"Starting a Revolution“ is a business book for revolutionaries. It aims to turn conventional business wisdom on its head and present you with some radical alternatives.
Daily life at startups and companies in today’s world is defined by competition, pressure, and aggression. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Company culture can be founded upon respect, collaboration, trust, purpose and shared growth. We believe that a different kind of startup culture is possible. And we are not alone. Several founders are already experimenting with unconventional approaches to management, demonstrating that a new way of working is possible. It is precisely these management approaches that we explore in this book.
We – that’s Naomi Ryland, co-founder of tbd*, the place to find a job with purpose, and Lisa Jaspers, founder of the fairtrade company FOLKDAYS – each founded our companies five years ago and we are always on the lookout for meaningful business advice. But much of the advice that we hear from the business and startup world, as well as what we read in business books, seems one-sided. Above all we’ve been struggling to find role models who don’t just adapt to the system, but who are genuinely trying to create something new.
Of the top fifty Amazon bestsellers in business and entrepreneurship, only five are written by women. Seeking new perspectives to counter this bias – perspectives from those at the forefront of business – we went in search of an under-represented group in business literature: female entrepreneurs who are creating their own world of work, rather than trying to be successful within established structures and systems.
Over the last year we have interviewed some of the most progressive female founders in the world. What we learned has radically changed how we want to run our own businesses, and now we want to share this vision of the future with you. Covering topics such as organizational development, leadership, recruitment, personal development, team building, innovation and fundraising, this is a hands-on business book for everybody who wants to rethink the world of work.
The women we have spoken to include these and many more:
Dame Stephanie (Steve) Shirley, who founded and built one of the biggest software companies in the world in the 1960s (programming Concorde’s blackbox amongst other things). She originally employed only female programmers working from home and pioneered the idea of giving substantial shares to her employees - making seventy of them overnight millionaires when it was floated in 1993.
Vivienne Ming, a theoretical neuroscientist based in San Francisco who is at the forefront of AI and machine learning, is a serial entrepreneur and has turned down executive jobs at many of the large tech companies like Amazon and Uber to pursue her own quest for purpose, which she embeds into her management practice.
Catherine Mahugo, software developer and serial entrepreneur, whose company has enabled hundreds of craftswomen in Kenya to sell their products to international brands such as Nordstrom, completely disrupting the traditional export supply chain.
Joana Breidenbach, a serial entrepreneur and anthropologist who is piloting the idea of self-management within her own company, transferring her role as CEO to her entire team.
We believe that together we can start a revolution. And we hope that you will join us.