Saturday, March 16, 2013

Guy Kawasaki Shares from His Vast Experience: The Top 10 Mistakes That Entrepreneurs Make

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawaskaki, early Apple evangelist and legendary entrepreneur, recently addressed a group of students at the Haas Business School at UC Berkley.  His remarks are a "must read" for entrepreneurs and would be entrepreneurs.  He is disarmingly candid and irreverent - and extremely generous in sharing his insight.

Here is a summary of his "Top 10 Mistakes by Entrepreneurs," followed by a link to the YouTube video of the session.
  1. Multiplying big numbers by 1% to calculate an expected share of an addressable market.
  2. Scaling too soon.
  3. Obsession with partnering
  4. Pitching instead of prototyping
  5. PowerPoint errors - Using too many slides with too small a font.  He suggests following to 10/20/30 rule: 10 slides shown over 20 minutes with a 30 point font.
  6. Doing things serially rather than simultaneously
  7. Believing that owning 51% of the company = control
  8. Believing that patents = defensibility
  9. Hiring in your own image rather than hiring complementary skills
  10. Befriending your VC
  11. Assuming that your VC will truly add value
Kawasaki commented that he offered 11 points rather than the promised 10 because "it is better to under promise and over deliver"!

As a recruiter who sits in an office at Cambridge Innovation Center, ground zero for over 400 entrepreneurial ventures, I was struck with Kawasaki's ninth point: hiring in your own image rather than hiring complementary skills.  Too often I see young entrepreneurs reaching out only within  their limited networks of classmates and alumni with similar skill sets and world views, rather than looking more broadly for complementary skills and ways of seeing the world.  He expands upon this point rather extensively in the video linked below.

I have enjoyed the experience of working with a number of these start-ups in adding my eyes and ears and network as a recruiter to help build a well-rounded team in the early stages of the company's growth.

Guy Kawasaki Shares Top 10 Mistakes of Entrepreneurs

Kawasaki's recent book, "Reality Check," offers similar practical advice, and has been called a "must read."

"Don't even think about trying to launch a startup without reading Guy Kawasaki's Reality Check." -BizEd 



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