Birth of a Unicorn: Six Basic Steps To Success by Heather Wilde
Publisher: Sunbury Press, Inc (November 11, 2020)
Category: Business: Women & Business, Entrepreneurship, Personal Finance, Self-Help/Motivational, Non-Fiction
Tour dates: April-May, 2021
Available in Print 158 pages and ebook 184 pages
Disclosure: I received product in exchange for my review. All opinions are 100% mine.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links‘. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Amazon & Walmart affiliate links are most often used.
When I first read about Heather Wilde’s ‘Birth of a Unicorn’, I was excited. I have always enjoyed books that share the author’s experience with success. But what I enjoyed the most is how Heather told her story.
Every bit of her book makes you feel like you are traveling her journey right there with her. Heather shares the ups and downs of what it took her to get where she is now.
Heather’s ‘Six Basic Steps to Success’ are woven in during her stories of how she and Leon started in Massachusetts, moved to California, and later ended up out of the country. (something that they had wanted to do for years).
This book has made me happy and smile more in the past few days. I have felt out of sorts lately and reading this book right after finishing, The Desire Factor has me feeling all sorts of empowerment. It has given me hope and the “want” to continue what I have been working towards.
It doesn’t matter if you have been in business your whole life, or just starting out. This book is a definite must-read.
Description Birth of a Unicorn by Heather Wilde
Birth of a Unicorn: Six Basic Steps to Success is the story of what it takes to found a billion-dollar company — also known as a unicorn. It’s told from the perspective of a founding employee and shows the years and years of emotional strain, stress, and dedication that building a successful company takes — and a framework to follow if you’d like to try it yourself.
In this book, you’ll find the true story behind one of Silicon Valley’s famous companies on its rise to the top. Peek behind the curtain as you see the highs and lows from an insider perspective, on the roller coaster that is the start-up life. What emerges is a lasting friendship, a billion-dollar company, and an understandable framework of success for you to replicate.
Praise Birth of a Unicorn by Heather Wilde
“Among her significant accomplishments is her work at Evernote, a note-taking app that Heather built from a couple of thousand users to in excess of 225 million users, making Evernote the world’s most used note-taking app. It is that journey that this book shares – and from that well-related story the steps toward creating a startup company as well as guidance for ways to make an impact by positively changing life to embrace personal passions and purpose. While those words may seem like PR humbug, reading this superb book will convince every reader of their validity.
Exploring each of Heather’s six needs opens the door to inspirational changes in attitude and vision and success. Proffered in one of the most supportive guides available today, this book is not only a fine guide for us all: it also makes the perfect gift for young people on the verge of discovering life’s possibilities! Highly recommended.”-Grady Harp, Hall of Fame & Top 500 Reviewer-Amazon
“Heather Wilde’s book is creative and compelling and the writing captures the excitement of taking an idea and making it a reality. At times this book is so riveting – you can’t wait to find out what happens next.
What may surprise you is how much you learn about other cultures. Heather and her husband lived on a sailboat in Mexico for much of the time they worked remotely for Evernote. They also hired employees in India.
Some of the highlights of the book are the stories about their Bengal cat who played a role in their happiness and survival. You will laugh with amusement when you read about this cat’s influence in difficult circumstances.
The tales of food adventures inspired some of my cooking. When I read about the fries drenched in chicken drippings, I just had to make some roast potatoes. I even created a new chicken dish with what I had in the refrigerator. This made my husband happy!
What did amaze me was how my questions at the start were answered later in the book. How do you get an internet connection while on a boat? Where do you charge a laptop or a phone when sailing around? Heather Wilde is a brilliant, resourceful woman who learns major life lessons from all her experiences. Her writing is warm and honest.
I think you will enjoy this book and take away important points for further reflection. The thing I learned most from the book is not to make anyone else responsible for your happiness.”- The Rebecca Review, Top 500 Reviewer & Vine Voice-Amazon
“When I decide to read a book, I generally have some expectations about what I will gain from reading it. If you are like me, I urge you to set aside your expectations about Birth of a Unicorn – Six Basic Steps to Success by author Heather Wilde.
