Day 1 at the NASSCOM Product Conclave and Expo 2009
The energy at the Lalit Ashok, Bangalore was unbelievable as everyone eagerly awaited Guy Kawasaki’s entry on Day 1 of the Nasscom Product Conclave and Expo 2009. And true to his reputation, Guy Kawasaki did not disappoint. A former evangelist at Apple,a renowned entrepreneur columnist, a successful author and the founder of Garage Technology Ventures, Guy Kawasaki enthralled the audience as he shared his top ten pointers for Entrepreneurship 2.0. YourStory brings you some excerpts from what Kawasaki had to say.
1. BUILD what YOU want to use – The true genesis of a product company should be driven by this one philosophy – this is what they did to the hilt at Apple as a company…marketing driven, proven business model, etc. is a whole lot of useless jargon. Jumping to the next curve is also paramount than creating something that’s 10% better; better still create the next curve.
2. PAY NOTHING for tools – use free and open source versions from My SQL to Drupal to Wordpress. Prototype for free – if you aren’t able to do so with the plethora of available tools you are a loser.
3. PAY NOTHING for marketing – a new attitude….sucking-up to and getting the nod from analysts, experts, reporters and media honchos is no longer required….their blessings don’t matter.
4. SUCK down and across – the TechCrunch effect dies in a span of 2-3 days… nothing more than a good jump start on buzz. It is the people that matter most so suck down and across. Nobodies are the new Somebodies!
5. Use Twitter – Best Marketing platform ever – instant and customized…you put in what you want. These social media means help to PUSH information by means of the followers. So once in a while it also earns you a right to PROMOTE your product/service. Tweetmeme is great – one push of the button by a user and a cascade effect happens with traffic shooting up unlike in Digg which your story needs to reach a critical mass before being featured on the home page. Word of caution though…don’t overdo by using many promotional sites…too many choices are not good.
6. Pay NOTHING for people – or get them for cheap in the context of recession.
7. PUT everything in the CLOUD – Just get into business with all the cheap and available terabytes of storage…so there you have free infrastructure too.
8. SHIP then test – Don’t Worry Be Crappy…get boot strapping, get selling. Great products aren’t perfect when launched…a case in point being the Microsoft Windows. The Macintosh from Apple was a ‘Revolutionary Piece of Crap!!’…but then if Apple had waited forever it would have been dead. You have got to be REVOLUTIONARY with elements of crappiness.
9. FORGET Venture Capital – not as necessary. The idea is to let the traffic build and let people know you exist and if they find your product useful they would use it and talk about it. Then once you have reached 25,000 audience and are growing at 1,000 that’s when we –the VCs would like to come in!! VCs will help you expand not necessarily start…so no need to use the age old ‘we are smart and passionate’ pitch – just prototype.
10. NICHE Thyself - Unique product, Great value…that’s the niche you want to be in.
Bonus point 11. – Do not let the bozos run you down. The lousy bozos are easy to identify…it is the slick and luxurious ones that you need to be careful of as they will make the standard comment: ‘this ain’t working’ in such a compelling way that you rather beware! The rich and the famous (not smart) are the lucky ones so just ignore them. He cited himself when he had rejected the Yahoo CEO offer, saying he didn’t find utility in Yahoo’s proposition.
Moving beyond his ten sutras for Entrepreneurship 2.0, Kawasaki also indulged in an interactive Q&A with the audience. On investing in India out of his fund, Kawasaki said that he wasn’t too sure at this stage…being US based he believes its tricky investing in India and other nations due to various laws. On pitching to VCs, Kawasaki forewarned companies looking for investments of the top 3 lies / claims that VCs hear day in and day out – 1. Proven team; 2. Conservative estimates and projections; and 3. As per Forrester, etc. the market potential is….!! Concluding, Kawasaki ended on a philosophical note, saying that ‘Making Meaning’ is more important than ‘Making Money’. Money is a natural effect that would follow once you can create meaning….in the process you also make the world a better place.
- Shamit Bagchi for YourStory in Bangalore
Shamit Bagchi is currently a student of the IIM Bangalore and writing is his passion. He also runs a recently started cultural venture initiative called Dhonuk, a unique Indian Art Ecosystem (www.dhonuk.com) and is currently working with Honeywell Technology Solutions, India.