Are You Ready to Make Your Mark? The New Book from 99U

What do Dropbox, Nest, Uber, and Airbnb all have in common? Each began as a two-or three-person start-up operation that has been transformed, in seven years or less, from a small idea into a serious business—with a multibillion-dollar valuation to boot.

When you step back and look at lightning-fast growth trajectories like these, it’s clear that the rules of business have changed. Many of the classic tenets that have guided great companies for decades are now outmoded or irrelevant at best. We believe that the most exciting businesses today aren’t profit-driven, or even product-driven, they’re purpose-driven. And we want to see more of them.

That’s why we created the newest installment in our 99U book series, Make Your Mark, and went straight to the source, tapping 21 designers, founders, and entrepreneurs for their insights for this new breed of creative business on what’s new and different about building a business right now and how to thrive in this fast-paced, e-commerce-driven, socially connected world.

A quick sampling of the highlights: Warby Parker co-founder Neil Blumenthal explains why customers’ BS detectors are more sensitive than ever (and what that means for building a brand), Google X’s Sebastian Thrun discusses the importance of relentless iteration and fast failure, Buffer founder Joel Gascoigne articulates the unexpected benefits of adopting a policy of radical transparency, and Facebook’s Julie Zhuo makes the case for an approach to product design that’s so simple and streamlined it’s almost invisible.

As the book came together, we noticed certain themes bubbling up again and again that epitomized the core values of this new guard of creative entrepreneurs. And, refreshingly, they aren’t about money or profit—despite the billion-dollar examples mentioned above—but rather about making an impact.

We observed a renewed commitment to craftsmanship and the desire to create truly beautiful product experiences, a powerful focus on the importance of both giving and serving (your customers and your team), and a fierce dedication to building businesses that will change the world for the better. It’s not about manufacturing more widgets or having a great meeting or even getting your startup to that mythical, magical IPO, it’s about how to make stuff that really matters—and build businesses with meaning.

Whether you’re about to launch a new company or are considering how to retool an existing business, our hope is that Make Your Mark will offer you fresh thinking, practical advice, and the moxie to get out there and make something that matters. The book launches this week.

–> Get Make Your Mark

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