2016-10-24T21:08:38ZSteve Case is the co-founder of America Online, the company that democratized online access. Steve is currently the chairman of the Revolution investment firm and also the Case Foundation. President Obama named him Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship. Additionally, Steve has chaired Startup America and Startup Weekend, initiatives to promote entrepreneurship. In short, he’s a […] The post How to Prepare for the Next Wave of Entrepreneurship appeared first on Guy Kawasaki. Steve Case is the co-founder of America Online, the company that democratized online access. Steve is currently the chairman of the Revolution investment firm and also the Case Foundation. President Obama named him Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship. Additionally, Steve has chaired Startup America and Startup Weekend, initiatives to promote entrepreneurship. In short, he’s a billionaire. But let me tell you a story that will give you a better insight into the man. I had dinner with Steve and his crew immediately after Apple blew up the contract for Steve’s company to create an online service for consumers called AppleLink Personal Edition. I remember telling him that Apple did him a big favor because Apple was, and still is, a hardware device company. Steve asked me to consult to what became America Online and to do some online conferences, and I agreed. (I should have gone to work for the company, but what did I know?) Two years later I saw Steve, and he asked me if I was still working with his folks. I told him that I wasn’t. Then he asked me if I ever got the stock options that were promised, and I told him that I hadn’t but not worry about them because I hadn’t done that much. But he insisted that I get the options, and let’s just say that those options were like the proverbial two fish in Matthew 14 that fed thousands of people. He didn’t have to give me those options, but they changed the trajectory of my net worth. And now he’s written a book called The Third Wave: An Entrepreneurs Vision of the Future. I recommend that you read it to gain insights into the next curve of tech entrepreneurship. You can get it here. Here’s a short interview about entrepreneurship and the book. Q. Why did AOL succeed where better-funded services such as Prodigy, Genie, MSN, and CompuServe failed? A. We had the 4 Ps going for us: people, product, partnerships, and perseverance. First, people. Our team really believed in the idea of the Internet. When we started AOL in 1985, just 3% of people were online, and they were online for only one hour per week. But despite that, we felt we were ushering in a revolution that could change the world. Some of the bigger companies we competed with saw it as a business; we saw it as a movement. Second, product. We knew the Internet had to be easy to use, useful, fun, and affordable if it was going to get broad consumer adoption. And we worked tirelessly to build a great consumer-friendly service and evangelize—with your help!—the benefits of going online. We wanted to democratize access to the Internet, so everybody could benefit. Our rallying cry in those early years was we needed to make AOL easy enough for my mom to use. Third, partnerships. We recognized we couldn’t go it alone, and we worked hard to establish partnerships. In our early days, we crafted partnerships with the PC manufacturers such as Commodore, Radio Shack, Apple, and Tandy, and the modem companies like Hayes. Then we worked with network companies such as MCI and Sprint, to drive down the cost of connecting (when we started, it was typically $10 per hour!). Finally, we worked with dozens of media and software companies. An African proverb comes to mind: if you want to go quickly, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together. We wanted to go far, so we went together, knitting together a tapestry of alliances. And fourth, perseverance. We stuck with it, despite numerous setbacks. For example, when Apple canceled the deal to jointly offer AppleLink Personal Edition, that created a crisis and [...]
2015-08-07T14:45:40ZMy friends at Mercedes recently loaned me a Mercedes AMG to test drive, and I’d like to share my favorite pictures and thoughts with you. I hate to admit this, but I’m not sure I’m man enough for this car. It is a fantastic 503-horsepower engine (built by Sven Seyfried) with two seats strapped to the […] The post Test drive: Mercedes AMG GTS appeared first on Guy Kawasaki. My friends at Mercedes recently loaned me a Mercedes AMG to test drive, and I’d like to share my favorite pictures and thoughts with you. I hate to admit this, but I’m not sure I’m man enough for this car. It is a fantastic 503-horsepower engine (built by Sven Seyfried) with two seats strapped to the back–I mean this in only the most positive way! Think of it as a Zdeno Charo slapshot or a LeBron James dunk. It can hold a hockey bag–which is essential to me, and I was able to achieve 23.5 mpg on a drive from Santa Barbara to Menlo Park (not that mileage is a high priority for people who buy this kind of car). Bottom line: if you want to drive a sophisticated bad-ass triumph of teutonic engineering, this may be the car for you. The post Test drive: Mercedes AMG GTS appeared first on Guy Kawasaki. [...]
