10 Business Commandments from Guy Kawasaki

One of the first true business/money/finance books I ever read was Guy Kawasaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money – That The Poor And Middle Class Do Not! The book was first published by Guy Kawasaki in 1997 and became an instant hit. It took me nearly 10 years later to finally read the book.

Guy Kawasaki has a great life story to tell and his book is a great read. I would definitely recommend it to all Millennial’s. I really respect his views on business, entrepreneurship, and money. I’m not the biggest fan of his retirement and investment advice (as he is anti 401(k)’s which I think is ludicrous). He is more of a proponent of cash and real estate investing. With all that said, he is a very intelligent guy that is always worth reading and following.

I was recently listening to one of my favorite podcast, The Motley Fool Real Breaker Investing, and Guy Kawasaki was a guest on the show. Kawasaki was on the show to discuss his 10 “Business” Commandments. I actually had never heard these before so I wanted to share on my blog for all my Millennial readers.

1. Make meaning, not money. “As venture capitalists,” Kawasaki said, “we deal with many companies, and often they come in [saying what] they think we want to hear: that they want to make money. It’s been my observation that most companies founded on this concept of making money pretty much fail.

2. Make a mantra, not a mission statement. Bland, generic company mission statements — about “delivering superior-quality products and services for our customers and communities through leadership innovation and partnerships” — serve no one but the consultant brought in to develop them, Kawasaki said. Instead, keep it short and define yourself by what you want to mean to consumers. Nike stands for “authentic athletic performance.” FedEx is about “peace of mind.”

3. Jump curves. Innovating is harder than just staying a little bit ahead of competitors on the same curve.

4. In product design, “roll the DICEE.” That’s an acronym. “D” is for deep, which to Kawasaki means thinking about features that go beyond the norm. “I” is for intelligence, as seen in the design of Panasonic’s BF-104 flashlight, which uses batteries of three different sizes to accommodate the random mix of extra batteries many people have around the house. “C” is for complete — or being not just a product, but including support and service. The first “E” is for elegance: Beauty matters, according to Kawasaki. The second “E” is for emotive. “Great products generate strong emotions: Think Harley Davidson, Macintosh.”

5. Don’t worry, be “crappy.” This doesn’t mean ship a bad product, but “your innovation can have elements of crappiness to it,” Kawasaki said.

6. Polarize people. Try to be all things to all people and you often ship mediocrity, Kawasaki said.

7. Let 100 flowers blossom. Borrowing from Chairman Mao, Kawasaki said you never know where the flowers will emerge, so let them grow.

8. Churn, baby, churn. Always improve. Listen to customers for ideas.

9. Niche yourself. Find your place, Kawasaki urged.

10. Follow the 10-20-30 rule when pitching to venture capitalists. That means no more than 10 PowerPoint slides, a limit of 20 minutes for the pitch, and using a 30-point font size in the presentation (to keep it simple).

Guy Kawasaki is a terrific entrepreneur and has a great business acumen. All his points are worth noting and evaluating as us Millennial’s advance our professional careers.

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