The Titanic Effect

Successfully Navigating the Uncertainties that Sink Most Startups

Non-Fiction - Business/Finance
254 Pages
Reviewed on 06/20/2019
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Author Biography

Todd Saxton
Dr. Todd Saxton, Associate Professor and Indiana Venture Faculty Fellow at the IU Kelley School of Business, is an award-winning professor of strategy and entrepreneurship. Todd has advised, helped launch, and invested in hundreds of startups spanning life sciences, software, sports, consumer products, and services. Todd serves on the board of multiple entrepreneurial ventures, including VisionTech Angel Partners, the largest angel investing group in Indiana, and Diagnotes, a venture-funded health IT firm he helped found. He has published numerous book chapters and articles on corporate and startup strategies for success. Todd hails from New Jersey, and has lived in Virginia, the DC area, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Bloomington IN, with stints in England and Australia. He currently lives in Indianapolis, IN.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite

The Titanic Effect by Todd Saxton, M. Kim Saxton, and Michael Cloran is a non-fiction business book meant for entrepreneurs. In this book, Todd, Kim, and Michael have compared the sinking of the famous ship, the Titanic, after its collision with an iceberg to running a startup and navigating through all of the hidden dangers and pitfalls that accompany starting a new business. The book starts off with an introduction to the topic and also informs the reader that the book is structured as a parallel tale of the Titanic and a modern startup business. This is then explained via various comparisons and case studies under chapters such as the various “Oceans” of the business world including the Human Ocean, Marketing Ocean, Technical Ocean, Strategy Ocean, the Core Concepts of Strategy, what “icebergs” to watch out for in the modern business world of startups and venture capitalism, and much more. There is also a detailed glossary at the end.

The Titanic Effect: Successfully Navigating the Uncertainties that Sink Most Startups by Todd Saxton, M. Kim Saxton, and Michael Cloran is a well-structured book and the tale of the Titanic definitely makes it an entertaining read. The authors have focused on many hidden or little-known aspects of business such as hidden debts which can go beyond simply the financial costs, something which I thought was very helpful. The unique theme of the book with the history and even photos of the Titanic itself make it fun and easy to apply the concepts in the startup field. This book will surely be useful to anyone about to launch their own startup business, or a new entrepreneur or business owner, and even for investors to know what to look for to determine the profitability of a business.

Edith Wairimu

The Titanic Effect: Successfully Navigating the Uncertainties that Sink Most Startups by Todd Saxton, M. Kim Saxton, and Michael Cloran takes a closer look at the devastating event of the sinking of the Titanic and reveals more details that led to its sinking. These details are likened to the challenges that many startups face and that are often overlooked. The work explores startups that have failed and those that have succeeded to evaluate what works and what does not. The term “hidden debts” is adopted in the book to investigate unintended consequences that arise from dealing with uncertainty in the four major facets - Human, Strategy, Technical and Marketing - of a startup.

The Titanic Effect incorporates charts, diagrams, and indexes to expound on the information contained. This enables the work to be practical and easily applicable to anyone wanting to build a startup. The experience of the authors in the areas explored is evident in the book as the work digs deeper to highlight and explain even the most hidden issues that affect startups, along with their solutions. The interior organization of the book is done in such a way as to highlight focus areas, potential danger points and important answers to hidden debt aspects. The inclusion of the initial processes of different startups gives a clearer picture of the advice contained in the book. The Titanic Effect by Todd Saxton, M. Kim Saxton, and Michael Cloran is a must-read for any entrepreneur regardless of their experience in the business world.

Astrid Iustulin

What is the connection between startups and the Titanic? The answer is (potentially) this: failure. Starting up a business can be tricky and, if done irresponsibly, it can be money and time-consuming. People will find themselves in trouble soon, but financial debts are only the most obvious downsides of the situation. There is another kind of debt, hidden debt, that is equally harmful. These inner debts are the consequences of wrong decisions entrepreneurs take about their business. This is why startups remind one of the Titanic. The Titanic is the symbol of epic failure, but its sinking after the impact with an iceberg is only the last in a series of wrong decisions taken long before her maiden voyage. The Titanic Effect is the perfect title for this book by Todd Saxton, M. Kim Saxton, and Michael Cloran.

T. Saxton, M. Kim Saxton, and Cloran are accomplished writers who have worked with startups for several years. They have explained in the simplest terms every step an entrepreneur needs to take to start a business or launch a product. Their logic is effective, but the tone is lively. The Titanic Effect is enjoyable as well as instructive. The examples are of the best quality because they refer to real startups and people. Not every concept is new, and anyone who has studied marketing strategy is surely familiar with some of them. However, The Titanic Effect is a clarifying compendium and its conclusions are enlightening. I do not think any entrepreneur would like to miss this useful information that will help them navigate the troubled waters of startup strategy.