The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki
“Working in a start-up isn’t easy... Therefore, belief in what you’re doing is as important as competence and experience.”
The hardest part of having a business of your own is always the start. It is the start that dictates whether your business succeeds or fails. 80% of the startups fail because they don’t get “The Art of the Start” right. Author Guy Kawasaki focuses exclusively on this – everything related to starting a business.
Why read a book by Kawasaki on entrepreneurship when there are dozens of other quality writers who have written on the subject? For the simple reason that Kawasaki is a man who has actually done everything he talks about in his book. He was involved with Apple at the very start, as a software evangelist.
It was his job to get developers motivated enough to create applications for Apple, and not for their chief competitor during those days, IBM. It is a testament to his unique salesmanship that Kawasaki largely succeeded in his goals.
Today, Kawasaki is one of the biggest venture capitalists in the Silicon Valley. He word counts for a lot and a majority of the young ventures backed by him have succeeded, partly thanks due to his active involvement in the running of the firms as a mentor.
So, clearly, when you read The Art of the Start, you learn entrepreneurship from the master himself. It also helps that Kawasaki has a unique style of writing, one which can only be described as charmingly idiosyncratic.
Kawasaki uses many unconventional writing tricks such “Frequently Avoided Questions” rather than Frequently Asked Questions, GISTs or Great Ideas for Starting Things, mini-chapters at the start and end of each chapter, lots of bullet points and charts – and yes, a liberal dose of humor.
In fact, it’s hard to read through the book without a smile on your face. Kawasaki is a highly entertaining writer, and a deeply optimistic one, who educates you and makes you happy about the world and yourself. He is also a wordsmith, who has strong command over the English language. Truly, when you read this book, you know you are learning entrepreneurship from someone at the top of the game.
As a business executive, you will learn many useful, practical things from Kawasaki’s book – such as the 10/20/30 rule of presentations. This states that a presentation should have only 10 slides, run for 20 minutes and use a 30-size font.
Kawasaki suggests asking your audience three things at the start of every presentation:
- “How much of your time may I have?”
- “What are the three most important things I can communicate to you?”
- “May I quickly go through my PowerPoint presentation and handle questions at the end?”
This is excellent advice, as the approach is likely to get your audience’s attention and get them involved in the presentation. You will find many interesting takeaways like that from this book, which will prepare you for a role as a business executive as well as for your first venture as an entrepreneur.
Most of us haven’t had the luck to go to the top business schools in the world such as Harvard and Wharton. But when you read Kawasaki, you know you’re getting invaluable lessons from one of the very best.