The Art of the Start

The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki proclaims to be "The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything". Guy "Macintosh Evangelist" has become Guy the venture capitalist. What is this book all about? Thinking Big and Creating Meaning. Seems like a simple enough premise, but anything worth doing always has hurdles, and this book has all the tips to become an olympic hurdler.

The Art of the Start is really targeted towards those creating new amazing organizations. It gives tips through anecdotes in a concise and simple manner filled with tidbits of humor. It's exactly what you would expect: No Bull shii-take. Most BS comes from people's mouths and this book dissects the BS into the real meaning.

For example, many of our European colleagues arrive in America and don't understand why so many Americans seem so fake. When someone says "how are you doing?", they don't really want to know how your day went. Or the infamous "Let's grab lunch sometime" implies "I don't really want to have lunch". Guy decodes investor lingo of "your startup needs to have traction" to "we don't want to invest in you". How do you go from no money to investors fighting to throw money at you? Revenue.

Guy evangelizes the bottom-up approach to getting income. For example, assume you can get 100 customers, charge them $50, and that is your revenue. The top-down approach is we only need 1% of a 50 billion dollar market and now we can swim in money. He says the bottom-up approach is the methodology of startups. In reality nobody really knows how big your market is until you deliver your product.

Guy's writing style makes the book hard to put down. The book is sprinkled with funny stories about various topics such as recruiting and pitching to investors. I kept reading, turning the pages furiously until I hit the index. And that is really where Guy's magic voodoo comes in. The Art of the Start motivates you to get out there and create something great. Not good, Great. As Guy says, it isn't "what Guy touches turns to gold", but "What is gold, Guy touches". I'd like to apply that to myself, and say my greedy little fingers are all over this book.

Highly recommended.