Skip to main content

Review: Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki

Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your CompetitionReality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition by Guy Kawasaki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another of Guy Kawasaki’s excellent handbooks for startups. He dispels many myths and provides practical steps to starting and growing a business. The chapters are short but thought-provoking, and will enhance your “entrepreneurial quotient” whether you sell products or services.

Kawasaki expands on the lessons of The Art of the Start, which I found very worthwhile (read my review). In addition to his ample firsthand experience, Kawasaki includes interviews with experts, research from recent studies, and wisdom from popular books. I liked the advice on starting, executing, innovating, marketing, and selling. I skimmed the chapters that aren’t yet applicable to me: fund raising, hiring and firing, and managing.

Raising money
“Venture capital is something to do at the end of your career, not the beginning. It should be your last job, not your first.” You need real-world experience, ideally in engineering or sales.

Planning & executing
A business plan should take less than 1 week to write and be less than 20 pages. Write deliberate, act emergent: write as if you know what you’re going to do, but execute flexibly to react to new information and opportunities.

The primary goal of a startup: don’t run out of money.

Cash flow is more important than profitability.
Ship when the product/service is good enough, then improve it.
Focus on function over form.

Build something that you want to use.
Make meaning. Enable people to do old things better, do things they always wanted to do, and do things they never knew they wanted to do.
Don’t worry, be crappy. Don’t wait for perfection; the first version can be crappy.
Don’t stay crappy. Improve every version.
Don’t be afraid to polarize. Create great products that make segments of people very happy, even if it makes other segments unhappy.

The purpose of innovation is not cool products but happy people.
To be successful, be the sole provider of something people really want.

The most powerful ideas in business are the ones that set forth an agenda for reform and renewal - the ones that turn a company into a cause: strategy as advocacy. Reshape the sense of what’s possible for customers.

The most important lesson of marketing/branding: do one thing well.
The foundation of successful branding is to create an excellent product/service.

Selling & evangelizing
Sales fix everything. Sales means cash, and cash means you can fix your team, technology, and marketing.

People don’t buy revolutions. They buy aspirins to fix the pain or vitamins to supplement their lives.

Give people value and they’ll want to return the favor.
Every time someone thanks you, immediately ask for a testimonial or referral.

Reciprocation. Take care of your customer, and they’ll take care of you.
Scarcity. It’s easier to sell your product if people perceive it as popular and in short supply.
Authority. The customer will believe in you if you’re knowledgeable.
Liking. Customers will only buy from you if they like you.
Consensus. Customers are more likely to buy when everyone around them is buying your product.

Don’t point fingers, just fix the problem.

It’s not what you know or who you know, but who knows you.
Ask good questions and listen.
Unveil your passions.
Follow up.
Give favors, return favors, and ask for favors.
Make small talk to discover common interests and experiences.

Sucking up
Appeal to empathy. Take advantage of people’s desire to help an underdog.
Provide present or future value.
Thank for what you’ve already received.
Give favors.

View all my reviews


Popular posts from this blog

The difference between burritos, chimichangas, and enchiladas

I love Mexican food, but I'm embarrassed to admit that I always get confused between burritos, wet burritos, chimichangas, and enchiladas. Here are the descriptions, with the differences in bold and pictures following each description.

A flour tortilla wrapped around a filling (meat, beans, vegetables, etc)

wet burrito
A burrito that's covered in red chili sauce and cheese. Because of the sauce covering, it looks like an enchilada, but it's made with a flour tortilla, whereas the enchilada is made with a corn tortilla.

A burrito that's deep-fried. Sometimes covered with cheese or another topping.

A corn tortilla wrapped around a filling, covered with chili pepper sauce

Wikipedia: BurritoWikipedia: ChimichangaWikipedia: Enchilada

Edit scanned documents with Word 2007

Office 2007 includes support for converting scanned documents to editable text using OCR (optical character recognition). To get your text from a paper document to Word 2007:
In the Control Panel, open Add or Remove Programs.Find Microsoft Office, click it, and click Change.In the Office Installation Options window, expand Office Tools, click Microsoft Office Document Imaging, and select Run from My Computer from the dropdown.Click Continue or Next until you reach the end.You can now scan documents and convert the scanned images to editable text:
From the Start Menu, find Microsoft Office, then select Microsoft Office Tools, then click Microsoft Office Document Scanning.Choose your preset and options, then click Scan.The scanned image should open in Microsoft Office Document Imaging. To perform OCR and open the editable text in Word, click Tools, Send Text to Word.You can now edit and save the scanned document as a Word document.

My LASIK laser eye surgery experience

Yesterday was a turning point in my life; I had laser eye surgery (LASIK)! Here's a brief summary of my experience.

When I was 16, I barely passed the eye exam at the DMV, so they told me I had to see my eye doctor. Being a self-conscious geek, I opted for contacts over the stereotypical glasses. Although they were fine for most of the day, my contacts always dried out around 8 or 9 PM. My friends will tell you they got sick of my complaints that "my eyes feel like corks!" and "these contacts feel like sandpaper!"

Over the years, I've tried more than 10 different types of contacts, including extended wear, overnight wear, and high-moisture contacts. For a while, I even had contacts with bright blue artificial irises to cover my natural grayish ones. I got a lot of compliments, but they didn't help with the dryness.

I decided to put an end to the suffering this year. LASIK isn't cheap; reputable surgeons charge about $2000 per eye. It hurt to max out my…