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Book Review: Zero to Million by Venkatesh Rao

Zero to Million by Venkatesh Rao is an inspiring book on startup growth and much more. The book stretches a little over 90 pages, is full of insights that can help any naïve or struggling tech startup founder. To remind you, the author of the book is a successful startup founder. He is the man behind AppBrowzer, a famous super app in India, and flyy.com.


It has 7 chapters. The author begins doling out information in a simple and step-by-step way. The book discusses various tips and business models and examples of other companies. How all these helped some people raise millions of money and a successful company and to what extent Venkatesh considered them for his benefit – all has been nicely covered topic wise in the book.

The book kick starts with a relevant introduction about startups. Then, he takes us to his life, when he was a kid, college guy, and his first adventure with the Internet. As the book rolls on, we come to know about various things he tried to become a successful entrepreneur. Many would find him crazy to know that he started an Ola or Uber like business model with two second-hand cars. His personal experience of learning things and honing skills and clearing tough exams forms up an interesting read.

From the second chapter onwards, the book loses its personal and fictional tone, and rather looks excited to give too much inside insights and tips for the startup people. The author takes us through startup challenges, introduces about Product-Market Fit product, their adventure with their android app, what time they wasted, and how they learnt from the mistakes, and much more. In detail, there is a discussion on habit forming products and Hooked model. Venkatesh used a good number of screenshots for proper understanding and evidences.

By reading this book, one can make out that startup is not any random thing about investment or excessive marketing. The author is right in saying that it requires a proper mind shift to grow a product. After reading this book, you could possibly say why 90 percent startups failed. The answer lies in this book – because they did not do right things at the right time or their mind shift was shallow. After one time, the book focuses more on how AppBrowzer rose to become an eminent super app. The book is full of examples from Gpay, Dropbox, and many more. There has been wide coverage on referrals and rewards programs – and that case study of Dropbox was superb. How the world of the Internet changed due to apps and cloud computing is captured well in this book. The most dazzling USP of the book is its TFDB growth framework. In nutshell, this book is like full of case studies and white papers for startup folk.

Written in very simple language, this book can be read by all. The author has given a lot of information in just 94 pages, that’s a great feat in itself. A highly recommended book for product development, growth and scaling of a business through the lens of a successful startup founder of two products: AppBrowzer and flyy.

Buy from Amazon.

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