Guy Kawasaki: The Top 10 Mistakes of Entrepreneurs

The UC Berkeley Startup Competition (Bplan) proudly welcomed Guy Kawasaki to the Haas School of Business. Kawasaki, former chief evangelist of Apple and co-founder of Garage Technology Ventures, explained the top ten mistakes that entrepreneurs make. His talk covered all stages of a startup from inception to exit.

11 replies
  1. Julio Ochoa
    Julio Ochoa says:

    Mistake 1: Thinking that getting 1% of a market (car market, hamburger market, phone app market) is easy. It is not easy, so don't think like that.

    Mistake 2: Scaling too fast. You anticipate huge growth and customers that will love your product and you invest so much and then it turns out no one wants to buy your product, and you run out of money.

    Mistake 3: Being obsessed with partnering. Partnering is essentially two companies coming together in an attempt to band-aid their weaknesses. Focus on SALES. Sales fix everything.

    Mistake 4: Being too focused on your 'sales pitch' and perfect 'powerpoint presentation' that your prototype lacks. Focus MAINLY on improving your prototype. PROTOTYPE.

    Mistake 5: This kind of a rule. 10-20-30 rule. 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 pt font on a presentation.

    Mistake 6: Doing things serially. In the real world, you will need to stay on top of multiple things at once. Not just hiring. Not just raising money. You will need to move everything down the road at once.

    Mistake 7: Thinking that owning 51% of your company means you have control. NOT TRUE. The moment you take outside money (investor money), you lose control of the company and you have an obligation to the investor.

    Mistake 8: Thinking that because you have a patent that makes you defensable. Don't even think about telling an investor that the reason you're defensable is because you have patents. You'll never have the time of money to sue Microsoft.

    Mistake 9: Hiring too many of the same person. Hire a variety of types of people. In other words, have strong branches for every aspect of your company. Generally, you will need people who specialize in MAKING the product, SELLING the product, and COLLECTING the money.

    Mistake 10: Trying to befriend you VC (venture capitalists or investors). They are just here to make money. Meet your deadlines/projections of 80% confidence minimum. Don't think that they're out there to help you and babysit your company.

    Mistake 11: Thinking that VC's are the key to your success just because you know that they have invested in a successful company before.

    *You should definitely watch the Q & A that begins at 41:05 *

  2. D. M. Cook
    D. M. Cook says:

    This was so friggin' helpful that I have to watch it 2 or 3 more times as I apply each note!

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