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.
Note: This is Part I in the Startup Team Building series. Read Part II HERE Each generation, a few magnetic personalities emerge and generate a mania of public interest. Before Elvis, there was Sinatra. Before Sinatra, there was Bing. Before Bing, there was Caruso and before Caruso, there was Blondin. Jean Francois Gravelot, who wisely abandoned his given name and dubbed himself The Great Blondin, was a true rock star of the 19th Century. On June 30, 1859, at the height of his fame, he stood before a crowd of tens of thousands of people at Niagara Falls.
In August 2004, FastCompany published an article titled, Inside The Mind Of Jeff Bezos, written by Alan Deutschman. Although the article is informative, it is the accompanying sidebar that has remained with me over the succeeding years. Under the heading, “The Book On Bezos,” the callout lists ten actionable and impactful nuggets of startup advice. I review these tenets with my entrepreneurial students at UC Santa Barbara at the beginning of each quarter to reinforce many of the key topics we will cover in the following weeks. They are listed below augmented with quotes from Jeff Bezos taken from various points in his career.
Team Above Self - the Team’s objectives supersede those of the Individual The ninth tenet outlined in Core Values When I was an operational startup executive, I seldom lost my temper in the workplace. However, one of the few things that angered me at a base level was when an employee would place their personal interests above those of the company.
Nithin Jilla was 14-yrs old when he became involved in Kenya Dream. Over the past four years, Nithin has generated national coverage for his from several leading cable news networks, as well as a number of local and regional newspapers. He has also combined his passion for dance to further expand Kenya Dream’s audience by establishing a series of Ken-Ya Dance showcase events festivals. You can watch my interview with Nithin below or on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/sUex9TwXSjI
“Whenever it is possible, a boy should choose some occupation which he should do even if he did not need the money.” William Lyon Phelps, American Author Growing up, I dreamed that one day I could say, “I don’t have to work.” My parents were both government employees of modest means who understandably viewed my lofty aspirations as an unlikely fantasy. My father passed away when I was in my mid-30’s, before he had a chance to enjoy the fruits of his lifelong labor. His premature death further solidified my desire to retire early. After an exhausting and exhilarating 13-years as a senior startup executive, I looked back on my career with satisfaction, having helped several companies create significant wealth, including: Computer Motion: IPO and later sold to Intuitive Surgical $148 million Expertcity: creator of GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting, sold to Citrix for $236 million CallWave: IPO, initial market cap ~$200 million At the age of 43, I decided that I would retire. I was convinced at the time that I would never work again. At the outset of my retirement, I shared this thought with a CEO whom I respected and without hesitation he replied, “You will be back in the game once you take a breather. I guarantee it.” Boy, was he ever right…