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HANGRY by Mike Evans


A Startup Journey

by Mike Evans

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-306-92553-5
Publisher: Legacy Lit/Hachette

An irreverent memoir by the founder of GrubHub.

A scrappy rural Georgian who came to the big city as a whiz-kid coder, Evans is a technolibertarian without the right-wing baggage. One takes him at his word that a job must reward the soul as well as wallet, and one feels for his youthful captivity working in one soulless enterprise after another. It was in such a cubicle farm that he cooked up the idea of GrubHub, a natural outgrowth of his longtime familiarity with the food-delivery business: “Being raised the youngest, feral child of a single mom, we were on a first name basis with the Domino’s driver.” Coming up with the name of the company was one hurdle fairly easily solved in brainstorming. Figuring out how to make the thing work was quite another, with all sorts of hidden-trap challenges: How to recruit restaurants for his delivery service? How to charge for it? Evans isn’t much for metrics and certainly not for business plans—as he counsels, defying the business-school received wisdom, “Just start. Make the thing. Sell a customer. Start.” The author is full of practical advice, including a rueful observation about the drawbacks of his hard-charging nature, as when he tried to acquire a competitor by ridiculing him. It was a definite nonstarter that led him to conclude, “Running a business is dangerous business.” There are even some funny moments, such as the author’s observations on the pecking order of the Goldman Sachs team that came to pitch him on running an IPO. Getting a multibillion-dollar business off the ground, Evans observes, was satisfying but only a temporary plug for his hunger—his “hanger”—to isolate a problem or need and then fix it with the power of the market, which has launched him on his latest adventure.

A page-turning, lesson-rich account of how—and how not—to build a business empire.