PublicAffairs Pattern Breakers: Why Some Start-Ups Change the Future
PublicAffairs Pattern Breakers: Why Some Start-Ups Change the Future

Pattern Breakers: Why Some Start-Ups Change the Future

By Mike Maples


Publication Date: July 9, 2024

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Based on extensive research and real-world examples, Pattern Breakers upends accepted wisdom about how to achieve breakthrough success, and provides a playbook for anyone launching a startup or creating a new product.

Pattern Breakers had its roots in the time when Mike Maples, a seasoned venture capitalist, was stumped, unable to get a grip on why some businesses he funded—Twitter, Twitch, and Okta, for example—took off, while others, some deemed “most likely to succeed,” shut their doors despite doing everything right. Was it dumb luck that separated gold from dross?


What Maples and Stanford University’s Peter Ziebelman discovered contradicts accepted wisdom and upends today’s formulaic approach to entrepreneurship: that one should look for a big open market, talk to prospective customers to find their highest needs, their “pain points” in that market, and then build what is missing.


Rather, patterns are broken and the potential for breakthrough opportunity created when inflection points—events that offer the potential for new empowering capabilities—are harnessed, transforming how people think, work, feel, and act. Uber and Lyft, for example broke the pattern of transportation by harnessing the power of the GPS-enabled smartphone. The Covid pandemic spurred telemedicine.

Pattern-breaking ideas like these unlock different powers and radically change the rules, driven by people with the independent-mindedness and courage to divert from the consensus.

With intriguing and entertaining storytelling based on a lifetime of experience, Pattern Breakers vividly illustrates what differentiates breakthrough ideas from those that initially seem promising but that meet with mediocre results, and why others that initially seem unworthy—even idiotic—end up radically changing how people live.

About the Author

Mike Maples, Jr is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, podcaster, and the co-founder of FLOODGATE, a leading seed stage fund in Silicon Valley that invested in companies like Twitter, Twitch, Okta, and Outreach at the very beginning of their startup journeys. An eight-time member of the Forbes Midas List of Top Venture Capital investors, he was one of the pioneers of the seed investing movement, which started in the mid-2000s and now is a mainstream part of startup funding. Mike has 79,000 Twitter followers and a popular podcast, Starting Greatness (

Peter Ziebelman splits his time between academia and the business world. He  teaches entrepreneurs as a lecturer at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where he is the principal instructor for the popular graduate school course on entrepreneurship and venture capital. He has also lectured at the Wharton School and the University of Chicago. He started his career as part of the innovative start-up team for speech synthesis semiconductors at Texas Instruments and then later he was a systems software entrepreneur at a venture-backed start-up. In 1996 he co-founded, Palo Alto Venture Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm. He consults with Fortune 500 companies on entrepreneurship, and advises start-up companies as an independent board member.

Format: Hardcover

Length: 288 pages

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Publication Date: July 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781541704350

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