Hacking The Core

#startup #founders #funding



“ Amazing. Tom rocks 

— Michael Larsen, VP, IBM Corp.

" Hacking The Core explains entrepreneurship in the tech startup world in a refreshing way. Pulling no punches, the author draws from 2 decades of experience as a startup CEO, strategist, M&A consultant and investor. "

 -- Online Review Systems

In the sea of startup books that dwell on lean strategies and do it yourself blueprints, here comes a refreshing view from a true Silicon Valley insider as well as outsider- Tom Nora. Tom offers his own rich autobiography to combine multiple disciplines like mechanical engineering, art, design, software development, creativity and curiosity as main ingredients for a successful startup and continuous innovation engine. 

Knowing Silicon Valley phenomenon, its beginnings and heydays, writer breaks down its societal value and calls on other regions not to mimic but promote their own uniqueness.  Book is peppered with Tom's own slice of Americana photography as well as interesting encounters with Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Jack Dorsey that are not necessarily centered just around engineering, but mutual love of design, automobiles and art.

Author often juxtapositions successful and innovative organizations (Google, Facebook) vs stale and rigid (Yahoo, HP) through their own business positives and negatives.  At the same time Tom offers a path for individuals to introspect their own knack for entrepreneurialism. Are you an entrepreneur or wantrepreneur? Cantrepreneur or freelancer? There is a good chance you will find out after reading this book.      

-- AlexP, Intel Corp.

Interview on Kirkus Reviews in February 2017

"Hacking The Core (HTC) is a term I hacked from software engineering, specifically from pre-built CMS Open Source projects that advise the opposite.  “Don’t Hack The Core.” It’s the foundation of my structured theory of innovation."

Don’t Hack The Core is actually very good advice in large, complex multiuser software systems. You can “hook” into the system to add or change functionality without touching the core software set, kind of like connectors and cables for your iPhone. This is good engineering practice and much more scalable, reliable, predicable, and maintainable. . . .

However, when you’re trying to innovate change to create something new,something compelling, you must Hack The Core. More accurately, you must go into the core functions of existing systems, thought processes and user interfaces and surgically modify the right pieces to vastly improve the status quo.

Think of radical new car designs or the iPhone or iPad when they arrived in our lives; those were amazing innovations! Those designers hacked the core of what then existed. Hacking the core of a software system requires some skill and bold thinking. It can be very risky, but can also create enormous benefits in performance and uniqueness. The same is true in business, and in building a startup or any small business. Hacking the core of status quo business practices is actually essential to stay ahead. Audacity, courage, risk taking, thinking differently – all those traits are required as more and more people enter the competitive world of entrepreneurship.

"To put it simply, Hacking The Core (HTC) beautifully shows startup founders how they can achieve funding and success."

James Millner, VP of Entrepreneurship, Paramount Pictures Accelerator


HTC explains how to tap into the creativity and innovation that we all have hidden inside of us and how to apply it to launching and growing a startup business. It looks at all areas of a business launch to uncover areas of innovation, differentiation, design thinking.

Hacking The Core is based on principles of common sense, honesty vs. “fake it ’til you make it” and humility in success. It will show you how to lead instead of follow trends, how to create true disruption in and market segment.

There are several personal anecdotes from the author and explanations of his own motivations and mentors in his long startup business path.


"Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered – either by themselves or by others."

-- Mark Twain

"A minimum viable product without a focus on growth is usually not a product worth pursuing."

        - - Tom Nora