Dec 28, 2013

Book Review: Sand Hill Road by Timo Ahopelto

Sand Hill Road by Timo Ahopelto isn't a type of a book I would easily select myself to be read. This book interested me due to the background story. Timo Ahopelto is one of the founders of CRF Health and this book follows loosely the history of first years of the company. The reason CRF Health interests me is that I've worked as consultant with them for more than a year. Some of the people of this partly fictive story still
work there. That said, my review of the book is bit biased since I know bit more about the company than regular reader will.

CRF Health was founded to solve the problem of using paper and pen to get information from patients during medical studies. Most of us have at some point answered some medical questionnaires in paper and this company has focused on using tablets and mobile phones for this data gathering. In this book there are many medical companies mentioned, but it doesn't go in to too much details of how the stuff technically works. This book tells more about the mental side of building a start-up.

Timo Ahopelto writes in quite living way and story goes forward really rapidly, almost too fast. Some times I found myself wondering what happened to this and that which was mentioned earlier in the book. There are few loose ends in the book, which I would have liked to get an answer at some point. Book is fun to read, but it mixes serious things with comical aspects so that I got bit lost about the idea behind the book. At first I thought it as teachful real life story, then bit as guide for new start-ups, also  at some point it takes a bit political viewpoint and at the end it turns more to the the fictive side.

I enjoyed all the sharp observations and opinions about start-ups and business life what Timo Ahopelto brings up in the book. Those small, one or two paragraph mentions, were really good additions to the book. I would like to read more of Timo Ahopelto's thought about business life and start-ups.

I recommend this book to at least all the Finns interested in different businesses and companies in Finland. It's hard to say what percentage of the book is fictional and how much of it is true. Still I believe it gives good view on what it might be to create successful company. It's an entertaining story, so it's easy and fun to read. It's a story of Finnish start-up success and that makes it important for so many.

P.S. I believe the book is currently only published in Finnish and I read it in Finnish.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

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