Lessons from the Founder of CD Baby


“Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a new kind of Entrepreneur” by Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby is a quick one-hour read broken down into lessons no more than a couple pages each. It’s a highly recommended swift enthusiasm ‘injection’ for those with an entrepreneurial spirit who dream of defying industry standards.

The short background on Derek is the story of an independent musician looking to sell his own CDs online but having nowhere to do so, therefore he builds the website, then starts getting requests from friends, then friends of friends, and voila…. a business was formed. Eight years later he sold CD Baby for $22mil.

Some of the chapters and philosophies that stood out to me (in my own interpretations):

  • Fill a need for customers. Have that need be something you enjoy doing.
  • Focus on the product & customers, not maximum wealth. $ will come with an idea that is serving folks in a positive way.
  • Get going, don’t try to create the perfect business plan. Experience is more important than paper.
  • Focus on pleasing the few customers you have. Their happiness will provide referrals (i.e. new customers).
  • You can’t do everything. Say “no” to things and be ok with that.
  • “Delegate or die” [Don’t be the only person that can approve action in the organization]
  • If you enjoy doing things yourself, out of personal growth or otherwise, then do them yourself! If learning new skills is something you are passionate about, then go learn them and put them to use at your business. Even if you can pay someone to do them quicker, stay focused on what you are passionate about and what makes you happy.

Those are some quick takeaways from this engaging little read. Click the book below to grab it from Amazon if you’re so inclined:

Happy reading.

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