2016-10-24T21:08:42ZSony brought approximately twenty journalists and reviewers to Portland to try the a7R II and RX-10. I only used the a7R II, mostly with the Sony FE 2.8 35 mm lens (real men use prime lenses). These are samples of my pictures. I’m not a “real” photographer so if you see anything that’s sub-optimal, it’s […] The post Test drive: Sony A7R II appeared first on Guy Kawasaki. Sony brought approximately twenty journalists and reviewers to Portland to try the a7R II and RX-10. I only used the a7R II, mostly with the Sony FE 2.8 35 mm lens (real men use prime lenses). These are samples of my pictures. I’m not a “real” photographer so if you see anything that’s sub-optimal, it’s probably me, not the lens or camera. Some of the key features: 42 megapixels Five-axis stabilization Maximum ISO of 102,400 4K video recording Here are some articles from other members of the trip: Engadget Steve Huff Imaging Resource Bottom line: much smaller and lighter than the usual DSLR, leading-edge technology, cool but not in-your-face-I-have-more-money-than-brains looks. I’d buy one. The post Test drive: Sony A7R II appeared first on Guy Kawasaki. [...]
2016-10-24T21:08:47ZA good Father’s Day gift embodies two qualities: insight into the male psyche and the appearance of a careful decision. Cost is hardly a factor at all. Because you only have six days left to shop, here’s a list of ten items for most modern dads. Anker USB charger. Wall or desktop $25.99. A dad’s credo […] The post The Official Guy Kawasaki Father’s Day Gift List appeared first on Guy Kawasaki. A good Father’s Day gift embodies two qualities: insight into the male psyche and the appearance of a careful decision. Cost is hardly a factor at all. Because you only have six days left to shop, here’s a list of ten items for most modern dads. Anker USB charger. Wall or desktop $25.99. A dad’s credo is ABC: always be charging. These multi-port wall chargers enable dad to take care of his phone, tablet, and camera. You might want to buy him two for family vacations when all the other members of the family need a way to charge their devices too. Lumsing High Capacity 10,400 mAh battery. $19.99. Even if you bought your dad an Anker charger, he may need some juice during the day, and this is the mother of all batteries. Right now it’s $20. I bought another one when getting its Amazon link. Dad should just charge it and put it in the bottom of his bag or in his car’s glove compartment. Newer Digital Grey Card Set. $8.30. Is there anything worse than a digital photo with poor color balance? If dad would simply take a picture of this card to make white-balance editing, all his photos would be better. He might never go through this trouble, but at least he’ll know that his color balance could be better. Gordy camera strap. $18. Unloved dads have cameras with straps that came from the camera manufacturer. Loved dads have a strap like the the ones made by Gordy. There’s nothing like a little leather to offset all the digitalness of today’s cameras. Seagate 2 terabyte USB 3.0 portable external drive. $88. At some point every dad loses his laptop or experiences a catastrophic data loss. If you give him this drive and convince him to back up his laptop, I guarantee that you’ll get the bulk of his estate. Epic Pickles. $8. I found out about these pickles when I did an unboxing video for FedEx . Holy kaw, they are great. He’ll be astounded about how much a pickle can change one’s outlook on life. Spyderco dog-tag knife. $73.60. This knife is so cool that dad might enjoy recycling the cardboard boxes all the other gifts come in. Come on, I mean a knife that looks like dog tags? Caution, though, I don’t know if this will get past TSA. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. $8.99 Kindle, $10/.16 paperback. Everyone who has to influence anyone should read this book. (You might want to read it before you give it to dad.) Few books have influenced (no pun intended) me as much as this one. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. $8.99 Kindle, $14.69 hardcover, $9.54 paperback. This is fantastic book about the “growth” mindset that can help dad achieve even greater success and even more successful kids. This isn’t the pop psychology of some “guru.” The author is a professor at Stanford. The Martian. $5.99 Kindle, $15.48 hardcover, $9.00 paperback. This is the best thriller/science-fiction book that I’ve read, and I read a lot. If nothing else, it will convince dad not to sign up for a trip to Mars. I already own everything on this list except the Spyderco knife, and that’s on order, so these items don’t lack first-hand experience. Most of the items are under $20, so there’s not a lot of downside with giving dad any of them. You might want to buy some of them for yourself too. In any case, give your father a hug from me on his special day. The post The Official Guy Kawasaki Father’s Day Gift List appeared first on Guy Kawasaki. [...]
