What happens after startups go from conception to the reality of having to make money?

Carnegie Mellon University adjunct professor Sean Ammirati aims to answer that question with his debut book The Science of Growth: How Facebook Beat Friendster and How Nine Other Startups Left the Rest in the Dust. Published by St. Martin’s Press, the work compares several different pairs of startup companies to determine how one went on to succeed, while the other failed. By using these examples, the book acts as a guide to help budding entrepreneurs make the financial returns necessary to grow their companies.

“Startups go through a couple different phases of challenges,” says Ammirati. “And what we try to do in the book is help entrepreneurs understand where they are in the journey, and then what they should be focused on based on where they are in that journey.”

Ammirati is no stranger to the startup world. He previously served as co-founder and CEO of mSpoke, a CMU tech startup that went on to become the first company acquired by LinkedIn. Before that, he was the COO of ReadWriteWeb, a widely read technology news site now known as ReadWrite. Currently, he’s a partner at Birchmere Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm based in Pittsburgh and Palo Alto, CA.

The Science of Growth originally started as a course created by Ammirati to complement his Lean Entrepreneurship graduate class at CMU. It wasn’t until he met with his mentor, The Rise of the Creative Class author Richard Florida, that he decided to translate his research into a book, for which Florida also contributed the forward.

“He and I were having lunch in Miami where he lives part of the year, and I was down vacationing with my family,” says Ammirati. “I was telling him about what I was teaching on campus and in a very, very Richard way, he said, ‘Dude, you gotta make that a book! That is a book!’ He referred me to his agent, who is now my agent and I guess, as they say, the rest is history.”

The Science of Growth: How Facebook Beat Friendster and How Nine Other Startups Left the Rest in the Dust will be released on Tuesday, April 26, and is now available for pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, 800CEORead and IndieBound.

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated to covering Pittsburgh film culture. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and oversized house cat.