When I read the title of Cliff Lerner’s book, Explosive Growth: A Few Things I Learned While Growing to 100 Million Users — and Losing $78 Million, I chuckled to myself. In an era where it seems like every business or marketing book is focused on success, here was an author using his abysmal failure to speak to his audience.
I received a complimentary copy of the book to review for you, dear readers.
Explosive Growth: A Story Well-Told
What kept me engaged on my flight to and from Maui, when I dove into Explosive Growth, was Lerner’s story. After realizing that a Wall Street career was not for him, he launched an online dating startup (because, you know, that was supposed to be less stressful than working for Lehman Brothers). While the company had wild success after a media mention, the bigger story here is in the mistakes that he made along the way.
Lerner’s story reads like a business memoir (if that’s a genre), peppered with tips to avoid the mistakes he made. Frankly, the tips inserted in the story felt a little redundant to me after the story, but they fell in line with how business how-to books are written today.
Unlike many CEOs, Lerner admits his mistakes and offers insight into how he would have done things differently. Anyone in the startup space would benefit from his insight (such as: don’t leave all the money on the table when you’ve got it…don’t say no to high-profile investors like Mark Cuban, etc.).
The story ends well for Lerner, I think. He’s a media personality and celebrity entrepreneur who has, obviously, written a book. So the moral of the story here is: even if you fail in your business, you can always leverage that loss into something else.