Why You Don’t Need a Business Plan or Venture Capital | Guy Kawasaki | AQ’s Blog & Grill

Hi everybody. Welcome to AQ’s Blog & Grill. Excited today to have Guy Kawasaki on to talk about his new book “Art of the Start 2.0” which is actually, I think, the best book written for
entrepreneurs and start-ups. It is exceptional, and it’s going to be a gift
of mine to a whole bunch of entrepreneurs that I know. So welcome Guy. It’s good to see you again. Thank you! Last year I complimented you on “Art of
the Start” and you said well don’t worry because I’m coming out with a new
version of it – “2.0” – and you have. I gotta tell you Guy you kind of blew my head
off with this one. This is fabulous. I don’t just like this book, I love this book. Thank you! Why did you decide to do it? Why is
it fifty percent bigger? More stuff. Well, you know, “Art of the Start” was written ten years ago and believe it or not ten years ago there was no social media,
there was no cloud computing, no crowdsourcing, no crowd funding. People had a lot longer attention spans. It was a completely different world. So I had to
rewrite the book to keep it relevant. I will tell you a funny story. There are lots of places where I had to change, Microsoft is a good example. Yes, I noticed that. Let’s just say it wasn’t a good example in a lot of places anymore. Yeah. So there’s that. Really, you know, I
don’t think there was a lot that was wrong in the book. One exception to that
is I completely redid the part about business planning, because in essence, I
don’t think it’s necessary to write a full-fledged business plan anymore. A good pitch is enough. So that’s a
major change in this book. Yeah. When you were at Apple, everyone asked you about Steve Jobs. I’m going to ask you how was your relationship with Woz?. Sometimes you meet people, you just get a sense that there’s no other
story, there’s no veneer, there’s no manipulation.
He is what he is, and I think he’s just a very pure form of entrepreneur. You and I have talked about putting partnerships together and you think that
was one of the secrets? That Steve Wozniak had the engineering brain? And then Steve was kind of this technologist that got into the whole marketing thing, the whole brand thing. Yeah, when you come right down to it there’s only two roles in a start-up: somebody’s got to make it and somebody’s got to sell it. Right. And if you have two people who can sell
it but nobody can make it you’ve got nothing to sell. And if you’ve got two
people who can make it but nobody who can sell it, you know, there’s not going to be
any sales. And ideally you have a third person who’s the adult for supervision.
And that’s critical mass. Yeah. You and I have also talked about Elon Musk being kind of the new Steve Jobs. I think he is literally the closest to
Steve Jobs. Many of his ideas, you know, you look at it and say what the hell is
he thinking? Right? And his ideas come out of left field. And I didn’t anticipate that battery thing. And he’s got this idea to put people in
tubes and send them down to L.A. Hallelujah! Yes. In the book you talk about elegance and what elegance is, so what do you think in your head is elegance? Elegance is – it’s subtraction. It’s how much crap
you pulled out, as opposed to added in. The latest MacBook that Apple’s made
may be a little too elegant, right? It’s got one port and that port’s supposed to support everything? I don’t quite get that. I don’t know what they’re thinking. In this book and in other conversations
we’ve talked about angel investors and venture capitalists and you think that
game has completely changed? Yes. Why do you think it has changed? I
think it’s completely changed because the capital needs of tech start-ups has
been vastly reduced and that’s because of social media, which is free marketing, you know, cloud computing, which is inexpensive hosting, virtual teams which means less commercial real estate, and
every tool being free. And if you need a fair amount of capital, not a great
amount of capital, there’s Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. So with all that,
venture capitalists are just less necessary. And I also think that most
venture capitalists don’t add value anyway. So you know it’s all working out. I love in
the book you have a section called “Top 10 Lies of Venture Capitalists” and I
think it’s number three or number four which says if your aunt had balls
she’d be your uncle. So how does that connect to the lies that VCs tell entrepreneurs? Well, you know, I think a lot of entrepreneurs they say
stuff like “Well if you get a lead investor, you know, we’re in.” Or “Once
you’re doing ten million dollars a year and you’re doubling every six months
we’re in.” Right.? And “Once you have this world-class team of Steve Jobs is your CEO and Elon Musk as your chief marketing officer and John Ive is
your, you know, chief designer, then we’ll invest.” Well, like I said, if your aunt had balls, she’d be your uncle. If all this was true guess what – they wouldn’t need your money. You know, we keep telling our entrepreneurs and our start-ups you must have an MVP. You must have your minimum viable product. And Guy Kawasaki comes out of nowhere, out of wherever the hell you are in California and you say
no you don’t need an MVP, maybe you do, but I say you need an MVVVP. What the
hell is that all about? Well I wanted to add two more V’s. So first V I want to add is “valuable” because you could do a minimum viable product but
it’s not valuable, it’s not important, it’s not going to make it dent in the universe
it’s not going to change the world. And then the next the next V I want to add is “validating”. Because you could have a viable product that is valuable but what if
it’s not validating your vision and validating your idea for the future. So I’ll use an example for Apple. If Apple decided to create a laser printer today,
it could slap its label onto a Canon engine and it would be viable. People
would buy it. No question. Is it valuable? Does it add to the universe, having
another laser printer? Not really. Is it validating? Well, what does it validate?
