The Creator's Code: The Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs

Each of us has the capacity to spot opportunities, invent products, and build businesses—even $100 million businesses. So why do so many startups fail?

The Creator's Code by Amy Wilkinson, a strategic advisor to startups and large corporations alike, unlocks the six essential skills that turn intriguing ideas into enduring enterprises.

Conducting research funded by the Kauffman Foundation, Wilkinson interviewed nearly 200 leading entrepreneurs, including the founders of Airbnb, Chipotle, Dropbox, eBay, Gilt Groupe, Jetblue, LinkedIn, PayPal, SpaceX, Spanx, Tesla Motors, Theranos, and Under Armour.

Wilkinson then drilled down through the latest academic research and analyzed data from across diverse fields, applying scientific methodology to crack the code on what it takes to go from startup to scale in our rapidly changing economy.

She found that these founders all share—and have honed—certain fundamental skills that can be learned, practiced, and passed on.

The book examines each skill and highlights real-life examples of how these entrepreneurs apply them in building their game-changing businesses.

  • Find the gap
  • Drive for daylight
  • Fly the OODA loop
  • Fail wisely
  • Network minds
  • Gift small goods

Wilkinson is a strategic advisor, entrepreneur, and lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

She has held leadership roles with McKinsey & Company and J.P. Morgan, and founded a small, foreign-based export company.

Wilkinson has served as a White House fellow and special assistant to the United States Trade Representative and as a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.