Doctors conduct postmortems to figure why people died. They do this to solve a crime, prevent the death of others, and satisfy curiosity. However, once somebody dies, it’s too late to help him. Entrepreneurs and their investors also often analyze why a product, service, or company died—especially if it’s someone else’s company. And, as in […]
The post Startups: How to Do a Pre-Mortem (and Prevent a Post-Mortem) appeared first on Guy Kawasaki.
Doctors conduct postmortems to figure why people died. They do this to solve a crime, prevent the death of others, and satisfy curiosity. However, once somebody dies, it’s too late to help him.
Entrepreneurs and their investors also often analyze why a product, service, or company died—especially if it’s someone else’s company. And, as in the case of dead people, a postmortem is too late to do much good for a defunct product, service, or company. Enter the concept of premortems, coined by Gary Klein, chief scientist of Klein Associates, and author of Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions.
His idea is to get your team together and pretend that your product has failed. That’s right: failed, cratered, imploded, or “went Aloha Oe,” as we say in Hawaii. You ask the team to come up with all the reasons why the failure occurred. Then each member has to state one reason until every reason is on a list. The next step is to figure out ways to prevent every reason from occurring.
You can’t ask the team to report the issues and challenges because regular meetings are governed by mind games and unwritten rules—for example, not embarrassing your friends, not looking like a poor team player by criticizing others, and not making enemies. You can’t tell me that everyone is completely open and honest in these gatherings.
By contrast, people are not laying blame on one another and on other groups in a premortem (a properly conducted one, anyway). Everyone is compiling a list of all the hypothetical factors that may come into play. And “all” means “all,” because it would be shame if someone had thought of an issue but then dismissed it as not important enough to mention.
This post is a tiny part of Guy Kawasaki’s latest book, The Art of the Start 2.0. Read it and reap…
The post Startups: How to Do a Pre-Mortem (and Prevent a Post-Mortem) appeared first on Guy Kawasaki.
2015-11-19T00:47:11ZThe post Photos from the May 2015 Maker Faire in San Mateo California appeared first on Guy Kawasaki. The post Photos from the May 2015 Maker Faire in San Mateo California appeared first on Guy Kawasaki. [...]
2016-10-24T21:08:49ZAt any conference, there are ten times more panelists than there are keynote speakers, so the odds are higher that you’re on a panel than giving a keynote speech. Therefore, rocking a panel is an important skill for evangelists, too. A panel looks easy. There are four or five other people on it, and it […] The post The Art of the Panel appeared first on Guy Kawasaki. At any conference, there are ten times more panelists than there are keynote speakers, so the odds are higher that you’re on a panel than giving a keynote speech. Therefore, rocking a panel is an important skill for evangelists, too. A panel looks easy. There are four or five other people on it, and it lasts only sixty minutes. How hard could it be? Herein lies the problem: because everyone thinks a panel is short and easy, no one prepares for it. In reality, a panel is harder than an individual speech because you cannot control a panel like your own keynote speech, and you get much less air time. This is what to do if you want to be the person everyone comes up to talk to after a panel: Know the subject. If you’re invited to a panel about a subject that you don’t know, decline the invitation. I don’t care how wonderful the opportunity seems to be. If you can help it, never provide a way for people to learn that you’re clueless. Control your introduction. The first mistake that most panelists make is assuming that the moderator has an up-to-date and accurate bio. The moderator either knows nothing about you or has done a cursory Google search and found a bio that is incorrect. Therefore, before the panel starts, hand the moderator a three-sentence bio and ask her to read it verbatim. Speak up. The optimal distance between your lips and the microphone is one inch. This is because you’re sitting down, you’re hunched over, and you’re not projecting. So get close to the mike and speak up. Make love to the microphone. Entertain, don’t just inform. As in keynotes, your primary goal is to entertain, not inform. The funnier you are, the more people will think you’re smart because it takes intelligence to be funny. I’d go so far as to pick a friendly fight with the moderator or another panelist. Have fun. Tell the truth, especially when the truth is obvious. If you’re lucky the moderator will try to provoke you with tough questions. This is good thing because it provides an opportunity to be (a) funny and (b) a straight shooter. “The truth will get you glee.” If everybody knows the truth, don’t try to lie. It would be far better to say, “I take the Fifth Amendment.” At least that will get a laugh. Answer the question that’s posed, but don’t limit yourself to it. When asked a question, answer it as quickly as possible, but then feel free to take the conversation in the direction you want it to go. For example, let’s say that the moderator asks, “Do you think smart phones will get viruses soon?” It’s okay to answer, “Yes, I think this is an issue, but the real issue is the lack of good cell phone coverage,” if that’s what you want to talk about. Be plain, simple, and short. Let’s assume you are on a panel of experts. Let’s further assume the moderator is an expert. The moderator asks a question. You direct your answer to her and to the other panelists—all experts, so you launch into an alphabet soup, acronym du jour response. Big mistake. The audience is the audience, not the moderator, nor the panelists. Reduce the most complex and technical issues to something plain, simple, and short, and you’ll stand out. Fake interest. This may be one of the hardest aspects of a panel. Let’s say the other panelists are in the middle of a long, boring, jargon-filled response. The temptation is to check email or resist looking bored. Don’t do it. Fake rapt interest because the moment you look bored, a photographer is going to snap a picture or the ca[...]
