In advance of of the release of his new book, “The Ultralight Startup: Launching a Business Without Clout or Capital,” Onswipe CEO and cofounder Jason Baptiste is letting readers access the entire thing for free for the next 24 hours. Onswipe, which has picked up $6 million in funding from Yuri Milner, SV Angel, Thrive Capital, Betaworks, Lerer Ventures, and more, offers a nifty platform that lets publishers make their web content iPad-ready in a flash. Starting at 10am EST today, book will be available here . . . and in tablet form via Onswipe, naturally. (You didn’t think Mr. Baptiste got a book deal by being a wallflower about his product, did you?)
The book is being released by Penguin, the same publishing house that backs Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, and Nick Bilton’s recently-outed Twitter project. “It’s essentially the hands-on guide I wish I had five years ago to know how to go from idea to launch to traction to funding,” Mr. Baptiste said of his book, which will feature cases studies from Onswipe, as well as Twitter, Foursquare, and Dropbox.
Avid watchers of the TechStars reality show on Bloomberg will remember Mr. Baptiste as the cocksure, but charming scene-stealer whose joke about poaching developers from his fellow incubatees didn’t go over too well. But he’s just as good-natured when the situation is reversed. “Glad to see Onswipe employees made the poachable list again ;),” he told Betabeat by email.
Mr. Baptiste said he was first approached about writing a book in late 2010, “when I was doing a lot of blogging online that got attention from the HackerNews and entrepreneurship crowd.” How many of his posts got to the front page of HN, we asked? “I believe it’s accurate to say all of my writing from both Onstartups and Jasonlbaptiste.com have made it to the front page,” he replied with uncharacteristic modesty. “I don’t participate as much, but I’m at 21738 karma.”
In fact, it was Mr. Baptiste’s experience blogging that gave him and his cofounder Andres Barreto the idea for Onswipe. “We just wanted to make our content look great and magazine-like,” he said. The decision to release the book via Onswipe might also be a precursor to the next idea. “Onswipe hasn’t gotten into book publishing…yet, but this is something I’ve always wanted to do.”
To us, the case studies sound like the most potentially illuminating sections. “The Foursquare story was taken from a lot of notes from Dennis’ talk at TechStars to our class almost a year ago,” said Mr. Baptiste. “The goal was really to take the methods they used and extrapolate concepts any startup can use, i.e. How did Dropbox’s referral system work? Mint.com’s inbound marketing? Why did Dennis create Foursquare? How did Twitter go from side project to THE project?” Expect to see lots familiar faces, including investors from Betaworks and Spark, as well as TechStars managing director David Tisch. One of the case studies delves into GroupMe, based on conversations with cofounders Steve Martocci and Jared Hecht. “There’s a whole chapter doing a day-by-day blow of Onswipe’s first year,” he added.
And how, exactly, does one find the time to write a book and run a startup? “A lot of the book follows the story of how we built Onswipe, so I was writing the book while I was living a lot of it. I did most of this on weekends and just sacrificed even more sleep :),” said Mr. Baptiste. “I had nine months to write it and I put it on a roadmap, just like I might when building a product. Jamba Juice was definitely involved, it’s warrior food!” Seriously, Jamba Juice, give this man a sponsorship deal already.