The Art of the Start

I have been reading a lot of blogs lately and one that I keep coming back to is Guy Kawasaki’s How to Change the World. It has a lot of practical content on entrepreneurship, marketing, and management. Much of it relates to the tech industry because he manages a tech venture fund and is a former Apple exec. The blog is interesting enough so I bought one of his books.

He claims that this book is specifically geared towards starting a business, a not-for-profit, or a new product in an established company. He is stretching it with the not-for-profit and established company claim. I would only read this book if you’re slaving away in your garage on the next YouTube and you’re wondering what the next steps are.

Here is my diagram:

The Art of the Start

This diagram is not quite as involved as my diagrams for Execution and Blue Ocean Strategy. It’s a different style than those. This book is not very theoretical and is written kind of like his blog, just a bulleted brain dump of his thoughts, which I think is appropriate for covering the topic of starting a business. He is just grazing the surface of a broad range of topics which is what the person in the garage needs most.

For sure however, that person in the garage is going to have to shortly recognize when they need additional business knowledge. If capital is scarce and bootstrapping is the route taken, much more focus on running the business is going to be required. That means being clear that your personnel policies, marketing strategy, operational model, and financial infrastructure are sound. In this case, Kawasaki’s book will still be a great start, but will need to be supplemented quickly with more general business learning.

If the garage owner has a compelling enough idea and capital flows freely, they may never need to think about running a business because the capital provider may very well bring in a CEO. In this situation, the inventor can stay on and concentrate on the technical and creative side of things or take the money, buy a bigger garage, and start working on the next big thing.

These are extremes, but in either case, this book is a solid start that can be consumed in a matter of hours. So get started if you want to get started.