can i be as riotous as this Guy, pls?

April 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

i just unearthed Guy Kawasaki from my unruly heap of academic rubble (from which i intend to construct something grand by next tuesday, i’ll show ya. if hips don’t lie, i can’t possibly do)

so he authored an article ‘the top ten lies of entrepreneurs’ (HBR 2001), which is in a style that is RIGHT DOWN MY ALLEY. i have a ruthless love affair with quirky writing. simply need to put this down, he said:

‘for a few months, i’ve had a constant ringing in my right ear. the condition is called tinnitus, and my doctors say that it can be caused by an ear infection, too much salt in one’s diet, a stressful lifestyle, or even a neuroma.

i have a different theory. i think that listening to the lies, exaggerations, and wishful thinking of entrepreneurs has caused the ringing…’

so he goes on to talk about the untruths that entrepreneurs feed him daily (he’s running a ‘vulture’ capital firm now!). one particularly fine example –

the entrepreneur states blandly: ‘we have no competition.’

the investor replies (inaudibly, of course): ‘either there’s no market or you don’t know how to use a search engine.’

‘to this day, investors get business plans for on-line bookstores claiming a first mover advantage. if an idea is good, 5 companies are already working on it. if an idea is great, 10 companies are working on it. claiming that there is no competition to an investor who has heard a similar pitch 5 times in the last 6 months is like screaming ‘I AM A BOZO!’ bozos dont get funded.’

at this point i was already mildly hysterical and sniggering more loudly than what should be considered socially acceptable in a library. so what IS a bozo?


so like any dutiful vulture capitalist, i carried out a little ‘due diligence’ on the Guy. and it wasn’t long before i found this delightful piece that he’s kindly written about himself (gotta love some sardonic autobiographies!), so i don’t have to invoke the prowess of wikipedia. anywho, i will now promptly remove my tumourous presence from the dazzling radius of his genius and leave you to enjoy his tale (with a piece of sushi bait, preferably).

I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1954. My family lived in a tough part of Honolulu called Kalihi Valley. We weren’t rich, but I never felt poor – because my mother and father made many sacrifices for my sister and me. My mother was a housewife, and my father was a fireman, real estate broker, state senator, and government official during his long, distinguished career.

I attended Iolani School where I graduated in 1972. Iolani is not as well known as its rival, Punahou because no presidents of the U. S. went there, but I got a fantastic and formative education there. (Punahou is “USC,” and Iolani is “Stanford”—but I digress.) I pay special tribute to Harold Keables, my AP English teacher. He taught me that the key to writing is editing. No one in the universe would be more shocked that I have written ten books (or one book ten times) more than Harold Keables.

After Iolani, I matriculated to Stanford; I graduated in 1976 with a major in psychology—which was the easiest major I could find. I loved Stanford. I sometimes wish I could go back in time to my undergraduate days “on the farm.”

After Stanford, I attended the law school at U.C. Davis because, like all Asian-American parents, my folks wanted me to be a “doctor, lawyer, or dentist.” I only lasted one week because I couldn’t deal with the law school teachers telling me that I was crap and that they were going to remake me.

The following year I entered the MBA program at UCLA. I liked this curriculum much better. While there, I worked for a fine-jewelry manufacturer called Nova Stylings; hence, my first real job was literally counting diamonds. From Nova, its CEO Marty Gruber, and my Jewish colleagues in the jewelry business, I learned how to sell, and this skill was vital to my entire career.

I remained at Nova for a few years until the the Apple II removed the scales from my eyes. Then I went to work for an educational software company called EduWare Services. However, Peachtree Software acquired the company and wanted me to move to Atlanta. “I don’t think so.” I can’t live in a city where people call sushi “bait.”

Luckily, my Stanford roommate, Mike Boich, got me a job at Apple; for giving me my chance at Apple, I owe Mike a great debt. When I saw what a Macintosh could do, the clouds parted and the angels started singing. For four years I evangelized Macintosh to software and hardware developers and led the charge against world-wide domination by IBM. I also met my wife Beth at Apple during this timeframe—Apple has been very good to me.

Around 1987, my job at Apple was done. Macintosh had plenty of software by then, so I left to start a Macintosh database company called ACIUS. It published a product called 4th Dimension. To this day, 4th Dimension remains a great database.

I ran ACIUS for two years and then left to pursue my bliss of writing, speaking, and consulting. I’ve written for Macuser, Macworld, and Forbes. I call these the “Wonder Years” as in “I wonder how I came to deserve such a good life.”

In 1989, I started another software company called Fog City Software with three of the best co-founders in the world: Will Mayall, Kathryn Henkens, and Jud Spencer. We created an email product called Emailer which we sold to Claris and then a list server product called LetterRip.

In 1995 I returned to Apple as an Apple fellow. At the time, according to the pundits, Apple was supposed to die. (Apple should have died about ten times in the past twenty years according to the pundits.) My job on this tour of duty was to maintain and rejuvenate the Macintosh cult.

A couple years later, I left Apple to start an angel investor matchmaking service called with Craig Johnson of Venture Law Group and Rich Karlgaard of Forbes. Version 2.0 of was an investment bank for helping entrepreneurs raise money from venture capitalists. Today, version 3.0 of is called Garage Technology Ventures; it is a venture capital firm and makes direct investments in early-stage technology companies.

Currently, I’m a founding partner at Garage and co-founder of Alltop as well as a husband, father, author, speaker, and hockey addict. Alltop is an online magazine rack that I hope you’ll check out—you’ll probably enjoy Innovation.alltop, for example. I’ve also written ten books. My latest is Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. You can read about my other nine books here.

If you’d like to stay on top of my writing, the best places are the American Express Open Forum and my Twitter account. You can also follow my adventures on my Facebook fan page.


ok just so that i can look back to this and find an easy laugh, here is the highlight again:

At the time, according to the pundits, Apple was supposed to die.

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. ha.


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