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. 🐧