2016-10-24T21:08:51ZThis is a reprint from Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill it in Your Career. Rock Social Media. By Aliza Licht. I’m publishing it because many students are about to begin their summer internships, and I want them to have the most valuable experience possible. When you enter a real work environment […] The post Must Do: Intern Like a Rock Star appeared first on Guy Kawasaki. This is a reprint from Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill it in Your Career. Rock Social Media. By Aliza Licht. I’m publishing it because many students are about to begin their summer internships, and I want them to have the most valuable experience possible. When you enter a real work environment for the first time, especially as a college student starting an internship, remember why you want to be there: First and foremost, to learn real marketable skills that can enhance your resumé and to secure a strong referral from your supervisor. You do not go about getting these things by thinking, “Oh, I’m just an intern, so this experience doesn’t really matter.” Too many people make the mistake of thinking that since they don’t “really” work somewhere, how they present themselves isn’t of consequence. On the contrary, how you present yourself matters more because you’re trying to prove yourself and break in. By the last day of your internship, your boss should be begging for you to stay. She should be saying things like, “What are we going to do without you?” That is a lasting impression. That is a reference nailed. Here’s how you do that: Dress the part: The more you can dress to fit the office culture, the easier it will be for people there to visualize you as part of the team. Now, here’s where you start panicking that you don’t have the money to shop for new clothes. Listen: Shop thrift stores or borrow from friends. When my sister and I get bored of our closets we swap wardrobes. It feels as gratifying as shopping! If you can afford to, invest in accessories. A quality shoe or handbag is much harder to fake. When in doubt about your wardrobe, wear black. Black doesn’t make mistakes. Be mindful of the cuts: The office is no place for strapless or cleavage. Miniskirts can also be a no-no. You’re not stupid so you don’t need me to tell you this but… don’t dress like you’re going out clubbing. Guys, for you the advice is different. For some reason, men underestimate the importance of a clean, pressed shirt. Don’t dress like you’ve just rolled out of bed. A sleepy outfit can give the impression of a sleepy mind. Investigate your employers beforehand: Google the names of anyone you know who works there. Study them and memorize who they are. There’s no excuse for not knowing who the CEO of a company is—when you end up in the elevator alone with him, you don’t want to mistakenly ignore him. If you can, it’s also smart to examine your future coworkers’ body language in photographs; are they really smiley and having fun or are they serious and stiff? If they’ve been quoted anywhere, what did they say? What do people say about them? Think like an investigative reporter and come up with a few takeaways as to what the tone of the office might be like. INSIDER TIP: Know the players or you won’t know how to play the game. Be on time: No, better yet, get there before everyone else does. If your boss shows up and you’re already in the office, that’s bonus points and if you ask your supervisor the night before what project you could start in the morning, you’ll achieve rock star status in no time. Going above and beyond will pay off, I promise you. And if you have the nerve to be late, guess what you’re giving off? The “I don’t really value this opportunity” sign. You may as well pick out your tombstone now, because, honey, you are dead and buried. Remember, yo[...]
