Evangelist | Author | Speaker
021 Disrupt 2020 Wired organized by The Nest I/O is by far the most anticipated global event of the year. It is a premiere conference for entrepreneurs, disruptors, and innovators under one roof or should I say on one virtual platform to network, support, and build relationships.
Amongst the list of famous and celebrated speakers and panellists, Guy Kawasaki was one of them! From his 25-minute session, which no one wanted to miss out on, we have managed to extract the juiciest and most interesting pieces for those of you who unfortunately missed out [*disappointed look for you*] and for those who want to go back to his words as a checker, [*appreciated nod for you*].
So, bookmark this article because it is one of the most wholesome and informative sessions of the 2 days!
Who is Guy Kawasaki anyway?
Guy Kawasaki is a Hawaiian born marketing specialist, author, speaker, Silicon Valley venture capitalist, and chief evangelist of Canva. He also has a famous podcast called Remarkable People. Interesting fact is that he was one of the Apple employees who were responsible for marketing the Macintosh computer line in 1984.
With a BA from Stanford University, an MBA from UCLA, and an honorary doctorate from Babson College, He is now an executive fellow of Hass School of Business [UC Berkeley], adjunct professor of the University of New South Wales, and trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation. He has written over 11 books including Wise Guy, The Art of the Start 2.0, The Art of Social Media, and Enchantment.
Having lived the “Wonder Years” that is “I wonder why I deserve such a good life”, Guy founded many companies including softwares, writing & speaking resource platforms, and angel investor matchmaking services, while currently he is the brand ambassador for Mercedes Benz USA.
Guy’s Golden Touch: “Whatever is Gold, Guy touches”
Startup.pk was the Media Partner for 021 Disrupt 2020 Wired conference and we were able to cover the sessions and bring some interesting key takeaways for you.
So, what did Guy Kawasaki had to share with the entrepreneurs, innovators, and disruptors watching globally around the world?
Guy Kawasaki’s session was on the Art of starting a company that dense the universe with a cool shout out to Sameer, Founder of Social Champ application. He also shared and explained the 10 key principles of entrepreneurship.
1. Ask Simple Questions
Lots of people think that behind every tech company birthed from a megalomaniac’s mind who was on a mission to conquer the world and do great work for the greater good! But Guy’s observation was that typically any company starts with a very simple question:
This means that if you have a vision, you have an insight, you have a guess, you’re lucky and you see that somethings will change and somethings will cause a change. A good example he mentioned was the switch to online education during the COVID-19 Pandemic. More smartphone users and internet consumers so you then begin to create an online education site. This thought process is driven by your observation of a change and then asking the question, “Therefore, what?”.
“Isn’t this interesting?”
Another question to ask after doing something and not getting the expected results is, “Isn’t this interesting?”. Maybe you created an app, or a website or a device that ended up doing something else and maybe even better than what you anticipated, well would not that be something interesting?
“Is there a better way?”
Not always will you end up with results that people love or something that unexpectedly does something great- so, then ask the question, “Is there a better way?” to do that or achieve the goal you envisioned. This is the question that led Guy and his team to build a mainframe for Apple.
2. Make an MVVVP!
We know about the MVP that is the Minimum Viable Product but interestingly Guy Kawasaki adds in 2 more Vs.
Valuable: The product should be valuable and important to dense the universe and the targeted audience.
Validating: The product should also be validating your vision. It should be able to validate what you’re seeing and “know” that is what is going to happen.
So, instead of just making a minimum viable product, Guy wants you to make a minimum viable, valuable, validating product!
3. Get Going!
According to Guy many startups and entrepreneurs are just waiting for the perfect time, perfect product, perfect team and the perfect everything to start! That is not how it works. This is a messy business so you should look back at the version 1 of your product and CRINGE!
“Do Something Cringeworthy!”
It should make you wonder how and why you were able to create something that was a complete “piece of crap” as Guy puts it. But don’t dwell on it anymore. Jump to the next curve and think how you can create something that innovative, valuable, validating and viable but not necessarily perfect!
“Find Your Soul Mate!”
Just get going and start working. Bonus point is to “find complementary soul mates” that is people who can do things you can’t do. If you’re an engineer, then get marketers and salespeople to help you. Engineers without sales can not sell anything and sales without engineers have nothing to sell!
“Make a Mantra!”
Make a mantra of 2 or 3 words to describe why you exist? Guy Kawasaki’s personal mantra is “Empower People”. Canva’s mantra is “Democratize Design” just like we at Startup.pk believe in “Empowering Entrepreneurs”. These simple words explain why you exist and what are you aiming for.
4. Define a Business Model
You need to have a solid business model plan. Many entrepreneurs compare themselves with Uber, Facebook, Instagram, AirBnB for not having a business model but that’s not true. Don’t confuse luck with skill and come up with a solid business model plan. Your business model should have the following qualities.
Be very clear and specific on exactly who is your customer? Who has your money in their pockets? The business model is to extract your money form their pockets into your pocket.
“Keep it Simple!”
Keep your business model simple. Like Guy says, “If you’re trying to create a pattern pinning curve jumping paradigm shifting product and you’re also trying to create pattern pinning curve jumping paradigm shifting innovative revolutionary business model then it’s too hard!”
