The $100 Startup


The new reality is that working at a job may be the far riskier choice. Instead, take the safe road and go out on your own. – Chris Guillebeau

A bold statement! But reading this book will make it sound not that crazy.
This is the first business book I read this year, and really glad that I picked this one. Although the focus is a little bit too much on information business, this is full of great ideas and inspirations for any kinds of small business. What’s more, this is packed with real examples, with real numbers. For example, you will be surprised to see how much these people are making a year. I was surprised to find one of my favorite bloggers, and his annual income. Now, that’s a first.
What if you could turn that hobby of yours into your own business? Magic of this book is to make you think it is completely doable. And fun.

I had been traveling for nine months now. One thing I learned so far is how many hidden opportunities this world possesses. Yes, our world is big. Way bigger than one can imagine, and I’ve only been to a tiny tiny portion of it. I’m guessing less than 1%. Maybe a lot less. Yet, I start feeling like “frontier” is everywhere if you look carefully.

We are living in wonderful time. The world is still huge place, but what used to be faraway lands got much closer. Depending on product or service you are providing, you can take whole world for your market.


Give them the fish

One of the most interesting ideas presented in this book was the concept of “giving the fish.” The idea is based on famous proverb;

Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. – Lao Tzu

Good philosophy in general, but not in business. Listen to what Karl Marx said.

Catch a man a fish, and you can sell it to him. Teach a man to fish, and you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.

This does not sounds fair, and sounds like it’s about taking advantage. This is exactly why I used to hate the idea of being business man. (long time ago…)

But no, it’s actually about helping people. There are people who almost always want to know “how to fish” (like myself), but many actually just want a fish, without having to learn the detail.

Many businesses are modeled on the idea that customers should come back to the kitchen and make their own dinner. Instead of giving people what they really want, the business owners have the idea that it’s better to involve customers behind the scenes… because that’s what they think customers want.

Another interesting point along this line is how customers say what they want, but they actually want different things. Good example is airline tickets. You know how we always complain about small leg spaces, long check-in lines, or tasteless inflight foods. Some airlines tried to answer them, but found out no matter what customers say, what they really want is the cheapest possible tickets.

Even looking back my short business experience, this does make sense…


This book has many interesting tips on starting small business. Some are new to me, others are not so much. But I think this book not so much about how-to advises, but the value itself.

We can help people by doing something we genuinely enjoy, and if we could add a bit of designing and planning, we could make money. And anyone can do it with certain amount of determination and effort. That is a really really liberating idea.


The $100 Startup: Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better to Live More
Chris Guillebeau
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I’ve been focusing on travel blog (Japanese) for a while.

Soon I will be ending the first phase of our vagabonding travel, and am likely to do much more readings (believe or not, I had been busy traveling, and hadn’t done much reading). That means I will be writing here more often. I am also looking forward to doing something new I’ve been wanting to try. Time is exciting.