How Tim O’Reilly bootstrapped O’Reilly Media with “happy accidents”


For more startup news, follow us on twitter @startupfoundry.

Several readers have asked for transcripts of videos and I will start looking into that. In the mean time I’m including a summary.

1. The animal covers were done for free by an employees roommate. The design felt “better” then the ones that they paid a company to produce.

2. O’Reilly Media was bootstrapped with “$500 bucks of used furniture.”

3. O’Reilly Media was originally a consulting company. They had a huge consulting contract cancelled and it inspired them to publish their own stuff. They decided they wanted their own product to sell.

4. They focused on writing books that they thought were needed.

5. At first they were selling directly to consumers. O’Reilly Media was doing $7 Million in revenue before they were discovered by bookstores.

6. Tim O’Reilly said that early bits of ignorance that were helpful in getting them started. For example, the first books they produced didn’t have spines. They discovered people actually liked it because then the books could lay flat. Since they had a unique design that forced them to be displayed in a different way, they had their own shelves in book stores which helped them stand apart from their competitors.

Special thanks to Tim for coming on TSF. You can follow Tim on twitter @timoreilly.

For up to the minute startup news, follow us on twitter @startupfoundry.

  • Dexter Hurly

    Thanks Tim and Paul! This was a great story and really speaks to me. This is exactly where I’m at with my startup.

  • Bob

    I assume ‘They focused on writing books…’ instead of ‘The focused on…’ and that the books didn’t have ‘spines’ rather than ‘spins’.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, I got it fixed.

  • Great post. O’reilly’s books were a godsend when I got heavily into web programming in 94-95.

    I bet the book publishing industry is going to go through a similar upheaval once the ebook fully catches on.

  • Awesome Paul!!! Great interview!

  • Joe Bonansinga

    Thank you Tim and team – for the access to all the great knowledge in your books through the years… and for 2 bookshelves full of Java Purple, Perl Aqua, Unix Pink, Linux Brown, Windows Blue and Nutshell Red. 🙂 eBooks stink… you can’t show them off.

  • Xenophod

    Copy editor needed!

    “better” THAN, not “better” THEN

    “The animal covers were done for free by an employees roommate. The design felt “better” then the ones that they paid a company to produce.”

  • Great interview, really enjoyed it! I didn’t realize that Tim’s company had a pivot, it seems like most of the best ones do! Look forward to future interviews with thought leaders, thanks for doing these!

  • Anonymous

    Conventional tall roxy uggs are produce of perfect ugg boots australia quality substance, which you may maintain an individual’s ft dry out, snug and even being placed in the winter season.There was a time that gone crazy for most of these shoes and you just might spot UGG boot styles at any place, you may see them all within the pavement and on your ft of the superstar in a periodical. They would frequently put them on together with something and through most things signifies boots could be distressed along with trousers, shorts, skirts or even bikinis. Whom might wear boots over the ocean? How come celebrities conduct. Although considerably more staid people today find it difficult to imagine by themself putting on boot footwear during summer, that doesn’t mean many had not tried using.Which means that currently fashion related to these kind of indeed ungainly boot styles? There’re relaxing and even though his or her a bit cumbersome looks, people deliver the results in the event that put on ideal as a result of of us. Much more for the UGG boot footwear, there’re manufactured by a particular Australian brand and happen to be also suitable for typically the internet user and even skier herd ahead of joining the world of fashionistas. What precisely built them into consequently normal with any people as well as skiers were has been cheap ugg boots many these kinds of boots may be utilized every one types of climate, which unfortunately makes clear typically the celebs putting them on using bikinis about the beachfront. Your flatsoled fleece coat preserves your fluid out and about which happens to be in fact an outstanding attribute internet site. ugg boots on sale uk had been encouraged to often be distressed without hosiery. A second terrific thing around the degree is the fact the item tunes its in the person’s body temperature however hot or cold the lateral side conditions are.The particular stitches at these kinds of shoes ugg outlet provide them with amazing sturdiness as the lightweight EVA soles present you with superb footing helping avoid slipping close to. Nowadays, when ever utilized accordingly as well as the appropriate volume, they must mildew to all your ft; because of this, you won’t involve to wear socks. Proper way obtain best suited specifications? Well you must try them at at a shop, and / or in the event that choosing on-line, just consider for you to structure downward a particular if you ever be dressed in your 50 % dimension. The UGG overshoes are not able to style to your base should they be too large which like beats the intention of these footwear. All these " booties " commonly are not a prettiest these days, you need to tell you. They’re larger and even someway cumbersome hunting however work with maintaining an individual comfortable or simply holding these individuals on the accurate temps plus their own feels perform sort of expand you for the reason that point in time should go get. Lots of of us get experimented with UGG appear alikes nonetheless only the real things work.Take pleasure in it when using the design ugg hiking footwear, take hold of your one of a kind Ugg Boots Available for purchase to suit anyone during this approaching winter.The wintertime ugg boots on sale in this 365 days to quick classic cardy uggs, the next wind storm transformed cool, end gives off, the sensation is known as a mind frigid to help shoe.However appears difficult to find excellent skiing conditions boots personally. Every time they visit waste materials the particular shoes and boots the following cold weather.It is towards said that winter months about this 12 months might most likely make history’s the majority chilly cold weather, and so i thought he would obtain a two of heat Time honored Cardy Boot styles.

  • Love the interview! So much fun to hear from guys who have done well and have bootstrapped themselves.

  • Pingback: Pitching your startup: Learn how to use a “Hook” to get press. | The Startup Foundry()