Article first published as 10 Reasons To Start A Company In An Economic Downturn on Technorati. There has recently been a common theme among the entrepreneurs I have interviewed and the conferences I have attended: despite the relatively weak state of the world economy, now is a great time to create a high-tech startup. As Guy Kawasaki pointed out in our recent conversation, “…it is cheaper than ever to start a company. People are free or cheap because of the recession. Marketing is free or cheap because of social media. You don’t really buy servers anymore…the tools are all open source. Basically, everything is free. If there was ever a time to start a company, this is it.” Marten Mickos, Founder of MySQL and current CEO of Eucalyptus Systems echoed Guy’s sentiment in this interview by saying, “We who are entrepreneurs say, ‘This is the best time ever to start a company.’ We always say it and I believe it.”
Note: This is the fourth installment of an ongoing Guerilla Marketing series. The other installments address: 1) FUEL’s use of faux Monks dominates the social consciousness of a major media tradeshow 2) TestFlight’s clever distribution of free meals garners Steve Jobs’ attention 3) Social Stay’s failed attempt to utilize parcours to liven up a hospitality tradeshow nearly lands them in jail Before it became a monolithic, multi-billion dollar organization, DoubleClick was a wily, nimble startup. In those early days, the DoubleClick team used a variety of guerilla marketing tactics to rise above the chaos endemic in the online ad world during the Internet’s nascent evolution.
I do not often write blog entries which reference other blog articles. However, I recently came across a truly delightful post entitled, Jeffrey Aaronson’s Improbable Journey with Steve Jobs, the Guy Who Changed His World (and Ours). Jeffrey Aaronson is a noted artist and photojournalist who befriended a young Mr. Jobs at the beginning of Steve’s amazing journey.
I recently spoke with Marten Mickos, the former CEO of MySQL and current CEO of Eucalyptus Systems, the leader in private cloud platforms. Eucalyptus’ underlying technology was developed at UC Santa Barbara. Since its origin as an academic research project in 2007, Eucalyptus has become the dominant open source cloud solution, boasting over 25,000 clouds formed. According to Marten, “We enable companies to run, within their own firewall, a cloud that behaves exactly like the public clouds, exactly like Amazon. So there is benefit of a running a cloud in-house, you have your own servers but you get full elasticity and you can shift workloads between your various applications.” You can watch my interview with Marten below or on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/B7CIUFSbQwU
Note: This is an installment in the Iconic Advice series. Other installments include: Words of startup wisdom from Jeff Bezos In the course of my recent interview with Guy Kawasaki, author and former Apple Evangelist, Guy describes Steve Jobs as: “…the world’s greatest CEO, ever. He did more for Apple’s shareholders, customers and employees than any other CEO has ever done for their shareholders, customers and employees. People should not try to emulate him, because they will be setting themselves up for failure. He is a great example of…building an enchanting company.” There are numerous reasons for Jobs’ success, not the least of which was his uncompromising pursuit of a delightful customer experience.
Note: This is Part I in the Startup Advantages series. Startups have few advantages. One of the most significant is the ability to keep your cards close to your vest. A major disadvantage of a public Big Dumb Company (BDC), as well as one that works closely with governmental agencies, is the degree to which they are forced to publicly disclose otherwise confidential information.
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” Steve Jobs, Co-Founder Apple, NeXT Computing and Pixar
Article first published as An Enchanting Conversation With Guy Kawasaki on Technorati. Guy’s latest book, Enchantment, was released in March of 2011, to overwhelmingly upbeat reviews. Of the 225 customer reviews currently posted on Amazon, over 90% are highly positive. I enjoyed the book as well, as evidenced by the review I wrote at the time of its release, which you can read HERE. I even plan to use it in my upcoming UC Santa Barbara Entrepreneurial Selling class. As Guy notes in the accompanying video interview, his primary goal with Enchantment is to reach a broader audience, beyond the high-tech, startup world. According to Guy, “It has been very satisfying to hear from people who never heard of me before. It wasn’t the Guy fan base. I’d like to expand beyond that. I want this book to be the equal to How To Win Friends And Influence People, by Dale Carnegie.” To this end, Guy has written a book that can be used by anyone seeking to further their cause; from startups, to non-profits, to public policy issues to getting a job. You can watch the video interview with Guy below or on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/E-44eylGb2I
Note: This is Part II in the Startup Team Building series. Read Part I HERE Bilbo’s offer letter from Thorin in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit exemplifies the proper attitude that you must have when joining a startup adVenture. “For your hospitality our sincerest thanks, and for your offer of professional assistance our grateful acceptance. Terms: cash on delivery, up to and not exceeding one fourteenth of total profits (if any); all traveling expenses guaranteed in any event; funeral expenses to be defrayed by us or our representatives, if occasion arises and the matter is not otherwise arranged for.”
Richard White, author of The Entrepreneur’s Manual, surveyed a number of venture capitalists, asking them to identify the characteristics of successful, serial entrepreneurs. One of the attributes identified by all of the venture capitalists questioned was, “Frugal use of capital.” In fact, several of the venture capitalists pointed out that successful entrepreneurs often have to be encouraged to spend more aggressively. In my experience at Rincon Venture Partners, I have worked with a number of successful, serial entrepreneurs who instill an urgent sense of frugality into their adVenture’s corporate culture.