The Art of the Start

ArtOfTheStartCoverThe Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything

Sure, that’s a bold tag line, but Guy Kawasaki is the one to pull it off. A brilliant thinker and communicator, old dogs (mice?) in the Apple Computer community know Guy as one of the catalysts behind the success of the Apple Macintosh.

There is SO much good stuff in this book that it is hard to know where to start telling you about it. Starting, Positioning, Pitching, Writing a Business Plan, Boostrapping, Recruiting, Raising Capital, Partnering, Branding, Rainmaking… and being a Mensch! (Yiddish for “ethical, decent and honorable person”.)

Did I also mention that it is short, sweet, funny to read, extremely well presented and memorable?

An example: One of the many valuable distinctions Guy makes is between Mission Statements, Tag Lines and what he calls an “Organizational Mantra“.

Nike has many Tag Lines. Perhaps the most famous is: Just Do It. That’s fine for marketing, but it doesn’t help focus internal business decisions.

Nike has a Mission Statement: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. The statement actually includes the asterisk: “*If you have a body, you’re an athlete”. (from the 2007 Annual Report). This is a high-concept and inclusive statement, and is better, but still awkward for decision-making.

Now according to Guy, Nike’s Mantra is “Authentic Athletic Performance“. In Nike, with it’s culture of innovation, I think this is a phenomenally useful tool. Anyone, from the designer to the marketer to the supply chain manager can ask the question: “Will what I’m doing, right now, deliver increased ‘Authentic Athletic Performance’ for our customers when they use our products?” if the answer is ‘No’, they can immediately ask if they should be doing it. That’s the basis of focus.

My question for you: What’s your mantra? (Write or call, and let’s see if we can help you come up with it!)

If you are in charge of starting and growing something significant, in a business startup, a large corporation, or a Rotary Club, you should be reading this gem, and taking heed of far more of its advice than  is normally wise in a business book. This one’s a keeper.

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