June 2017

10 Books On Every Startup Founders Bookshelf

10 Books on Every Startup Founders Bookshelf:

Last week we had our first All Day AMA event on Pinguin and it was a huge success! Pinguin users got a chance to interact live with a group of young, successful and hungry entrepreneurs in the startup space.

During the event, a lot of users were asking about books each host was reading so we compiled a list of some of their recommendations as well as some others that should be on every startup founders bookshelf:

startup, book, business
The Lean Startup By Eric Ries
people, profit, book, business
People Over Profit By Dale Partridge



business, startup, book
The Hard Thing About Hard Things By Ben Horowitz
business, startup, book
Zero To One By Peter Thiel
chat app pinguin chat ios chat app
Hooked By Nir Eyal


chat app pinguin chat ios chat app
Without Their Permission By Alexis Ohanian
real estate, business, invest
The Real Estate Game By: William J. Poorvu
business, tools, startup, success
Tools of Titans By Tim Ferriss
Hacking Growth By Sean Ellis
charity, good, business, innovate
Start Something That Matters By Blake Mycoskie



Introducing Pinguin 2.0 with fun new features!

Since our initial launch, we have been hard at work figuring out exactly what our communities want. While Pinguin is the “Chat app for nerds.” We found that us nerds like to have some fun too. That’s why we’re packing Pinguin 2.0 with everything you need to have the most fun and informed conversations possible.

So what’s new?

In-App Browser: Want to reference some song lyrics or find a link to an article you would like to share? Browse the web right inside of the app, copy the link and return right back to the conversation to share it.

Photo Upload: Our Beta allowed photos taken in the moment. We quickly found that people love to edit their photos or share their favorite memories stored on their camera roll. Now you’re able to share your best moments with your channels without limits (Video Upload Coming Soon!)

GIFs: Who doesn’t love GIFs? We’ve integrated GIPHY into 2.0 so you can react to the conversation with a well-placed cat GIF.

Live Events/AMAs: We’ve opened up AMA channels for some of our favorite influencers to chat directly with their audience. Check in and see if any of your favorite influencers are live!

We’re constantly learning from our community and will continue to build Pinguin to be the best communication tool for you guys. We hope you enjoy 2.o and continue to give us feedback. Check out our official ProductHunt post to find out more about 2.o!

Introducing Pinguin’s All Day AMA Event!

This Thursday, June 15h we will be hosting our first ALL DAY AMA with some pretty incredible hosts. We have reached out to founders, journalists, and influencers across industries to bring this lineup together. Check out our hosts below and be sure to join us on Pinguin for an event that is sure to be both fun and informative no matter what industry you work in!

AMA Host: Kelly Ann Collins

Kelly Ann Collins is an entrepreneur and advisor with expertise in social media, communications, branding and business development. She’s the founder of Vult Lab, a social media strategy and business development company. Kelly Ann is also the co-founder, president and CMO at Kittr, Inc., a software company that’s redefining the way influencers, bloggers, small business owners, startups and nonprofits post to social media.

AMA Host: John Henry

John Henry is a serial entrepreneur, investor and managing partner at Harlem Capital PartnersAt the age of 18, John left college to pursue what became his first company, an on-demand laundry service. Within just two years of launching Mobile City, the company was successfully acquired. Henry works with early stage companies both through his non-profit incubator, Cofound Harlem and through his minority-owned venture firm, Harlem Capital Partners. John also is the host of ‘Open For Business’ Podcast.

AMA Host: Thomas Ma

After being rejected to over 100+ internships, Thomas Ma decided to venture into entrepreneurship to prove myself. Thomas Co-Founded Sapphire Apps, which has a network of 100+ influencers with a reach of over 100M followers. Sapphire Apps combines ASO strategies with influencer networks to help mobile companies increase their mobile engagement. In addition, Thomas is a career coach at ‘Career Podium’ which is a fresh, modernized and technologically advanced solution for job seekers and employers.

AMA Host: Manu ‘Swish’ Goswami

Manu (Swish) Goswami is a 19-year-old sophomore from Toronto, Canada studying Peace, Conflict, Justice Studies and Ethics, Society and Law at the University of Toronto. He is an award-winning serial tech entrepreneur and innovator, UN Youth Ambassador, early stage tech investor, LinkedIn campus editor, social media personality and TEDx speaker. ‘Swish’ is one of the world’s youngest venture capitalist, winning Canada’s Top 20 under 20 award. He is currently focusing his energy on writing a book on personal branding and growing his businesses.

