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about Bob Dorf

Allegedly retired serial entrepreneur, co–author of The Startup Owners Manual

Bob Dorf is likely the second most knowledgeable Customer Development expert on the planet, second only to its developer and Godfather, Steve Blank.  Together the two spent nearly two years conceiving, outlining, drafting, rewriting, and revising the global bestseller, The Startup Owner's Manual, now a business bestseller in the U.S. and many countries around the world.

A serial entrepreneur, Bob left a lucrative broadcasting job at the age of 22 because he had a passion to start his own company, which he did seven times over three decades. Bob’s track record as a founder, as he says: “two home runs, two base hits, and three great tax losses.”

Bob invested in and coached or advised more than two dozen startups over more than a decade. Seven of them IPO’ed, while six went “straight into the toilet.” In all, he says, “an incredible 42 year entrepreneurial education!”

In March, 2012, Bob published The Startup Owner’s Manual: A Step–By–Step Guide to Building a Great Company, along with Steve Blank. Two years of virtually fulltime research and development yielded his magnum opus: 608 page, painstakingly detailed guide is the most comprehensive, rigorous step–by–step roadmap that is guiding startup founders throughout the world. The Owner’s Manual offers parallel Customer Development pathways for companies in the web and mobile channels, as well as traditional physical goods and enterprise software startups; it also includes indepth web marketing tutorials.

Bob travels the world, helping startups, incubators, governments, and established corporations learn how to effectively deploy Customer Development process through speaking, workshops, and in intensive 8-10 week hands-on Startup Boot Camps. His training takes many forms, including speeches, workshops, and hands — on consulting.

He teaches Customer Development and Business Modeling in full-semester and week-long classes at Columbia Business School, where he is an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, and has led training sessions at Tech de Monterrey, Mexico, Skolkovo Business School in Moscow, and many other places around the world. He’s counseled dozens of nonprofits probono as well, including the legendary Acumen Fund, a sustainable venture fund.

Bob lives in Stamford, Connecticut with his wife, Fran, a writer, therapist and thrice–published novelist.  When he’s not speaking, teaching or writing, Bob is often found on his bicycle or his skis. But Bob’s proudest startup of all is daughter Rachel Dorf Gotler a PhD Psychologist who recently made him a grandpa.




“I love this guy. I love his energy. I wonder if he'd come over to our place in Mountain View for dinner and philosophy and debate?”
— BizSpark European Summit

“Bob Dorf is super-passionate about saving startups from dumb, preventable failures.”
— Simeon Simeonov
  © 2013 Bob Dorf. All rights reserved.