Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £25.99

Buy Now for £25.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

A transformative guide to growing any business, from one of Silicon Valley's most esteemed investors.

Why do some products take off? And what can we learn from them?

The hardest part of launching a product is getting started. When you have just an idea and a handful of customers, growth can feel impossible. This is the cold start problem.

Andrew Chen has a solution. As a partner at the pre-eminent VC firm Andreesen Horowitz, he has invested in some of the world's fastest-growing companies. Along the way, he's become one of the most renowned bloggers in tech - hailed by Wired as a 'true Silicon Valley insider'.

Now, Chen reveals how any organisation can surmount the cold start problem. His solution lies in the network effect: the way a service improves as more people sign up. It means that today's leading products - from Wikipedia to to WhatsApp - get more powerful with every additional user.

Drawing on interviews with the founders of LinkedIn, Zoom, Uber, Dropbox, Tinder, Airbnb and more, Chen unpicks how to start and scale these network effects. He reveals how to build an 'atomic network' that is just big enough to sustain itself. He uncovers how to spot the tipping point after which growth takes care of itself. And he explores why some big companies manage to sustain viral network effects for years (while others quickly stop growing).

The result is a one-stop guide to scaling a product, road-tested at some of the world's most valuable companies.

©2021 Andrew Chen (P)2021 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Cold Start Problem

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    56
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    47
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    48
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • R.
  • 09-12-21

Could have been a blog post

I had very high expectations because I've been following Andrew Chen for a while.
Sadly, this book is incredibly repetitive and filled with outdated advice. Basically, he's sharing the numbers he used to win the lottery last week. Worked for him but the chances for the same numbers to work for you and me are minuscule.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

the mindset behind the products that use networks

it's very helpful to build your mindset to build your next product using network effects tactics and methods. Full of stories and examples of big successful companies

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A bit repetitive

Feel like the book goes on too long. The actual content can probably be summarised in no more than two pages. Maybe the content would have been more effectively communicated over a blog post instead of a book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

5* - Would recommend to my network.

An excellent write up about the importance and impact of network effects. Brilliantly illustrated with relevant examples and practical applications (not just those that would apply to Uber).

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good overview of growth problems.

Good overview and will spark growth ideas. Andrew bundles in a lot of just standard scale benfits and mixes them up with network effects in a few places that feel like padding. it's also very under centric and if you're not planning on burning 100 billion dollars that means some of the lessons can't be applicable.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Deeply informative

This book is one of those rare gems that leave you far more knowledgeable than when you began. It’s one I will inevitably revisit. I hope/expect it to become a book that is mentioned to every entrepreneur as a must-read.

Dillon

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Useful, practical, and fascinating. New frameworks

Useful, practical, and fascinating. The definitive book on growth for the fastest growing start-ups and tech companies. I read Andrew Chen's essays, but this is his masterpiece.

The book details a new framework and vocabulary for understanding network effects. It cuts through the growth jargon and debunks common misconceptions. It gives you that sheer joy of understanding. Intellectual goosebumps. More importantly, it provides new actionable insights which you cannot find anywhere else. The audiobook is easy to listen to. Highly recommend.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 18-06-22

Entertaining but too biased on Uber's experience

I did enjoyed hearing this book but I had trouble believing all of the author stories. Seems too good to be true from my side.

Please note that I don't believe there is a differential value proposition on Uber ride business, so I might be biased as well.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for srivatsa
  • srivatsa
  • 19-12-21

Best book of the year!!

Must read for folks who want to understand network effects in detail. Excellent story telling and enjoyed listening to every chapter. As a growth marketing professional have a very high regard to Andrew and this book is Andrew Chen classic!!