The Smarter Startup

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The Smarter Startup provides a comprehensive look at why some startups succeed while others fail. By taking a more strategic approach to entrepreneurship, founders can improve their own outcomes. Written by Neal Cabage and Sonya Zhang, PhD, and published by NewRiders, a division of Pearson, the book at major bookstores and online at:

“The authors skillfully portray the activities that are necessary to move from a great idea to a great online product or service. Their advice should be valuable to entrepreneurs of all stripes.”

Thomas Horan

Professor and Dean
Claremont Graduate University

“You’ll be shocked by how much better your startup will become when you study entrepreneurship. This book will show you how.”

Andrew Warner


South by Southwest

The book debuted and sold out at SXSW! Check out a video of the festivities. Watch Video →

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Meet the

Neal Cabage


Neal has successfully founded and sold two online startups, experiencing the full lifecycle of a startup business. He has consulted for major brands such as, AIG, and Disney. He has spoken at leading conferences on topics such as online market discovery and data-driven conversion optimization. more →

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Sonya Zhang, PhD


Sonya is a professor at the College of Business Administration, Cal Poly Pomona. She holds a Ph.D. in Information Systems and Technology, an M.S. in Computer Science, and an MBA. Her research focuses on Web Development and Internet entrepreneurship. Her work has been published in top journals and conferences. more →


A Sneak Peak
Look Inside

It is easier to start a business now than at any time in modern history, particularly an online business. The cost and complexity of launching a startup have fallen precipitously compared to even a decade ago, but there are clear challenges that result from this new dynamic. Because it’s so inexpensive to start a business online, a lot of people are doing it. In fact, if you’ve spent any time digging for that great unexploited online opportunity, you’ve likely already realized how difficult it is to find. If that was not enough, you're not just competing with other ambitious startups in your own backyard—you’re up against every ambitious startup around the world.

The purpose of this book is to provide a conceptual roadmap for addressing these challenges. We discuss the process of finding and validating opportunities, strategic alignment with competitors and external forces, actionable advice for setting up a business, building a team, and developing a product. We’ll walk you through the entire process, from making the first decision to become an entrepreneur to launching your first online business, and we’ll tackle the significant strategic challenges along the way.