The Smarter Startup: A Better Approach to Online Business for Entrepreneurs

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New Peachpit Book/eBook by Neal Cabage and Sonya Zhang Sells Out at South by Southwest

It is easier to start a business now than at any time in modern history—particularly online. The cost and complexity of launching a startup have fallen precipitously compared to even a decade ago, and because it’s so inexpensive, a lot of people are doing it. And they’re not just competing with other startups in their own backyard—they’re up against every online startup around the world. As a result, it is important to take a strategic approach to starting an online business.

The Smarter Startup, a new book from Peachpit on success strategies for Internet entrepreneurs, authored by Neal Cabage and Sonya Zhang, was developed by compiling lessons learned from hands-on experience, industry best practices, and established academic models. Exploring the reasons why some startups are more likely to succeed as well as common pitfalls and how to avoid them, The Smarter Setup is a guide to help readers strategically discover and build a startup.

Launched at SXSW, the book was written after Cabage spent several years obsessing over why some online products succeed and others do not. He has personally built, grown, and sold two online startups. The first was more successful than the second, despite spending considerably more time and effort on the second one.

As he began to discuss his theories with Dr Sonya Zhang, a professor at CalPoly in Los Angeles, she introduced a number of academic models that bridged the gaps and contributed to a more holistic explanation of the success dynamic. Together they began to formulate models to explain their theories and define a strategic approach to starting an online business.

One of the book’s key ideas is the introduction of the POEM framework (product opportunity evaluation matrix), which was developed in order to provide a conceptual framework to gauge the strength of an idea across a matrix of known success criteria. By using the POEM framework, entrepreneurs are held accountable for evaluating important aspects such as the customer, product, market timing, competition, and financial constraints.

The Smarter Startup is now available through Peachpit, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and other retailers worldwide.

About Neal Cabage
Neal Cabage has successfully founded and sold two online startups, experiencing the full life cycle of a startup business. He has consulted for major brands such as, AIG, and Disney. He is a thought leader in online product strategy and has spoken at leading conferences on topics such as market discovery and data-driven conversion optimization.

About Sonya Zhang
Sonya Zhang is a professor at the College of Business Administration, CalPoly Pomona. She holds a PhD in information systems and technology, an MS in computer science, and an MBA. Sonya’s research interests focus on user experience, web development, and Internet entrepreneurship. She has published numerous articles in leading journals and conferences.

About Peachpit
Peachpit has been publishing the industry’s best-selling books on the latest in photography, graphic design, Web design and development, digital video, digital lifestyle, and general Mac computing since 1986. Its award-winning books, eBooks, videos and applications feature step-by-step explanations, time-saving techniques, savvy insider tips, and expert advice for computer users of all experience levels. Peachpit is part of Pearson (NYSE: PSO), the world’s leading learning company. Learn more at

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