Guy Kawasaki; Don’t let the bozos grind you down

Guy Kawasaki je jedan od najpoznatijih business blogera. Jedan je prvih zaposlenika Applea, a danas je jedan od najpoznatijih venture kapitalista i autor cijelog niza knjiga. Kawasakijev blog je zanimljiv jer govori o cijelom nizu tipičnih poslovnih tema koje mogu biti primjenjive svima, puno tekstova se odnose na funkcioniranje tvrtki, međusobne odnose, prezentaciju i prodaju.

Guy KawasakiHow does typical life of American entrepreneur look like? Do you start your company, develop it, sell to the VC and move to another project, or do you stick with your original idea (in the case it worked)?

Mathematically, most entrepreneurs start a company and then stick with it for years. They never sell the entire company to venture capitalists because venture capitalists are in the business of investing, not managing, companies. A very small percentage of entrepreneurs are fortunate enough to sell their companies to another company. An even smaller percentage takes their companies public on a stock exchange. An even smaller percentage of that achieves Google-like success.

Sometimes you fail, idea might not work, powers_that_be were against you or maybe unique blend of circumstances lead to your ultimate failure. You regroup and start again. How does a history of failure(s) influence your decision as a VC to fund the project or not?

I cannot make the case that failure is a good thing when we look at entrepreneurs, but it isn’t necessarily a deal killer. Failure in Silicon Valley is common and creating a successful company after failing also happens. Hope springs eternal here!

Few months back you have mentioned tipping point and long tail; what if our country due to its small size and poor economic power of our citizens is basically one very long tail. What are your thoughts on playing/working on really small market?

Israel is an example of this. There are only 5-6 million people there, and yet it has had huge success with technology startups by selling products outside its countries. Clearly, it can be done. I’ve given a lot of thought to the economic power of regions. Your readers should check out this blog entry: How to Kick Silicon Valley’s butt

I guess that VCs hang out together from time to time. Which industry is currently fashionable? Can you name few of your current investments, particular fields in which they operate and at which point (size of the company, revenue) you jumped in and when do you expect to get out?

Social networking is hot here. However, by the time venture capitalists believe something is hot; it’s probably too late to jump into that sector. Despite the myth, venture capitalists don’t predict the future. Most are fast followers.

Two of our more recent investments are FilmLoop and Cfares. We invested in them when they were prototypes with no revenue. Generally, a venture capitalist would like to achieve at least a ten times return on investment – if not more.

Art of presentation; while reading your blog I have decided that I need to focus on just two basic items needed to promote my business; first is my company web site which have to generate interest (and stay in the memory) of my visitor – and that I have to develop killer presentation and sales pitch for the moment when I receive opportunity to present my self to the potential customer. How much attention should entrepreneur give to the web site and his sales pitch opportunities?

This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on the business you’re in. Clearly, both are very important, but they are not as important as the actual product or service that you’re offering. It’s easy to fix a web site or pitch; it’s much harder to create a great product or service.

And last; do you have any particular message you wish to share with Croatian readers of your blog and books?

Don’t let the bozos grind you down. Entrepreneurship requires ignoring the naysayers who tell you what you’re trying to do can’t be done, shouldn’t be done, or isn’t necessary.

Blog Business Internet

Razgovor sa Seth Godinom

Seth Godin je svjetski priznati stručnjak na polju marketinga i osoba koja se proslavila svojim knjigama od kojih su neke objavljene i kod nas. 1995 godine osnovao je jednu od prvih internet marketing kompanija koju je nekoliko godina kasnije prodao Yahoou. Seth je također i autor vrlo popularnog bloga kojeg pratim duže vremena i prije nekoliko dana palo mi je na pamet da mu postavim nekoliko pitanja.

What is your reason to blog? You do not keep it as your diary, you do not advertise. Do you see your blog as a service to the community, use it as a contact to your customers, self-promotional tool, or is there more subliminal message buried somewhere?

Purple cow / Plava Krava by Seth GodinI blog because it’s important to me to spread my ideas. I get satisfaction out of watching them go out there, morph, evolve and in a little way, change the world.

Internet is changing the way we communicate; even the fact that we are conducting this email interview is a proof of internet_miracle. Where it leads? Are we going to be more and more empowered and every interaction between salesman (or large company marketing office) will be tailor made to our particular preferences? Are we rapidly moving away from one_to_many marketing messaging?

I don’t think one too many is going to go away soon, but I do think organizations must become more permeable, more open to individual
interactions. And it’s clear that the power of many to many conversations is awesome.

Joe Trippi (Howard dean campaign manager), wrote that internet is finally returning democracy back to the voters and that you once again have a chance to say something. Is this limited to politics only, or just about anything else?

Politics is fighting this idea very very hard. I think companies that make a profit are far more open to this idea.

Talking about politics, there is campaign underway for US midterm elections; what is the role of internet and that campaign, and have they (politicians) finally learned on how to use internet to spread their agenda? Have they figured out that they are commodity on the market just like a carton of milk and they have to fight for their sales pitch? How would you, as a marketing “guru” rate their efforts?

I give them a 2 out of 10. Politicians are totally stuck in an old model, and will be until someone succeeds. It’s different than a corporation, where any profit is a good profit. Politicians will resist until someone actually wins!

While web2.0 is all about networking and interaction, people from smaller countries, especially those who speak one of the “smaller” languages can be easily lost in the forest of English delicious links, digg stories. So we have clear need of country/language specific services, but the mass of people using this service is not large enough to sustain its operation. How do you see our problem (or opportunity in disguise)?

Most of the English language sites don’t make any money, and copying what works and moving it into your language should be fast or cheap. I think you should either do that or switch to English!! There are very few barriers in webland.

Seth GodinSame problem like above on search engines; what if I make interview with Seth Godin, and no one in Croatia can learn about it simply because my page is buried below hundreds of other suggestions? Do you think that maybe we have to develop different tools, or do we simply have to find alternate way to spread our message?

If I spoke another language, I’d train Google to only search on that language. It should work, no? But yes, there’s no question that English is dominating. It makes sense that a given market has a standard language… but now the market is the world.

You mentioned quite a number of times long tail. What happens if our whole country is one large long tail? What if our market is small and fragmented, and yet same market forces are at play just like in US?

You can’t have a long tail without a short head. It doesn’t work. So there’s always a short head, but maybe not as big as you would like it to be.

What is in and what is out in marketing industry? In Croatia, TV ads are majority of all spending, then you follow with daily newspapers, a little bit of magazines and internet is proudly trailing behind everything else. Where is US today on this issue and in which direction do you think focus moves?

I think that around the world, word of mouth is resurging and TV is getting more and more expensive in return for what you get. It’ll happen there, it is just a matter of time.

What is your marketing weapon of choice? What do you do to promote squidoo?

Word of mouth! Make great stuff that is friendly to word of mouth. Amplify the ideas and words of your big fans. Flip the funnel and let the word spread. That’s what I preach and what I do.

Squidoo is a fresh startup; what do you think of it and what is its full potential? What is the point where you sell the company?

We have no plans to sell it. There are four of us and we’re very focused on making it a self-sustaining engine of philanthropy.

Last one is just your entrepreneurial view of the company, how to develop it and how do you recognize the day when to sell it; in Croatia when you make company you are basically expected to keep it until you retire?

I think that if there isn’t a culture of buying companies from restless entrepreneurs, there soon will be, if only because someone can be very rich if they pay less and earn more over time!

And finally; your message to the readers of blog?

Don’t wait for permission. Go do something. Hurry.