AMA Host: Taylor Lorenz

Taylor Lorenz is a journalist and editorial strategist. Currently, she is the Senior Editor and Director of Emerging Platforms at The Hill where she covers national politics and the Trump administration. In Addition, Taylor also is a tech reporter for Mic.com where she writes about digital culture, social media, memes, and internet stars. With an impressive resume that includes consulting for the Daily Mail, Refinery 29, The Atlantic, WordPress, and Maxim, Taylor also wrote articles about YouTube stars, conducted on-camera interviews for People.com, and provided content strategy for emerging platforms such as Snapchat Discover and Wishbone.

AMA Host: Niv Dror

Niv Dror is the head of social and content strategy at Product Hunt. After graduating UC Santa Barbara at 20, Niv joined Rothstein Kass as an associate focusing on Hedge Fund and Venture Capital clients, where he also led the Pricing & Valuation team. He is one of the youngest candidates to pass the CPA exam at age 21.

Pinguin Book Club: People Over Profit

This month the Pinguin Team read a very important book, Dale Partridge’s ‘People Over Profit’. The book explains the four stages of honesty and deception and how companies can avoid ending up in the latter stages in the first place.

POP drills home three lessons:

Lesson 1: All companies start out honest.

Lesson 2: Don’t try to avoid transparency, it’s a fool’s game.

Lesson 3: Become a better consumer, because half the responsibility is on you.

Our Take Away:

While most business books focus on strategy and tactics, this one is more about business philosophy. It’s very easy to get caught up in tactics. As a business, your goal is to grow and for a lot of company’s, growing means making money fast and doing whatever it takes to do so. When you operate with speed you often cut corners. We are by no means saying speed should not be your goal but this book makes you think about your moves before you make them. It’s very valuable to be methodical in your movements when growing your company.

For Pinguin, our goal is to bring tremendous value through building communities. You cannot do that by cutting corners. We know that community building is the most authentic form of social engagement and we are focused on making sure our company makes people a first priority. The word ‘user’ is often used to describe a person who downloads your app. We want to make sure we never take a user for granted but forgetting that they are also a person.

Pinguin Book Club: Without Their Permission

We have read many books that seek to inspire and motivate entrepreneurs on their quest to change the world with an ambitious startup. When we picked up ‘Without Their Permission’ our goal was to gain insight into the mind of one of the internet’s most successful community builders, Alexis Ohanian. The reason I start off like this is because this book is different than all the other books we have read. While it absolutely motivates and inspires, it felt real. It was written in a way that not only connected but entertained. Also being an NY boy myself, anyone who can quote Jay-Z and Winston Churchill has my full attention. (the footnotes are something you do not want to ignore either #gold)

The book serves as a blueprint into the conception of Reddit, the internet’s now #4 biggest website in the US. In addition, WTP gives a closer look at what it takes to start a startup, with Alexis’ biggest advice being to simply ‘please start’:

“the only advice I can give that I guarantee is true is that you’ll never succeed unless you try. Just please start. You don’t need anyone’s permission, certainly not mine”

Ohanian drops knowledge throughout the book by sharing his experiences with other companies he has started and invested in. By doing so he paints a clear picture of the startup world and the highs and lows that come along with it.

Our take away:

If your currently building something, you know first hand that it’s hard work. And if you have something build, then you for sure know it’s also hard to get it off the ground. This book is one that does not sugar coat those hardships, but what I liked is that it doesn’t spend too much time highlighting them. (also he reinforces the importance of a cute mascot 🙃)

We already know what we are trying to do is fucking hard. Hearing that other people (successful ones at that) have dealt with similar hardships, is the truth we all need, but how they overcame them and the perseverance, is way more valuable to us as a team. ‘Without Their Permission’ served as words of encouragement in the form of shared experiences (both good and bad).

Our goal with Pinguin is to develop a community centered around high quality, useful and entertaining conversation on the things that you actually care about. And that is why we encourage people to #FollowWhatYouLove. As a company, are living that tagline every day and while the journey has been hard, we cannot wait to see where it leads us. 🐧