Helen Yu is the founder and CEO of Tigon Advisory Corp, Host of CXO Spice and a wall-street journal best-selling author. As a Board Director, Helen brings a unique perspective to the board room, combining deep technology thought leadership, cybersecurity risk management, go-to-market strategy, customer experience to deliver thoughtful questions and insights that help drive informed decisions. She helps CEOs achieve multibillion-dollar revenue growth and record profitability from start-ups to global titans like Oracle and Adobe. She’s a board advisor to fast-growth SaaS companies and is on the board of the Global Cybersecurity Association. She’s spoken at SXSW, TiECon, DMS, Money20/20 and NAMIC.
In a recent chat with Digital First Magazine, Helen Yu reveals the inspiration behind writing her book, Ascend Your Start-Up, lessons learnt as a writer, major takeaways from the book, and much more. Following are the excerpts from the interview.
Helen, what inspired you to write this book?
The “why” behind ascending Mount Everest was to keep a sacred promise to my grandmother and that was to leave her ashes on a tall mountain. I felt unstoppable. I made up my mind that nothing would hold me back from my climb. My destination started out, not on any map, but in my mind. Making the decision to write Ascending Your Startup was no different. I felt it was yet another way to honor the grit and resilience Grandma taught growing up in a small province in China and honor the grit and resilience it takes to scale a start-up.
Can you tell us about your book, Ascend Your Start-Up?
Ascend Your Start-up: Conquer the 5 Disconnects to Accelerate Growth is an industry-defining panacea for start-ups who have stalled out on their journey to the top of the mountain.
Dedicated to her late grandmother, author Helen Yu inhales multiple generations of wisdom and exhales a revolutionary framework for tech founders and CEOs that enables their businesses to scale faster and fearlessly.
What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning this book?
This book had been in my mind for over ten years. I collected what I learned through working with start-up founders over the span of 15 years. Most of the stories are already in my journals. I decided to turn that into a book during pandemic.
What did you learn while writing the book? And what surprised you the most as a writer?
I reached out to other experienced book authors and learned about their experience before I started. I was warned that writing a book requires commitment, determination, and investment. It took me over eight months to complete the manual scripts. What surprised me the most is the amount of learning involved throughout the process. I learned that the daily routine wins over a big block of time. And I had to make sacrifice to miss other competing priorities. Fortunately, there were not many social events during the pandemic.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Having published two books now, the publishing process taught me patience. It took about five months for the book to be published. If I were going to write another book, I’d start reaching out to a publisher as soon as I have an outline in place, rather than reach out after my manuscripts were completed.
What does literary success look like to you?
Literary success to me means to write an award-winning book that makes positive impact on others. Ascend Your Start-up has won 3 book awards in addition to achieving WSJ Best Seller and Amazon best seller. Now that milestone has been reached, I am thinking of writing a fiction book that can be turned into a movie someday.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
The biggest challenge is to make the time commitment it requires. Writing a book is different from any other creation process. It takes a lot of you. Taking a year off to focus on writing and publishing “Ascend Your Start-Up” allowed me to focus and take it to finish line as planned.
Please brief us about the main takeaways from your book, Ascend Your Start-Up.
From Yu’s 15 years of first-hand experience in tech start-ups, readers will learn the 5 fundamental growth disconnects that trap start-ups in the cliffside, keep them from reaching the summit and touching the sky. Ascend Your Start-up also empowers founders and CEOs to self-reflect and grow, posing a thoughtfully architected set of 26 essential questions you can ask yourself in order to scale your business.
Inspiration flows freely through the book’s pages as Helen draws parallels between the journey of growing a start-up and her sacred promise made to her grandmother to climb Mt. Everest.
You will learn:
- Industry-specific, highly experienced advice for tech start-ups
- Fundamental wisdom on the 5 disconnects that prevent a start-up from ascending.
- Turning an idea into a product and moving it to the market
- Taking a marketed product to scale
- Inspirational guidance for tech start-ups facing the emotions and challenges of growing.
Ascend Your Start-up is the profound answer to the question every start-up has asked themselves: “How do we get to the top?”
One piece of advice you would like to share with the aspiring authors.
The difference between winning and losing is the grit and resilience that take you to finish the last mile. Winning takes talent, to repeat it takes character. Walk your talk. Stay bold, stay fearless and stay grateful.
Interested readers can purchase the book here.