Guy Kawasaki

We are living in interesting times

Batman Ride

The current economic roller coaster is not as much fun as the Batman at Six flags. The market gyrations and financial market meltdown is definitely no fun and most of us has not experienced this before. The post-2000 dotcom bust now seems like a walk-in-the-park.I’m sure there are tons of good advice out their. Here are my favorites:Here is John Doerr‘s (Mr VC) top 10 tips, with the HCM Gartner guru, Jim Holincheck sharing his thoughts on the impact on the HCM market (maybe a bit dated), and finally my favorite entrepreneur guy, Guy Kawasaki’s post on the subject from a CEO perspective. This Sequoia capital presentation is very interesting (and potentially depressing) reading.I belong to Vistage, a global organization for CEOs and their top economist, Brian Beaulieu provided sage advise regarding the next 18 months. Here are a few actionable items for business owners:

  • If you have future cash needs. draw down your credit lines and hold the cash.
  • Use CDARS (a network of FDIC insured banks) as a way to protect your cash.
  • Take all necessary actions to maintain a positive cash flow.
  • Retool your management objectives with the understanding that this business cycle has a rise on the other side of the recession. Position your business for the next ascent.
  • Lead with confidence and optimism, with the attitude that “we can beat the business cycle.”
  • Find clients in these resilient sectors: healthcare, food distribution, water purification/distribution, electricity, natural gas distribution, consumer non-durables, education (community colleges in particular) and exports.
  • Expand internationally, and don’t overlook growing markets in Brazil and Chile.
  • Always give your clients a compelling reason to buy from you.
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What do you want to be remembered for?

I’m sure that you’ve noticed by now that I am a big fan of Guy Kawasaki. I really like his practical, let’s get it done attitude. His Art of the Start book is one of the best business books around.Read it!The last chapter of Guy’s book is on being a Mensch or “What do you want to be remembered for?” You can find a Guy’s post on this here and Joe McCarthy’s counter point here. Guy also contributes to Entrepreneur Magazine and in the March 2008 edition he writes about the same topic.Here are his 5 ways:

    • Help people who cannot help you. A mensch helps people who cannot ever return the favor. He doesn’t care if the recipient is rich, famous, or powerful. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t help rich, famous, or powerful people (indeed, they may need the most help), but you shouldn’t help only rich, famous, and powerful people.
    • Help without the expectation of return. A mensch helps people without the expectation of return–at least in this life. What’s the payoff? Not that there has to be a payoff, but the payoff is the pure satisfaction of helping others. Nothing more, nothing less.
    • Help many people. Menschdom is a numbers game: you should help many people, so you don’t hide your generosity under a bushel. (Of course, not even a mensch can help everyone. To try to do so would mean failing to help anyone.)
    • Do the right thing the right way. A mensch always does the right thing the right way. She would never cop an attitude like, “We’re not as bad as Enron.” There is a bright, clear line between right and wrong, and a mensch never crosses that line.
    • Pay back society. A mensch realizes that he’s blessed. For example, entrepreneurs are blessed with vision and passion plus the ability to recruit, raise money, and change the world. These blessings come with the obligation to pay back society. The baseline is that we owe something to society–we’re not a doing a favor by paying back society.

      It’s the end of your life…what do you want to be remembered for?[amtap book:isbn=1591840562]

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      21 Top tips for writing a corporate blog

      OK, I assume you know that this is Robert Scobler‘s list of 21 tips for writing a corporate blog. It’s called the The Corporate Weblog Manifesto and he wrote it in February 2003. It’s still valid today. You can download the manifesto from Btw, Scrobleizer launched his new channel, ScobleizerTV today. Guy Kawasaki always provides good advice, and here are his tips after 120 days of blogging.Here are the first ten things to consider when you start a corporate blog (according to Scrobleizer):1) Tell the truth. The whole truth. Nothing but the truth. If your competitor has a product that’s better than yours, link to it. You might as well. We’ll find it anyway.2) Post fast on good news or bad. Someone say something bad about your product? Link to it — before the second or third site does — and answer its claims as best you can. Same if something good comes out about you. It’s all about building long-term trust. The trick to building trust is to show up! If people are saying things about your product and you don’t answer them, that distrust builds. Plus, if people are saying good things about your product, why not help Google find those pages as well?3) Use a human voice. Don’t get corporate lawyers and PR professionals to cleanse your speech. We can tell, believe me. Plus, you’ll be too slow. If you’re the last one to post, the joke is on you!4) Make sure you support the latest software/web/human standards. If you don’t know what the W3C is, find out. If you don’t know what RSS feeds are, find out. If you don’t know what is, find out. If you don’t know how Google works, find out.5) Have a thick skin. Even if you have Bill Gates’ favorite product people will say bad things about it. That’s part of the process. Don’t try to write a corporate weblog unless you can answer all questions — good and bad — professionally, quickly, and nicely.6) Don’t ignore Slashdot.7) Talk to the grassroots first. Why? Because the main-stream press is cruising weblogs looking for stories and looking for people to use in quotes. If a mainstream reporter can’t find anyone who knows anything about a story, he/she will write a story that looks like a press release instead of something trustworthy. People trust stories that have quotes from many sources. They don’t trust press releases.8) If you screw up, acknowledge it. Fast. And give us a plan for how you’ll unscrew things. Then deliver on your promises.9) Underpromise and over deliver. If you’re going to ship on March 1, say you won’t ship until March 15. Folks will start to trust you if you behave this way. Look at Disneyland. When you’re standing in line you trust their signs. Why? Because the line always goes faster than its says it will (their signs are engineered to say that a line will take about 15% longer than it really will).10) If Doc Searls says it or writes it, believe it. Live it. Enough said.