2016-10-24T21:08:52ZIn the early days of starting up, the ability to scale is overrated. “Scale,” in case you haven’t heard the term, refers to the concept that there are processes in place that are fast, cheap, and repeatable because there will soon be millions of customers who generate billions of dollars of revenue. For example, if […] The post How to Launch (And Why Scaling Doesn’t Matter) appeared first on Guy Kawasaki. In the early days of starting up, the ability to scale is overrated. “Scale,” in case you haven’t heard the term, refers to the concept that there are processes in place that are fast, cheap, and repeatable because there will soon be millions of customers who generate billions of dollars of revenue. For example, if Pierre Omidyar had to test every used printer offered for sale, eBay couldn’t scale. If Marc Benioff had to make every sales call, Salesforce.com couldn’t scale. If James Hong’s parents had to check every picture to see if it was porn, Hot or Not couldn’t scale. Holding yourself to a mass-scaling test in the early days is a mistake—putting the proverbial horse before the cart. This is akin to wondering if you should start a restaurant because it may be impossible to scale the perfectionism of an executive chef for multiple locations. How about first ensuring that people within in a twenty-mile radius like the food before working about scaling the restaurant? That is, see if the business will work at all. For example, a company that I advise called Tutor Universe provides tutoring service via smartphones. Think of it as “Uber for tutoring.” The long-term plan was that students could ask questions about any topic and receive help in under fifteen minutes. However, in the beginning, a critical mass of tutors for every subject didn’t yet exist. Many startups face just such a chicken-or-egg challenge: if you had enough tutors, you’d attract enough students. If you had enough students, you’d attract enough tutors. What do you do when you’re faced with this kind of challenge? The answer is simple: you cheat! You use your own employees to answer questions and hire tutors in the Philippines (highly educated, English speaking, and cheap) until you can reach a critical mass of a marketplace. Skeptics and inexperienced entrepreneurs might object: you can’t scale if you have to use employees or hire tutors because they are too expensive. This might be true, but it doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you establish three key points: You can get the word out Students are willing to install an app They will pay for help. Your priority, in short, is proving that people will use your product at all. If they won’t, then it won’t matter if you can’t scale. If they will, then you will figure out a way to scale. I’ve never seen a startup die because it couldn’t scale fast enough. I’ve seen hundreds of startups die because people refused to embrace their product. This post is a tiny part of Guy Kawasaki’s latest book, The Art of the Start 2.0. Read it and reap… The post How to Launch (And Why Scaling Doesn’t Matter) appeared first on Guy Kawasaki. [...]
2016-10-24T21:08:54ZOnce upon a time there were two engineering PhDs who were clueless about how to start a company. All they knew how to do was code. They were so desperate for money and adult supervision that when an experienced businessperson showed interest and offered to help raise money, they, in their own words, “followed him […] The post How to Pick Advisors appeared first on Guy Kawasaki. Once upon a time there were two engineering PhDs who were clueless about how to start a company. All they knew how to do was code. They were so desperate for money and adult supervision that when an experienced businessperson showed interest and offered to help raise money, they, in their own words, “followed him like dogs.” However, this adult didn’t know much about tech startups and caused them to make many mistakes in legal and financial matters. They parted ways but only after much aggravation and the significant legal expense of undoing incorrect decisions. This is not an unusual story, and it’s an understandable one. First-time entrepreneurs are looking for any particle of positive feedback, reinforcement, and advice, so they jump at the first sign of interest. The demand for adult supervision in the form of advisors, board members, and investors far exceeds the supply, so you may need to take a chance with people who are untested in these roles. If no one will dance with you, the temptation is to dance with the first person who asks. Here is a test to separate the contenders from the pretenders. These questions will help you identify good advisors, board members, and investors (if you have the luxury of choosing investors). What kind of corporation should we form? Answer you’re looking for: “C corporation” assuming the goal is to create the next Google. In what state should we incorporate? Answer you’re looking for: “Delaware.” Do our investors have to be accredited investors? Answer you’re looking for: “Yes.” Answer that should scare you: “No.” Should two founders split the company right down the middle? Answer you’re looking for: “No, you should allocate 25 percent to future employees and 35 percent to the first two rounds of investments. That leaves 40 percent for the founders to split amongst themselves.” Should we sell common or preferred stock to investors? Answer you’re looking for: “Preferred.” Should all employees, including founders, go through a vesting process? Answer you’re looking for: “Yes, everyone should vest because you don’t want a founder to leave with a significant percentage of the company after a few months.” Should we pay consultants with stock options? Answer you’re looking for: “No, stock options are for long-term employees, not short-term consultants. If you can’t afford consultants, do the work yourself.” Can we get a bank loan to start our business? Answer you’re looking for: assuming it’s a tech business, “No.” Tech businesses don’t have liquid assets to use as collateral. Should we use an investment bank, broker, or finder to raise seed capital? Answer you’re looking for: “No, angel and venture-capital investors view early-stage entrepreneurs who use a banker, broker, or finder as clueless.” What do we need our revenue projections to look like in five years to attract investors? Answer you’re looking for: “No investor will believe them anyway, but they should be as good as the closest comparable successful company that has already gone public.” Also, you don’t want money from investors who do believe your projections because they are clueless. How long should our business plan be? Answer you’re looking for: “You shouldn’t write a business plan. You should get customers.” Is there someone else you would also recommend who could be a good advisor? Answer you’re looking fo[...]