Former Apple Evangelist and current Venture Capitalist Guy Kawasaki delivers an inspiring book for all entrepreneurs in Rules for Revolutionaries.
Kawasaki breaks his book into three parts that help you be successful in your business venture:
- Create like a God
- Command like a King
- Work like a Slave
Overall I thought this was an excellent book and wanted to share some of Kawasaki’s points I found most enjoyable.
Create Like a God
To think like a revolutionary you need to purge the status quo from your mind. Dump your idols and reframe your way of viewing things.
Think about copying Mother Nature. She has been successful in solving problems for longer than you have.
Divide a problem into small parts and solve each as you go.
Customers will use your products in ways you never imagined. Embrace these uses and go with the flow on spin off applications or product uses.
Kawasaki says you can spot a great product because it is ‘DICEE’:
- Deep – “Their features and functions satisfy desires that you didn’t know you had at the time of purchase.”
- Indulging – “It is more than what you minimally need and costs more than what you could have minimally spent.”
- Complete – “Provides all the attributes that make it delightful.”
- Elegant – honor aesthetics, form follows function, use materials in logical ways, allow direct manipulation, provide constant feedback, show forgiveness when the user messes up
- Evocative – “catalyzes strong feelings: People either love it or hate it.”
Great teams produce great products. Ideal teams are small, separate from the masses, have a great leader, and enjoy a casual atmosphere.
You’ll only get a revolutionary product or service if you follow great business practices:
- “Dare to find fault with existing products and services.”
- “Go with your gut”
- “Design for yourself” – design what you’d like to use.
- “Throw some simple and cheap ingredients in a bag, shake it, bake it, and go to market. Build a prototype and get on with it.”
- “Get on base” – concentrate on that solid single rather than a home run. Those will come.
- “Ignore Naysayers” – Customers don’t know they want your product if they’ve never seen it before. Your own company may not believe in you. Experts don’t know either.
- Ship your product when you can’t live without using it yourself internally.
Churn Baby Churn
A key to a great product is that you continuously improve it after its initial release.
Fix things for your current customers not non-buyers. This drives loyalty and evangelism. You may never convert nonbelievers no matter what you do for them.
Make your product flexible to allow for improvements. Don’t hide mistakes you make.
Command Like a King
Break down barriers
You have various barriers that stand between you and your product’s success. Kawasaki identifies some of these hurdles and how you can jump over them:
- ignorance – make people aware
- inertia – people know about you but don’t care
- complexity – make it easy for your parents
- channel – make sure customers have a place to buy
You can break down barriers:
- enable test driving or give out samples
- give customers ownership in development
- focus on subset of customers
Use barriers in the marketplace to your advantage and to maintain your market share:
- exclusivity – make yours the best
- mind share – most people know about it
- price – cheapest
- knowledge – you’re the expert
- infrastructure – big picture
- buddies – friends and partnerships
Add emotions to facts. Build a multi-appeal evangelism pitch. Present and see which one resonates more with people. Focus on that one at that meeting. Make sure you have an easy first step to start using your service.
Avoid Death Magnets
Some traps will kill your product before it even has a chance. Avoid these attitudes:
- “pick low-hanging fruit” – this might not be the best opportunity
- “our product sucks less” – customers don’t buy your product because it “sucks less”
- “budget is king” and unyielding to change. Always start afresh each year. Budget should be flexible to account for changing times and opportunities
- Being consistent to the end – Don’t have to stick to your decision if it is wrong.
- Don’t say yes to everyone. Focus on your niche.
- Over extending your brand to unrelated markets.
- Outsourcing probably costs more than it is worth for building a competitive advantage.
- Don’t work all the time. Concentrate your time and focus your efforts.
- Don’t mimic the big guys by living the high lifestyle. Work your way up to it.
- Don’t lower prices when you gain increased market share. Profits are OK to have and a sign of a successful company.
- “The best product wins” – just isn’t the case. The first to market often takes the cake
Eat Like a Bird, Poop like an Elephant
This comically named chapter boils down to absorbing as much information as you can through reading, conferences, etc. Take a different perspective when viewing your situation and product. It is OK share information with others, even competitors.
Think Digital, Act Analog
Leverage technology to enable you to be personal with customers. Create a community by involving customers in the creation process.
Don’t Ask People to Do Something That You Wouldn’t
- empower employees – for example, give them a dollar max they can spend to fix a problem without managerial approval
- ask the customer what he wants
- under promise and over deliver
- don’t give better deals to new customers over existing customers
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. A lot of the principles discussed by Kawasaki are critical to business success. Read the book and apply the lessons in your endeavors.
Have you read Rules for Revolutionaries? Tell us what you thought of the book in the comments below.