Instead of the book focusing on the growing pains of Evernote, the author focuses on her own personal journey with Evernote. Ms. Wilde opens up completely about some of the innermost portions of her life – personal and business – sharing the ups and downs, the good and bad. You will get to know some deeply personal aspects of her life.
The story she tells is interesting and entertaining. You can feel her emotions, her happiness, and frustration. One trait which was prominent throughout the book was her commitment to excellence. If you plan to build a business from the ground up, you need to be fully committed. You need emotional flexibility and resilience.
The interior design is well done, making it an easy read. The cover design is creative, capturing the concept of a big new idea brilliantly. And the final nice touch is a bookmarker with the “Unicorn Horn/Lightbulb.” Interesting and insightful, more about the personal qualities necessary for success than a story about Evernote.”- John Chancellor, Top 1000 Hall of Fame, Vine Voice
“A personal, honest and engaging account of being a founding employee of a “tech unicorn” and a fascinating insight into remote working.”-Beck Nickolls, reedsy.com
Heather Wilde was the eighth employee of Evernote, where she oversaw the company’s growth from thousands to 100 million customers. She has published popular games, trained Fortune 500 brands, advised hundreds of start-ups, and managed some major non-profit programs. At her non-profit, Serenze Global, and as a fractional CTO through her company ROCeteer, her award-winning work keeps the Unicorn Whisperer constantly traveling across the globe to find the next unicorn.
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Excerpt from Birth of the Unicorn by Heather Wilde
In Birth of the Unicorn, Heather Wilde uses a first-person narrative style to explore many aspects of business growth. In this excerpt, she relays one of the many embarrassing cultural faux-pas you can make when working in the global economy.
As part of our growing responsibilities, Leon and I were in charge of onboarding and training new employees not just for our own department, but for the international offices. This meant we were often traveling, and this brought us frequently to Zurich, Switzerland and Warsaw, Poland to conduct these training workshops.
Leon and I had both worked at airlines, and both been trained as pilots. When designing our trainings, we therefore decided to model them after traditional ground school, with a combination of lectures, homework, hands-on experience and interactive tests. By this time, we had perfected our training to the point that within one week we could have customer service agents fully skilled in handling any issue, and two weeks for tech support agents. We had a one-day training for any other new-hire to get them familiar with all of the products in the company, which were quickly growing.
At least, we thought we had it perfected.
Part of any good lecture is to ensure you add humor in the right parts. You want to make sure that people are following along and want to emphasis your points with metaphors that make sense. In other words, you need to tell them a good story so it will sink in. We had many of these built into the training, and it was a key to our success.
One day in Zurich, I was at the head of the room, talking through a presentation on our language translation tool. I had six new employees—one from Germany, one from Switzerland, one from South Korea, one from Russia, one from Taiwan and one from France. Our common language was English, and everyone was following along well, and asking good questions.
At this point, I said a line that always brought a laugh. “While we currently support 48 languages, remember that everything still says the same thing, because in the future, everything is Taco Bell.” This time when I told the joke, I got blank stares. Granted, it wasn’t that funny, but I didn’t get a single chuckle. The woman from Taiwan even wrote down what I said word for word, as if I would test them on it later.
I let it go, but something about it hit me the wrong way. I was “off” for the rest of the day.
That evening, when we were all walking back to the hotel from the office, Torben, the man from Germany, casually started up a conversation about science fiction movies. I was barely paying attention until he said, “Did you know that in some countries, the movie Demolition Man uses a different restaurant chain as the key joke in the movie?”
My ears perked up. I looked at him. He was looking at me with a twinkle in his eye.
He continued. “Yeah, in America, instead of Pizza Hut, its Taco Bell.”
The man from Russia then started to laugh, a big rumbling laugh from inside. “Oh! ‘In the future everything is Taco Bell!’ Oh, that’s funny!” Everyone else started laughing as well, and we started a conversation about other things that might be lost in translation.
I looked at Torben and mouthed, “Thank you.”
He smiled and swatted the air—“No problem.”