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The key to starting a company is to start building a prototype, not writing a business plan or creating a pitch: Guy Kawasaki

Zafar Anjum | May 7, 2015
Apple’s former chief evangelist, Guy Kawasaki, delivered the keynote at CeBIT Australia yesterday. In this email interview, he shares with CIO Asia the secrets of becoming an entrepreneur.

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. He is on the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley). He is also the author of The Art of the Start 2.0, The Art of Social Media, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College. 

Apple’s former chief evangelist, Guy Kawasaki, delivered the keynote at CeBIT Australia on May 5. In this email interview, he shares with CIO Asia the secrets of becoming an entrepreneur.

You worked at Apple and then became an entrepreneur and writer and speaker. How difficult was it to become an entrepreneur?

It's easy to become an entrepreneur: you find an engineer--or be an engineer--quit and pray. It's hard to become a successful entrepreneur. That takes what seems like an infinite amount of effort and luck. 

Many people dream of starting their own business but are so much stuck in the rut that they don't ever get out. What should they do to realize their dream?

They should realize that ideas are easy, and implementation is hard. Thus the key to starting a company is to start building a prototype, not writing a business plan or creating a pitch. 

Technology-wise, how do you see the world changing in five to ten years?

I have little idea. Five to ten years is an infinite time in this business. We know things will get better, faster, and cheaper, but "world changing"? That's very hard.  

Every city wants to be a startup city, wants to have its own Silicon Valley. Is that even possible?

This depends on what you mean by "having its own Silicon Valley." If you mean a place where there a companies of the magnitude of Apple, Google, Cisco, Facebook, and Linkedin, that will be hard. 

But could cities foster tech startups, sure. All it takes is a good engineering school and a societal attitude that it's okay to fail. Even Silicon Valley just started with a good engineering school and developed a tolerance for failure.  

Follow your passion and riches will follow you. How true is this advice?

I wish this were completely, irrefutably true. There are many people in the arts, for example, who follow their passion and haven't achieved riches. 

A more realistic way to look at things is that people should follow what they find cool and interesting to create products or services. Then if people start buying it, I can guarantee you that you'll get passionate about it. 

 

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