On A Roll

by Wojciech Adam Koszek   ⋅   Jan 13, 2013   ⋅   Menlo Park, CA

Author guides us through his life from a NYC hot-dog stand to going public and then buying back the company back. Really enjoyed it. Get it only if you like biographies and analysis from the battlefield.

Since the first sentence in this book I knew it’d be a very interesting lecture. Lets say that after the first sentence I knew I must read this book no matter how bad it’ll be :)

It was great, not to say “Excellent”.

Sometimes I’m pretty surprised why people like Jonas bother to write books, but I think it’s just to try something different. And from boredom.

Book covers the entrepreneurial rising of Jonas, who looks like humble and modest, but truly exceptional individual: a kid, who knew exactly what’s going to happen in his future from the very early years of his life.

Story about starting business at the hot-dog stand reminded me Warren Buffet story of newspaper delivery. I’m pretty impressed how friendly US is hard working people, including young kids.

Let me tell you – selling hot-dog in a self-made stand when younger than 18 in the 1995–2012 timeline would be … literally impossible. So not sure how magical were ’70s in the US, or how magical US was in general. However, author achieved that. Moreover, it was in New York City..

Very interesting thread is Jewish heritage of the author, and lots of casual stories interleaved in the main text.

Main morals are probably to look around and search for things other people don’t see. Like Christmas trees.

Next thing is to follow grandma’s advise and not give away too much of the ownership of the business.

Against what daddy says, to share in business, since letting other guy do business and share the plate can result in good deals.

The value of the team was emphasized. I was pretty surprised moving back and forth from Harvard to NYC didn’t kill author’s business and that he actually passed everything.

This I think is the single biggest proof about author’s exceptional abilities and brain capacity.

Sticking with old friends looks like a major strategy of the Jonas too.

The way several deals were make was interesting. Looks like even with capital, and a bit of interest and concern, you can learn a lot. Author did at least 2 bargains deals (with publishing company and with space for phone callback thingies), where he had to pay nearly 0, and get lots of $$$ back.

Ideas for growing a company were interesting too, but I started to feel like after this part of book, I’ll start learning lots of dark knowledge about Wall Street. I wasn’t disappointed.

Looks like taking your company to IPO is like dealing with a group of guys, who all know each other and hang out together, and have their own communication channels for exchanging super-hot and top-secret information.

I was surprised that the number of VCs and law-firms which could handle this sort of action in 90’s was so small.

Unfortunately coupon for IDT services expired in 1998, and I think it wouldn’t have applied to used-books anyway. Oh well.

Howard, if you read this, I hope you know I trust IDT services are just OK :)

“The Phoenix Project”
“How to Get Rich”

Subscribe for updates

Once a month I send updates on the new content and hints for software engineers.

Liked it? Share it!

About the author: I'm Wojciech Adam Koszek. I like software, business and design. Poland native. In Bay Area since 2010.   More about me