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      Just-in-time (JIT) training for entrepreneurs

      I think that the exponential increase of on-demand video (, Yahoo! video) will allow entrepreneurs to learn on-the-fly from some incredible sources. The problem with Youtube is that it takes time to find quality videos, like this Sellingpower interview of SAP Americas CEO, Bill McDermont.The Stanford’s Educations Corner is an entrepreneur’s best friend. It contains wisdom, knowledge, tried-and-tested experience from very well-known and experienced business people like John Doerr (Kerner Perkins), Carly Fiorina (former HP CEO), and Guy Kawasaki (Garage Ventures). This month’s Futurist click-of-the-month is This is a great example of a site aggregating some quality videos.

      We expect to disseminate science to the widest possible audience, thereby bringing the YouTube generation–who are the next generation of leading scientists–the best science using a medium they have adopted and use on a daily basis,” says University of California, San Diego, pharmacy professor Phillip E. Bourne, one of the directors of the SciVee project.

      Apple’s iTunes now contains a section called uTunes. uTunes contains audio lectures from prominent universities like MIT, Stanford, Duke and Berkley.Another interesting site is On this site you’ll find lots of very well articulated business presentations. Again, you’ll have to search a little to get gems like this one:View on SlideShareWhich sites do you use for your JIT training?

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      Realtime Application Development Online?

      A friend of mine recently sent me an email regarding Coghead. According to their website Coghead is: “A simple, powerful new way to create web-based business applications that can be used by anyone, anytime, anywhere!” This is not a new idea, however Coghead seems to be getting a lot of attention. I want to investigate Coghead in more detail, however in the meantime I wanted to post this overview of some web 2.0 online development environments. Guy Kawaski posted an article on his blog and the comments are a good overview of what people think about these types of environments.

      No-code logo

      Some of the pro’s of this approach:

      • Put application development in the hands of the business users. (also a con)
      • The development environment is online and always available. Customers don’t have to worry about servers, backups, etc.
      • The development environment is immediately available.
      • Most of these environments are WYSIWYG.
      • Developers can focus on developing the difficult enterprise wide applications.

      …and some con’s of this approach:

      • the application is only available while you have access to the Internet and the host website is available,
      • many companies may not be comfortable storing their data at a different site,
      • potential customers may ask: “What happens to my applications and data if the company goes under?”
      • only a small percentage of development is taken up by coding, most of it is spent on design. I’m not sure if end users are the best at application design. Do end users understand abstraction and program design?

      The Law of Leaky Abstractions:The following article does a great job of explaining the concept of abstraction and why “code generators” mostly fail to be successful. Here is an extract of the article — I recommend that you read the entire article.

      “The law of leaky abstractions means that whenever somebody comes up with a wizzy new code-generation tool that is supposed to make us all ever-so-efficient, you hear a lot of people saying “learn how to do it manually first, then use the wizzy tool to save time.” Code generation tools which pretend to abstract out something, like all abstractions, leak, and the only way to deal with the leaks competently is to learn about how the abstractions work and what they are abstracting. So the abstractions save us time working, but they don’t save us time learning.”

      OK, and now the list of online web application development environments:

      Don’t forget about the following mainstream products:

      These tools are more for developers, but worth a mention when discussing realtime application development environments:

      [July 12, 2007 update: Magic Software, OpenSpan, and Joomla are also interesting alternatives.]Please send your comments and let me know if I missed any significant environments.

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