering the country’s top training ground for future titans of Wall Street and the Fortune 500. Little did either suspect that five years later, they’d become famous not in finance or consulting or corporate management, but at the bleeding-edge intersection of fashion and technology. Gilt Groupe – launched by Alexis, Alexandra, and three colleagues in 2007 – is one of the most fascinating startups of recent years, with a valuation of more than $1 billion. And it all began with one bold idea: to bring sample sales online and change the way millions shop. As Alexis and Alexandra write about the day Gilt.com went live: “We had created a website that could potentially change the rules of retail, for both shoppers and brands. If shopping was traditionally a slow, leisurely activity that might consume an entire day, it would now be competitive, addictive, urgent, thrilling—a rush delivered at the same time each day. Shopping would become not just easier, but so much fun.” But turning that vision into reality wasn’t easy. Designers had long controlled their own sample sales by staging them in anonymous, makeshift locations and strictly limiting invitations. Those lucky enough to hear about a Marc Jacobs or Hermès sample sale would drop everything and run for dramatic, fleeting bargains. Why should elite brands support a new startup trying to replicate the experience online? And even if brands like Valentino, Christian Louboutin, and Zac Posen got on board, would shoppers embrace such a website? Would the kind of people who love high-end fashion really visit a new online sale each day? Was “accessible luxury” a breakthrough idea or an absurd oxymoron? Alexis and Alexandra share their perspective in this dramatic story of Gilt’s birth, rise, and evolution. They show how they juggled the conflicting needs of their suppliers, engineers, marketers, and potential investors. They explain how they blended their individual strengths and weaknesses and managed their rapidly growing team. They cover the growing pains of expanding into new categories like housewares, travel, and menswear. And they take us through the darkest moments of the recession when Gilt might easily have died. As you’ll learn from the true story of Gilt, anything is possible for those with the creativity to recognize a new opportunity and the perseverance to make it real.
The Mary Kay Way: Timeless Principles from America's Greatest Woman Entrepreneur is back in print and updated to reflect developments in today’s business environment for the modern entrepreneur. You will find inspiration and real, proven success principles that represents the forty-five year old success story of Mary Kay Ash, founder Mary Kay, Inc., the cosmetics company that provides women with unlimited opportunities for success. A foreword by Mary Kay’s grandson, also a company executive, introduces her timeless guide to entrepreneurial success.
Number of teams that applied to Y Combinator’s summer 2011 batch: 2,089 Teams interviewed: 170 Minutes per interview: 10 Teams accepted and funded: 64 Months to build a viable startup: 3 Possibilities: BOUNDLESS Investment firm Y Combinator is the most sought-after home for startups in Silicon Valley. Twice a year, it funds dozens of just-founded startups and provides three months of guid­ance from Paul Graham, YC’s impresario, and his partners, also entrepreneurs and mostly YC alumni. The list of YC-funded success stories includes Dropbox (now valued at $5 billion) and Airbnb ($1.3 billion). Receiving an offer from YC creates the oppor­tunity of a lifetime — it’s like American Idol for budding entrepreneurs. Acclaimed journalist Randall Stross was granted unprecedented access to Y Combinator’s summer 2011 batch of young companies, offering a unique inside tour of the world of software startups. Most of the founders were male programmers in their mid-twenties or younger. Over the course of the summer, they scrambled to heed Graham’s seemingly simple advice: make something people want. We watch the founders work round-the-clock, developing and retooling products as diverse as a Web site that can teach anyone program­ming, to a Wikipedia-like site for rap lyrics, to software written by a pair of attorneys who seek to “make attorneys obsolete.” Founders are guided by Graham’s notoriously direct form of tough-love feedback. “Here, we don’t fire you,” he says. “The market fires you. If you’re sucking, I’m not going to run along behind you, saying, ‘You’re sucking, you’re suck­ing, c’mon, stop sucking.’” Some teams would even abandon their initial idea midsummer and scramble to begin anew. The program culminated in “Demo Day,” when founders pitched their startup to sev­eral hundred top angel investors and venture capitalists. A lucky few attracted capital that gave their startup a valuation of multiple millions of dollars. Others went back to the drawing board. This is the definitive story of a seismic shift that’s occurred in the business world, in which coding skill trumps employment experience, pairs of undergraduates confidently take on Goliaths, tiny startups working out of an apart­ment scale fast, and investors fall in love.
