Make Meaning in Your Company

Stanford University
Course Lectures
  • Guy Kawasaki, founder and Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures, believes that those companies who set out to make a positive change in the world are the companies that will ultimately be the most successful. He gives examples of the best way to make meaning: increase quality of life, right a wrong, and prevent the end of something good.

  • Kawasaki talks about how mission statements, while touted as necessary for any company, often is not representative of the true meaning of the company. Instead, a mantra is shorter and captures the essence of the organization.

  • Get Up and Get Going!
    Guy Kawasaki

    Kawasaki explains that market research, focus groups, and test cases can bog down an entrepreneur and prevent her or him from completing the most necessary task - action! His advice to break the cycle is to think different, polarize people, and find a few soul mates.

  • The New Business Model
    Guy Kawasaki

    The business model today is very different than it was before and during the boom, says Kawasaki. In order to write the best business plan possible, follow Kawasaki's steps: specificity, simplicity, and ask women. He believes that woman don't possess the killer gene that is inherent in men, and will be able to give better advice about a business model.

  • Kawasaki suggests creating a system of milestones, assumptions and tasks to keep your business on the right path and increase your chances for success.

  • Kawasaki talks about marketing and product design simplified. Kawasaki explains why this theory is all an entrepreneur will need to know about marketing. A simple chart illustrates his point - how to be the creator of a unique product or service and is valuable to a customer.

  • Make a Great Pitch
    Guy Kawasaki

    Making pitches is a way of life for an entrepreneur. Kawasaki provides his tips for ensuring each pitch is better than the last. His 10/20/30 rule for PowerPoint slides is essential.

  • Who to Hire
    Guy Kawasaki

    Kawasaki explains that hiring infected people is the most important factor. Often, how a person looks on paper means nothing if they are not enthusiastic and ready to work hard. All of the experience in the world means nothing if they are not bitten and infected by the start-up bug. He also tells you how to avoid the bozo explosion, which only leads to layoffs, and how to apply the shopping center test to know if you're hiring the right person.

  • A successful product is easy for everyone to use, immediately. Flatten the learning curve, never ask someone to do something you would not, and recruit evangelists to spread your message.

  • There are typical ways to approach sales, but Kawasaki has three other ideas. These include the unintended users, allowing test drives, and the suck down theory - chances are the CEO is not going to be the one buying your product, but rather the people at lower levels.

  • Be a Mensch
    Guy Kawasaki

    Kawasaki shares some of the qualities that he believes entrepreneurs, and everyone else, should have. In order to be a mensch, a person who is widely respected and trusted, one should help those who cannot be helpful in return, do the right thing in the right way, and pay back to society.

  • Funding Choices
    Guy Kawasaki

    Kawasaki talks about two examples of early-stage funding, bootstrapping and venture capital, and the benefits and drawbacks of both. Ultimately, he believes that too much money is worse than not enough money, and that both methods can be successful of a smart approach is taken with the funds that are received.

  • If a product or services is worthwhile, then evangelists will come to you, says Kawasaki. He believes that if you are having a hard time finding someone to spread the message about your product, then you may need to re-evaluate your product or your goals. Build something great, and the evangelists will be there.

  • Kawasaki believes that often soul mates are found within your existing social network, but there is danger in that as well. Close relationships outside of a business environment can lead to promising more than can be delivered. Kawasaki explains that it is a tricky process, and can be difficult if a soul mate is not fulfilling their duties.

  • Kawasaki believes there are some lessons one should learn before becoming a venture capitalist or entrepreneur. One thing to avoid is the "Morgan Stanley disease." Investment banking isn't the best way to learn those important lessons - instead join the sales team of a large company and learn from the bottom up.

  • Kawasaki's viewpoint is not one shared by the majority of venture capitalists. Kawasaki sees the best candidates for a successful start-up are young engineers with no business experience.