Jukebox Time recently got a chance to interview authors David Murray-Hundley and Kevin Doyle in regard to their book The Startup Rules. We got insights into their book, tips for budding entrepreneurs, and much more!
Q. Welcome to Jukebox Time! How did the idea to collaborate on this book come about, and what was the driving force behind your decision to consolidate your experiences into a guide?
The inspiration for this book emanated from a confluence of factors. Over the past two decades, I have been consistently queried about certain topics that are comprehensively addressed in this book. Furthermore, at Pario Ventures, we review hundreds of pitch decks every week, only to observe that early-stage founders often repeat the same mistakes that were prevalent years ago. In essence, The Startup Rules also serves as a refresher for seasoned entrepreneurs who might need a timely nudge. It’s a universal need; even I find myself in need of reminders occasionally.
Q. The entrepreneurial landscape has seen seismic shifts over the past few decades. In your combined experiences, what would you say has been the most transformative change for startups, and how is this reflected in your book?
David Murray-Hundley – I think the shift for me has been that it’s easier to do a startup in the first instance but also media is more aware and the chance to build a product is way easier. Whilst this is good its also a negative as it creates a lot of noise and some bad products.
Kevin Doyle – How you get to market. I think marketing yourself and make those first sales has seen a massive shift. Perception can be very easy to create but you need to have the substance behind the business.
Q. David, from Chairman to Co-CEO to Investor, you’ve worn multiple hats throughout your career. Which of these roles do you believe offered the most valuable lessons for entrepreneurs, and how have you incorporated these insights into the book?
Time scarcely suffices to delve into the multi-faceted roles I’ve occupied throughout my career. While my experience at Commerce One doesn’t directly contribute to The Startup Rules, I contend that it laid the cornerstone of my entrepreneurial perspective. As Chairman of both E-Fundamentals and The Bunch, I’ve garnered a cumulative decade of governance experience. With E-Fundamentals, a venture that transitioned from inception to acquisition by CommerceIQ within six years, I was the youngest board member and the experience was profoundly enlightening. The skills honed in that more corporate environment have been instrumental in my advisory roles within the startup ecosystem. Contrasting that, The Bunch was a far less mature business, undergoing frequent changes but fraught with more errors, largely attributable to an inexperienced team. As an investor, my vantage point is noticeably different from that of a board member, offering yet another layer of nuanced understanding. In summation, irrespective of the hat I don — Chairman, CEO, Investor, or Advisor — the experiences often resonate with a sense of déjà vu, albeit manifesting at different phases of business development.
Q. Kevin, given your pioneering role during the internet’s infancy, how do you perceive the evolution of tech startups from then to now? Are there foundational principles from those early days that you believe remain unchanged?
In the incipient stages of the internet, the technological tools at our disposal were markedly rudimentary—think sluggish modems and limited bandwidth. Fast forward to today, and the metamorphosis is astounding. Innovations in technology have not only democratized access but have also exponentially accelerated the pace at which new business models can be conceived and legacy systems revamped. Technological advances such as cloud computing, high-speed data transmission, artificial intelligence, and ubiquitous mobile connectivity have revolutionized the landscape. Moreover, these advances have facilitated a smoother entry into global markets, which were once hard-to-reach bastions. Yet, it is imperative to acknowledge that the foundational principles governing tech startups remain largely unaltered, a sentiment reflected in the core tenets of our book. What has introduced a new dynamic, however, is the advent of artificial intelligence. I prognosticate that AI will serve as a catalytic force in the emergence of new business models, thereby leading to a proliferation of tech startups and, concomitantly, a heightened rate of turnover within the sector.
Q. Writing a book with two distinct voices and experiences can be a challenging endeavor. Were there any points of contention or disagreement in what should be included or emphasized in the book?
Kevin and I share a working relationship that spans nearly three decades, beginning when he was my first boss in New York. Over the years, any potential friction or disagreements have long since been ironed out…
Q. Beyond the actionable rules and insights, what is the overarching message or legacy you both hope to leave for budding entrepreneurs who pick up your book?
The entrepreneurial journey is far from linear; expect it to be a rollercoaster of highs and lows, opportunities and setbacks. Take pleasure in the process because, more often than not, things will not unfold as meticulously planned. Your adaptability and resilience in navigating these uncertainties will be as crucial as your original vision. It’s imperative to strike a balance—never allow the rigors of entrepreneurship to impinge upon your mental well-being or family life. Should you find the scale tipping unfavorably, it’s a moment to pause and reevaluate. Above all, relish the journey; it’s not solely about the destination but also about the experiences, lessons, and personal growth that accompany you along the way.David Murray-Hundley, often referred to as “The Grumpy Entrepreneur”, is a multifaceted entrepreneur with extensive experience across the UK’s most innovative enterprises. Holding pivotal roles from Chairman to Co-CEO to Investor, David’s expertise is evident in his leadership roles at e-Fundamentals, AAM Group/MyCarDirect, and Pario Ventures. He is the author of notable books including ‘Vision 2025 – The Startup Forecast’, ’50 Ways for Startups to Make Money from ChatGPT’, ‘The Startup Rules’, ’50 Ways for a Startup to Raise Investment Using ChatGPT’, and ‘Web 1.0 – The Dotcom Era Defined’. David’s entrepreneurial journey is chronicled at TheGrumpyEntrepreneur.co.uk and Parioventures.com. A proud dad to two daughters, he is based in the UK and is recognized for his transformative growth strategies, strategic exits, and keen eye for innovation.
Kevin Doyle is a seasoned tech entrepreneur with a career spanning several decades. His journey began in the mid-1990s as the CTO of BVR, where he played a pivotal role in its transition after its acquisition by Chase, leading to the formation of Intellisys in New York. Kevin’s forward-thinking approach was evident when he pioneered groundbreaking web projects during the initial days of the internet boom. Demonstrating his business acumen, Kevin successfully sold his Tring-based company, EPL, to a London Stock Exchange-listed firm. As a co-founder of Pario Ventures, Kevin has overseen over 100 global investments, ranging from startups to high-profile IPOs. Today, Kevin continues to inspire and guide budding entrepreneurs, sharing his invaluable experiences and insights, most recently as a co-author of “The Startup Rules.”
About the book: “The Startup Rules” provides budding entrepreneurs with a comprehensive guide based on the real-world experiences of its authors. Rooted in their decades-long journey in the tech world, the book offers over 100 actionable rules and insights that cater to 90% of startups. From ideation to scaling, from fundraising to exits, this book serves as a practical roadmap for anyone aspiring to venture into the startup ecosystem.
Order your copy now: The Startup Rules