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Steve Cakebread
The IPO Playbook
From the CFO who brought Salesforce, Pandora, and Yext public, The IPO Playbook delivers an insider’s perspective of what it takes to prepare for a successful initial public offering. Author Steve Cakebread walks readers through the ins and outs of taking your company public, from how to make the decision to do an IPO, to timing, preparation and execution, including building the right internal team and selecting external partners. The book is both an invaluable reference guide and an enjoyable read that incorporates stories from Steve’s time creating three successful IPOs, and his earlier career at Autodesk, Silicon Graphics and Hewlett Packard.
Cakebread’s debut playbook walks readers through the process of making an initial public offering (IPO) from the first decision to go public to ringing the bell on opening day. Cakebread categorizes IPOs as a way to both get quick cash and simultaneously build a “great, enduring company” that will prosper for years to come. He makes a strong case to company founders that a properly executed IPO will provide “the best possible future to your stakeholders… not least, yourself.” Cakebread’s background as CFO for several successful IPOs lends credibility to the guide, and he infuses energy into discussions on the new controls required to go public. By tying in the backstory of his flourishing family winery, Cakebread illustrates that implementing these controls contributes to the health of a growing company. Cakebread closes with a helpful two-year timeline of crucial steps for a successful IPO.

Cakebread’s experience applies primarily to tech fields, although he offers steps that will be helpful to founders in other areas as well. He brings expertise and humor to his explanations of, for example, the various roles on an investment banking team and how to decide which investors to court and which to avoid. And he makes graceful use of subheadings and bulleted lists to make it easy for readers to follow along.

The audience for this type of guide is niche, and founders embarking on this process will ultimately need more counsel than a book can give. But this highly professional guide delivers a valuable orientation to an intimidating and mostly opaque process.

Takeaway: Company founders looking to go public will find this thorough guide both useful and encouraging.

Great for fans of: Philippe Espinasse’s IPO: A Global Guide, Steven M. Bragg’s Running a Public Company.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A