What vision of Apple does selling a laser printer validate at this point?
Nothing. So that is a product that is only viable, it’s not valuable or validating. I don’t think Apple should do it. You know a majority of entrepreneurs
that I work with and start-ups come from the engineering side of life. Yes. Do you think they get that yet? Do you think they’ll ever get it that it
has to be valuable to customers instead of just valuable to their quest to come
up with the best new technology? Well I have to say that I like the
attitude that engineers are coming up with products that they like because
that is the genesis of Apple. Right. And so I think that’s far better that you
come up with a product that you like and then you hope that you’re not a psychopath and the only person who likes it. I think that is a much better path
than you’re quote unquote “marketing driven” and you’re gonna create a product that
you don’t really care about, you just think you can sell a lot of them. And make a ton of money. And make a ton of money. Okay, you’ve always said this and I think
it might even go all the way back to “Rules for Revolutionaries” and that’s the art of being a mensch. Yeah. What do you mean by that? To you what’s a mensch? A mensch to me is someone who is widely trusted, who is kind and generous,
who sees the big picture that, you know, is an honorable person and at
the end of one’s life I hope that everybody is concerned about being a
mensch. It’s the highest form of praise. It’s difficult to translate the word. And so I put a chapter in there about, you know, sort of the obligation of
the noble class – if you’ve made it, this is what you’re obligated to do. Right. Very good. So there’s an exercise in “The Art of the Start 2.0”. It asks the reader to list three things
that they would like said about them or they would like to be remembered for. So
I’m going to turn it back to Guy. What are the three things that you hope you’re
remembered for? What are people going to say? So what I want to be remembered for?
First of all, I want to be remembered for empowering people with my writing and
speaking, advising, sometimes investing. I want to empower people to make
the world a better place. Second thing I’d like to be remembered for is my
wrist shot. Third thing I want to be remembered for and probably most
important are the kind of kids I raise. Yeah and you have four children. Yes I have. Isn’t that great? So what’s the next thing for Guy? What’s the next project? Well you know I’m just working full time now on Canva. Canva’s an
online graphics design tool that everybody in social media should be
using. I’m not kidding. It makes life so much better when you need graphics.
And we’re signing up thousands upon thousands of people per day. I mean it’s a mind-boggling number. And so things are going well there too. Excellent. Guy, it’s always great to talk to you. You will be remembered in such a positive way. You are a mensch. You’re really super, a generous, generous human being. And what more can you say? And I’m sure your kids are going to be fabulous. Well thank you Alan.
Thanks for coming back to AQ’s Blog & Grill. We’ll see you later. Bye for now. Hey, everybody, I hope you enjoyed our chat today with Guy Kawasaki. If you want more AQ’s Blog & Grill – and I can’t imagine that you don’t – all you have to do is push this subscribe button right over here and you can have access to a great big archive of good interviews with good people doing great things as entrepreneurs and as people working in the brand sector. So
it’s been good seeing you. We’ll see you again.

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