It’s difficult enough to create a great product and then trying to have a great business model on top of it will just add to the difficulty. So, keep it simple!
This is where Guy deserved a standing ovation! Finally, someone said it- Ask Women! If you have an idea of a business model, then ask the women because generally they are good judges of the viability of a new business. They are better judges of the entrepreneurial ideas.
5. Weave a MATT
You usually think that by starting a company, we can do so many fun things like buying cool furniture, figure out domain names and logos, and stationary but that is irrelevant. The most important things are those which are for the long run.
Figure out your milestones. These are major things like calling your parents and telling them that today we shifted to a new house, or we made a functioning prototype of our product or that you sold your product and got your first revenue!
What are your assumptions in the model? How many sales calls are you making a day and how many people are being converted from free to paid account on your website. Build these assumptions into questions so that it can be tested out.
This is where you will test your assumptions. So, build a website, launch the product, make the sales calls, etc. Reach out to the market and starting practically working on it.
The final T of the MATT is tasks. So, when you have figured out your milestones, assumptions, and tests, you’re going to come down to tasks. These are the serious actions and calls you have to make such as, hiring an engineer or a marketer.
6. Tell your Story
Everything has a story. As humans, we can better connect to and retain information when we can relate to the gist of the context. That is when we can familiarize ourselves with the story.
“Make it personal!”
The “WHY” behind your story! Why did you create this company? Why does the product exist? Why does it do what it does? Maybe someone you loved or cared for had this great need and you wanted to build a product that helped them. Why do people you care about want to you use it or were the reason for its existence.
Your story will only be impactful if it is short, crisp and clear. To make that happen, you need to have 10 slides that should take about 20 minutes to present and no font size should be smaller than 30 points.
“Apply the Opposite Rule”
Think about how you are thinking different to what most of the entrepreneurs have said it. How are you saying things that are different from the next person who is presenting after you or from the person who presented before you? Because then none of you would have said anything!?
Ask so what and pretend that there is a tiny voice that keeps saying so what after every idea or statement you speak about. That tiny “Pinocchio’s cricket-conscience” of yours should question your every move. This will help refine your idea further and develop a solid foundation for your plan.
7. Hire Passionate People
Hire people who are passionate about the work they do. They are zealous and motivated to share the same vision as you. Without feelings of passion, there will be a missing piece to the puzzle.
“Ignore the Irrelevant!”
Firstly, ignore the irrelevant. A person with the ideal and perfect background but zero passion is no use to you! Ignore them. Lack of a perfect background but tons of passion to work for the same goal is what will work so, ignore the lack of a background!
“Hire better than Yourself!”
This is something Neil Patel also, emphasized in our exclusive podcast with him. Hire people who are better than you to work with. A-Players hire A* Players not B-players because you want to be one up yourself and not the other way around!
“Apply the shopping center test!”
Do you see someone you know at the mall and rush over to them to say hello? Or do you think about waiting till you actually make eye contact or are face to face with that person? Your only reaction should be to walk straight over and say hello!
To start a company today- you need to socialize. And this doesn’t only mean to network but to clock the social media platforms. You need to have an online presence.
“Perfect your profiles!”
Complete and perfect your profiles on social media. This means to have the about section clearly filled out, contact details updated, the right avatar uploaded. You need to pay attention to it because your profiles will project your vision.
Embrace the Wikipedia model. Wikipedia raises about $90 Million dollars every year by running advertisements. This is because Wikipedia provides value. If you provide value through your socials and website then you earn the right to promote your content.
“Pass the re-share test!”
The ultimate test is that when you share something of value on your profile and your followers like it so much that they re-share it to their followers then you have organically raised traffic and following.
9. Seed the Clouds
This is a saying in America about making it rain money! Rain means Sales! Revenue and sales, according to Guy Kawasaki fixes everything!
“Let Hundred Flowers Blossom!”
You may think you one kind of a product, but you go into the market and find out that it is completely different to what you think- doesn’t matter! Just take the money. You created something that fulfils a need and does it well. If the market tells you that you have one thing, take it and run with it!
“Enable test drives!”
Enable people to try your product, run it and then decide. This is a popular concept these days of running 7 day or 30 day free trials of a software and then rolling on to the subscription model! Give them the control to handle it.
“Find the influencers!”
It may be easy for you to find the influencers or people with the most influence but find them in the right place. It may not be people with the fancy titles. It may be a secretary, an administrator, a management trainee, intern, etc. These are the people who do the work. They have the influence to take the decision even though they don’t have the power.
10. Don’t let the clowns put you Down!
By far, one of the best advices by Guy Kawasaki is to cancel the naysayers! These naysayers will tell you that some things can’t be done or shouldn’t be done- just ignore them and mute their voices. Don’t listen to people because they are rich and influential because if you do then you won’t get to try and so, will not be able to find out how it works.
“I think there is a world market for maybe 5 computers.” – Thomas Watson Chairman, IBM 1943
But when somebody tells you that you’ll fail, which means you’ll succeed is not true either! When somebody tells you that when you fail, so, you never try and never learn, then that is the worst outcome of all!