Guy Kawasaki is a guy who worked in Apple with Steve Jobs, has been an entrepeneur, has founded and advised companies and he has detected 10 mistakes that entrepreneurs do. In my opinion is worth knowing that a person like Guy think that these are really important mistakes just to try to avoid them.
I must say that he is a great guy giving speches and you should definitively watch its video on Youtube. Because the video is almost one and a half hour long, I'll summarize all the ten points here, just for future personal reference.
Hope you enjoy the video.
Mistake 1 - Multiplying big numbers by 1 percent
Take a small market. Multiply it by a small number and say to yourself 'how hard could it be to get it?'.
Guys says that there are two major flaws in this way of thinking:
- Getting a 1% of a huge market is not THAT easy
- Investors don't want you to ONLY get a 1% of a market. Just 1%? Why not more?
Mistake 2 - Scale too soon
You scale all you infrastructure (facilities, costumer support, marketing teams...) in prevision of a huge demand of your product when you doesn't have it finished. What is going to happen is that you will have to pay all this people and resources, for nothing.
He says instead: "In my entire career I haven't seen a company dye because it didn't scale fast enough".
Mistake 3 - Obsession with partnering
His opinion is that partnering is useless. You need to focus on sales and nothing else.
Mistake 4 - Pitching instead of prototyping
Pitch is important but the key is the prototyping. As Linus Torvalds said once "Talk is cheap. Show me the code.". Right now doing a prototype is the way to go because infrastructure, marketing, virtual teams, price of licenses (if not using OpenSource) is cheap of free.
Mistake 5 - Using too many slides and too small font
Use 20 minutes to see 10 slides. Use a really large font. You don't want to see yourself reading slides to the public. They can read faster than you and you'll look like a bozo.
Mistake 6 - Doing things serially
Write software, get founded, prototyping, selling, recruiting... you may think that you are going to do it serially but you won't. You will have to do all this thing at the same time.
Mistake 7 - 51% is not control
Believe that 51% of the shares means control of your company is fooling yourself. In the board meeting there are not 'voting'.
Personally, I don't really understand the point he is trying to make it here.
Mistake 8 - Patents equals to defensibility
Patents do not protect you because you'll be defensible. Because you wont. You don't want to be taking legal actions against other companies because is very expensive in money and time, and the people who has founded you won't support you on this.
Patents are OK if you maybe are acquired in a future, but not for your defensibility.
Mistake 9 - Hire on your one image
You need to hire somebody that complements you. Balance between the three areas: make it, sell it and collect it. You'll probably lead one of this three areas, so hire somebody that does lead on another area.
Mistake 10 - Befriending your VCs
They are not your friends. They are in the business of making money, not in making friends. Give them good result, make them earn money and meet your projections.
Mistake 11 - Don't assume that VCs can really add value
They are really busy person, and they can help you introducing you people but they are not going to do any heavy lifting. What you want from them is money a about two ours of their bandwidth a month.
OK, these are 11 mistakes. Guy jokes about it saying that 'I believe in overdelivering' :D