• The Cold Start Problem

  • Using Network Effects to Scale Your Product
  • By: Andrew Chen
  • Narrated by: Andrew Chen
  • Length: 10 hrs and 28 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

A transformative guide to growing any business, from one of Silicon Valley's most esteemed investors.

Why do some products take off? And what can we learn from them?

The hardest part of launching a product is getting started. When you have just an idea and a handful of customers, growth can feel impossible. This is the cold start problem.

Andrew Chen has a solution. As a partner at the pre-eminent VC firm Andreesen Horowitz, he has invested in some of the world's fastest-growing companies. Along the way, he's become one of the most renowned bloggers in tech - hailed by Wired as a 'true Silicon Valley insider'.

Now, Chen reveals how any organisation can surmount the cold start problem. His solution lies in the network effect: the way a service improves as more people sign up. It means that today's leading products - from Wikipedia to to WhatsApp - get more powerful with every additional user.

Drawing on interviews with the founders of LinkedIn, Zoom, Uber, Dropbox, Tinder, Airbnb and more, Chen unpicks how to start and scale these network effects. He reveals how to build an 'atomic network' that is just big enough to sustain itself. He uncovers how to spot the tipping point after which growth takes care of itself. And he explores why some big companies manage to sustain viral network effects for years (while others quickly stop growing).

The result is a one-stop guide to scaling a product, road-tested at some of the world's most valuable companies.

©2021 Andrew Chen (P)2021 Penguin Audio

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A must read for modern tech companies

In my experience, entrepreneurs that fail to understand network effects are at a huge disadvantage.

That’s why I love this book. It offers a language to hold more sophisticated conversations about network effects, introducing terms like “zeros”, “atomic networks” and prying apart acquisition, engagement and economic effects.

Well done Andrew on a great piece of work.

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Entertaining but too biased on Uber's experience

I did enjoyed hearing this book but I had trouble believing all of the author stories. Seems too good to be true from my side.

Please note that I don't believe there is a differential value proposition on Uber ride business, so I might be biased as well.

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Best book of the year!!

Must read for folks who want to understand network effects in detail. Excellent story telling and enjoyed listening to every chapter. As a growth marketing professional have a very high regard to Andrew and this book is Andrew Chen classic!!

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  • R.
  • 12-09-21

Could have been a blog post

I had very high expectations because I've been following Andrew Chen for a while.
Sadly, this book is incredibly repetitive and filled with outdated advice. Basically, he's sharing the numbers he used to win the lottery last week. Worked for him but the chances for the same numbers to work for you and me are minuscule.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-13-22

Required listening

If you are in tech in any capacity at all, this is pure gold and required listening

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  • Mr Flav
  • 08-13-22

Masterclass on network effects

As a new network start-up founder, this book has given me ideas for early growth that are now my number 1 priority and a key traction point in my pitch deck. Thank you Andrew Chen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-28-22

Excellent read

Andrew - brilliant and hope to work with you on my next generation marketplace, Doji Ltd

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 03-22-22

the mindset behind the products that use networks

it's very helpful to build your mindset to build your next product using network effects tactics and methods. Full of stories and examples of big successful companies

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  • MR C.
  • 02-18-22

A bit repetitive

Feel like the book goes on too long. The actual content can probably be summarised in no more than two pages. Maybe the content would have been more effectively communicated over a blog post instead of a book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-29-22

5* - Would recommend to my network.

An excellent write up about the importance and impact of network effects. Brilliantly illustrated with relevant examples and practical applications (not just those that would apply to Uber).

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  • Conor Murphy
  • 01-10-22

Good overview of growth problems.

Good overview and will spark growth ideas. Andrew bundles in a lot of just standard scale benfits and mixes them up with network effects in a few places that feel like padding. it's also very under centric and if you're not planning on burning 100 billion dollars that means some of the lessons can't be applicable.

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  • Dylan Robinson
  • 12-30-21

Deeply informative

This book is one of those rare gems that leave you far more knowledgeable than when you began. It’s one I will inevitably revisit. I hope/expect it to become a book that is mentioned to every entrepreneur as a must-read.

Dillon

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  • William Keane
  • 12-09-21

Useful, practical, and fascinating. New frameworks

Useful, practical, and fascinating. The definitive book on growth for the fastest growing start-ups and tech companies. I read Andrew Chen's essays, but this is his masterpiece.

The book details a new framework and vocabulary for understanding network effects. It cuts through the growth jargon and debunks common misconceptions. It gives you that sheer joy of understanding. Intellectual goosebumps. More importantly, it provides new actionable insights which you cannot find anywhere else. The audiobook is easy to listen to. Highly recommend.

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  • Peter Worn
  • 08-27-22

must listen for founders

real life examples.made the difference to this awesome book

author voice perfect for narration

thank you for penning this book Andrew

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  • Braden
  • 06-02-22

Few insights, plenty of self-congratulation

Though there are some relevant insights, you'll have to get past the well-worn anecdotes, the name dropping, and the pervasive self-congratulation to find them.

Chen writes effusive praise for Uber, yet in 2021 still fails to provide any mention of its damaging culture and abysmal treatment of its gig workers. He gives us a case study on the success of Clubhouse, a social app that seems to have lost most of its initial relevance, seemingly by virtue of him investing millions of dollars of VC money into it. There's more to business than balance sheets and high valuations, but you wouldn't know it from reading this.

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  • led Cohen
  • 05-08-22

I've learnt a lot from hearing this book.

as a co-founder of Katalyst.Earth, a blockchain-based climate-tech startup, I've learnt a bunch of good concepts and ideas for growing our community.

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  • Mitch Bayliss
  • 03-10-22

Must listen

An engaging listen, Andrew provides a detailed exploration of all things related to building network based business.

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  • Niall
  • 01-24-22

Quality

Great listen. Plenty of good examples. Must listen if you’re building products at the start or any stage.

Will listen again in the next 3 months to refresh.

Thanks Andrew.