Build the Damn Thing: How to Start a Successful Business If You're Not a Rich White Guy (Hardcover)
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The Wall Street Journal Bestseller featured in Bloomberg, Fast Company, Masters of Scale, the Motley Fool, Marketplace and more.
An indispensable guide to building a startup and breaking down the barriers for diverse entrepreneurs from the visionary venture capitalist and pioneering entrepreneur Kathryn Finney.
Build the Damn Thing is a hard-won, battle-tested guide for every entrepreneur who the establishment has left out. Finney, an investor and startup champion, explains how to build a business from the ground up, from developing a business plan to finding investors, growing a team, and refining a product. Finney empowers entrepreneurs to take advantage of their unique networks and resources; arms readers with responses to investors who say, “great pitch but I just don’t do Black women”; and inspires them to overcome naysayers while remaining “100% That B*tch.”
Don’t wait for the system to let you in—break down the door and build your damn thing. For all the Builders striving to build their businesses in a world that has overlooked and underestimated them: this is the essential guide to knowing, breaking, remaking and building your own rules of entrepreneurship in a startup and investing world designed for and by the “Entitleds.”
About the Author
Tech pioneer and investor Kathryn Finney is the founder and CEO of Genius Guild, a venture capital fund and studio. As the founder of social enterprise digitalundivided and its groundbreaking ProjectDiane report, Kathryn has invested in dozens of startups and venture funds led by founders and investors of color. Kathryn started digitalundivided after selling her company The Budget Fashionista, and she was one of the first Black women to have a successful seven-figure internet startup exit. A Yale-trained epidemiologist, she has been recognized for her pivotal work by the Aspen Institute, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Marie Claire, EBONY, Inc., Black Enterprise, and more.
“Kathryn represents the kind of leadership, courage, and ovaries that the future demands. She’s an investor and entrepreneur who’s kicking ass and denting the universe. She doesn’t give a shit about playing by the rules of the current elite and status quo. And this is what it takes to build great companies, organizations, and institutions, that break barriers in this post pandemic, post science, post truth world." – Guy Kawasaki, bestselling author of Art of the Start and Chief Evangelist of Canva
“Kathryn Finney is the mentor every founder needs. Her irreverent, pragmatic, personal advice shows entrepreneurs from all backgrounds how to win a seat at the table.” – Margot Lee Shetterly, author of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race and founder of The Human Computer Project
"Indispensable advice for entrepreneurs! Kathryn Finney will show you how to cut through the bias, prejudice and bullying too often disguised as "feedback" from entitled investors who pretend to be looking for innovation but who are in fact just matching obsolete patterns. She'll reveal how you can get the data, dispense with the BS, and build new companies for a better world!" – Kim Scott, Author of Radical Candor and Just Work
“Kathryn Finney is one of the most extraordinarily inspiring individuals I have ever had the good fortune to know. She continually blows me away with her creativity, her vision, and her abilities.” – Cindy Gallop, Founder and CEO of MakeLoveNotPorn
“The title says it all. If you’re not a Rich, White Guy this should be your textbook. Kathryn’s decades of experience will allow you to dodge many of the pitfalls that startup entrepreneurs encounter, especially those of color.” – Bevy Smith, host of SiriusXM’s Bevelations on Radio Andy and former cohost of Bravo’s Fashion Queens
“For far too long, the venture capital industry has not done enough to fund and support underrepresented entrepreneurs. Kathryn was one of the first innovators to shed light on the importance of levelling the playing field for more people in more places. Her book is a critically important roadmap for founders on their journey to launch and grow a ‘built to last’ company.”
– Steve Case, Chairman and CEO of Revolution, Co-Founder of AOL
“Kathryn has made a name for herself even among those of us who could not be more disconnected from the startup world. She has worked tirelessly to open doors for Black women entrepreneurs. Her wisdom is priceless and both she and this book will be cited in many future startup playbook success stories." – Jamilah Lemieux, columnist and renowned cultural critic and writer
“Build the Damn Thing is a pep talk and tool kit for anyone whose fabulous, scalable product is ready for funding. Kathryn reveals cheat codes, dismantles myths, and adheres to personal integrity, even when doing so is hard." – A’Lelia Bundles, great-great-granddaughter of Madam C.J. Walker and author of On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker
“Kathryn is a powerhouse thinker and doer” – Bracken Darrell, CEO of Logitech
“Hard earned knowledge, practical advice and an authentic engaging style combine to make this business building primer a must read for both wantrepreneurs and early stage business builders. The author's enthusiastic mantra "you got this" is a timely rallying cry for all of us. I plan to continue building the damn thing.” – Eric Collins, author of We Don’t Need Permission
"Finney has a realistic but inspiring perspective on what it takes to succeed, and quotes from Lizzo, Mariah Carey, and Cardi B are a fun touch. This is worth a look for aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs alike." – Publishers Weekly
"Inspirational, intriguing and practical, Finney’s toolkit is especially good for would-be entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs who have recently started a business, and business students. Highly recommended.” - Library Journal
“Kathryn Finney is laser-focused on encouraging people who don’t fit the mold of the stereotypical founder to jump in.” – Reid Hoffman, podcast host of Masters of Scale
“Startup founder and author Kathryn Finney shares small changes that helped foster her personal growth and strength as a leader.” – Fast Company
“Kathryn Finney seeks to level the playing field.” – McKinsey & Company