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Guy Kawasaki’s golden rules

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Guy Kawasaki made a name for himself as the second software “evangelist” at Apple Computer, where from 1983 to 1987 he convinced others to create software for the new Macintosh.

Since then, he’s written books and now works as a blogger. He recently shared with students at Wharton’s business school his “Ten Commandments” for creating something of value for customers.

Here are a few of them:

1. Make meaning, not money. Venture capitalists often hear pitches based on making money because people assume that’s what they want to hear. In reality, VCs want to know how a new product or service will provide something beyond the sum of its parts.

2. Don’t worry about a mission statement.
Often, these documents serve no one but the consultant who developed them.

3. Jump ahead, if you can. Around 1900, the ice industry shipped 10 million pounds of ice a year that harvesters had cut with saws. Ice 2.0 involved factories that froze water, and ice men to deliver it. With Ice 3.0 came home refrigerators. An ice man with horse and sleigh might have jumped one generation but probably not two.

4. Follow the 10-20-30 rule. This means you have to convey your idea with a maximum of 10 PowerPoint slides, 20 minutes for the pitch and 30-point type to keep your presentation readable and simple.

5. Don’t sit still. Always be on the lookout for ways to improve. Listen to customers. That’s hard because innovators have to ignore naysayers and bozos who try to shoot them down. But once a product is in the hands of customers, start listening.

Kawasaki admits to being a bozo himself. Offered a chance to interview for the CEO job at Yahoo in the mid-1990s, he turned it down, not seeing much point to a web index. He figures that decision cost him $2 billion.

— Adapted from “Ten Commandments from Entrepreneurial ‘Evangelist’ Guy Kawasaki,” Knowledge@ Wharton,

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