Is it possible to run a multibillion-dollar corporation on the power of trust? Must you set aside your authentic self as you climb the corporate ladder? Is there another role for technology beyond saving costs and creating efficiencies? In The Power of Many, Meg Whitman, former president and CEO of eBay, speaks to these questions and more, identifying ten core values that steered her—and can steer any leader—to success without ethical compromise. During her decade at the helm of eBay, Meg Whitman transformed it from a tiny start-up into a nearly $8 billion global powerhouse, revolutionizing the way goods are bought and sold online. Fortune magazine twice named her the Most Powerful Woman in Business. Now, with the vitality, candor, and often self-effacing humor that is her trademark, Meg lays out the ten core values that she credits not only with her strategic success but with many of the joys and satisfactions of her private life. Values such as trust, authenticity, courage, and validation are not naive, Meg shows us, and they are definitely not a luxury. Rather, they are essential tools for success that go hand in hand with traditional business practices—like holding oneself accountable or growing a company efficiently. She believes they are the foundation of strong management in the twenty-first century. Today, technology and the transparency it brings demand that organizations demonstrate a character that aligns with the values of their communities. Meg illustrates the origins of her values and the underpinnings of her approach with compelling stories from her extraordinary career and her down-to-earth upbringing—from the harrowing twenty-two-hour system outage that nearly sunk eBay to the indomitable spirit of her eighty-nine-year-old mother, who grew up in Boston society but worked as an airplane mechanic during World War II. It was her mother, Meg says, who gave her “a bias toward action.” Here, too, are stories of finding her equilibrium during the time when she had young children, and in her marriage to a neurosurgeon with his own highly demanding career. Meanwhile, her experiences at some of America’s best-known companies, including Disney, FTD, and Procter & Gamble, offer valuable case studies of what can go wrong and right, and how even mistakes can be transformed into opportunities. Meg Whitman shows us that achievement can and should be teamed with optimism, trust, and honesty. The Power of Many offers the insights and motivation we need to propel ourselves to the next level—to scale, as Meg would say—in business and in life. From the Hardcover edition.
This down-to-earth, heartfelt business success story is designed to appeal to the ever-growing number of people who are drawn to home-based entrepreneurship and who are searching for successful role models. A dozen key lessons are illustrated with events from the author's personal and professional life in the field of luxury chocolate-dipped fruits.
While working together at a LA boutique, Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor became friends over the impossibility of finding the perfect T-shirt. Following their vision of comfortable, fitted T-shirts, they set up shop in Gela's one-bedroom Hollywood apartment with £200 and one rule: Whatever they did, they both had to be obsessed by it. The best friends' project became Juicy Couture. Pam and Gela eventually sold their company to Liz Claiborne for £50 million, but not before they created a whole new genre of casual clothing that came to define California cool.
The inside story of the meteoric rise of Groupon from startup to $30 billion online giant and the audacious genius behind it, founder Andrew Mason In late 2010, Groupon made an incredible gamble. Rather than take Google's $6 billion buyout offer, founder Andrew Mason turned the search giant down and decided to go it alone. The experts thought he was insane. Groupon was little more than two years old and staffed from top to bottom with twenty-somethings. The wild ride couldn't last, but Mason thought otherwise, and with knowledge of a possible IPO he liked his odds. A discount service that offers a deal a day at local merchants in countless cities in more than forty-three countries, Groupon is the fastest-growing company in Internet history and is as committed to innovating a new model for commerce as it is to creating an office culture and editorial voice based on radical transparency and absurd humor. Groupon's Biggest Deal Ever is the exclusive and unparalleled account of the incredible rise of discount giant Groupon and the compelling story of its offbeat founder Andrew Mason as he created a juggernaut of online commerce and ignited a consumer revolution.

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