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Lessons from Steve Jobs – as noted by Guy Kawasaki

November 4, 2012 Leave a comment

1. Experts are clueless, especially people who declare themselves experts. They cannot help you as entrepreneurs They are going to tell you to do better sameness, to do what everybody else is right. They are going to tell you their point of view, often from a very arrogant point of view. Usually they are disconnected from customers. Steve Jobs did not listen to experts, on the contrary the experts listened to him. Instead of listening to the pronunciation and interpretation of experts, its much easier to listen to customers themselves using social media. You meet someone who calls himself a guru or an expert, that’s the person to avoid. As an entrepreneur, you have to figure things out for yourself.

2. Customers cannot tell you what they need. Focus groups just don’t work.

3. Biggest challenges beget the best work. Instead of byte sized chunks, give your employees and co-founders the biggest challenges. People rise up to challenges and it brings the best out of them.

4. Design counts. Lot’s of people care about design. Experts will tell you about price, demand, blah. It’s lot easier to enchant people with great stuff rather than crap. Even if the population is 10% only.

5. In presentations: big graphics, big font. Steve used to do one word slides with 60pt font.

6. Jump curves, not better sameness.

7. Something “works” or “doesn’t works” is all that matters. – change/pivot based on what works. Don’t be stuck with fads and religion. Initial offering of an iphone was – only the 3rd party apps that were safari plugins – then shift. six months later – great 3rd party apps – open system. – reversed

8. “Value” is different from “price” – Steve proved – there are class of people who perceive value more than price.
Uniqueness Vs Value (2x2 matrix)

9. Hire A players. Hire people better than you. Engineers – don’t think management, finance, etc. is easy – don’t think like that. Take pride in saying that I hired someone who is better than me in finance/marketing/…

10. Real CEO’s can demo.

12. Real entrepreneurs ship and not slip. Don’t worry, be crappy. When you have jumped curves, the first version can be crappy. It can be a piece of crap but it has to be a revolutionary piece of crap. Don’t ship crap, ship something that has jumped curves which can have elements of crappiness to it.

13. Some things need to be believed to be seen. – voila – u always heard it the other way round, right? You will have to belive, ship and then let it be seen. If you want proof, it will never happen.

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How to establish culture in startups [with a workable template]

August 30, 2012 Leave a comment

I am in the process of getting my next venture up and have been talking to people to join me as founding members. Most of them are just not interested, even to explore. The one’s who are interested are either not a skillwise-fit, or want to do it as consultancy or just as a help. The one’s who are really interested, have their own set of nuances, like each one of us does (even I do). The question that confronts me is – should I put up with their nuances and work with them?

My answer to myself is : yes and no

Yes, on the personal side of things. It should not matter to me how the person handles his personal life and I should either accept it or keep no personal connection with him. The latter is hard when you are just two people on a boat. So I should just let his personal life be. e.g. if he eats with two hands and his mouth chomping the food like a cow, just let it be.

No, on the business side of things. I should not let any of his (or mine) nuances play foul with the business.

The way I have done it is, write the DNA/basic-principles/guidelines/values for the company. Each person who shall work for the company should either align with the values of the company or be left out (or fired like a liability if required be).

While writing the values document for my own venture, I thought that it might be useful for others too and decided to contribute it to pluggd.in – “India’s Largest Platform for entrepreneurs and Small Businesses” along with a workable template.

You can find the post here

The template can be found here.

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