Learning the Art of the Start – Part 1

28 03 2008

This is the first in a series of posts on The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki. Part two is on “describing what you do” and part three covers “getting cash and getting going”.

One of the books I’ve had on my reading list for some time is The Art of The Start by Guy Kawasaki. The book bills itself as the “time tested, battle-hardened guide for anyone starting anything”. That’s definitely me, so this past weekend I took some time and read through the first two sections, Causation (why you’re starting) and Articulation (how to define what you’re doing).

The book is written in a way that it’s most useful if the methods and ideas are applied as they are read. My plan at this point is to continue to read through the book and apply it as I’m able. I’ll post here regularly with thoughts on my progress, possibly with summaries (like the one to follow) of what I’m learning from each section.

Causation, or (in my own words) are you really serious about doing this?

This section for me was more of a reality/gut check at first, and then a huge motivator. Guy walks the entrepreneur through understanding, then articulating the core reason for starting. One of the great questions in this section is, “If your organization never existed, the world would be worse off because __________.”

My answer: people would be ignorant of what truly usable software is

The above statement may sound a bit arrogant, and also insulting (I promise I’m not calling you ignorant) — but Guy explains that this statement doesn’t need to be shared outside the company. My friend Mark and I have joked that the tag line for the company should be “software doesn’t have to suck”, but I don’t think I’ll go posting that on our website either :).

Guy then walks the entrepreneur through creating a mantra, or a short phrase that communicates the organization’s reason for being. Mine? Powerful, intuitive, idiot-proof

I want the software that I create to be useful, but not confusing, and dead simple to use. My testers have told me I’m on my way there. This definition of the reason for starting was highly motivating for me…it didn’t necessarily give me any new ideas, but it helped me more clearly define what I already knew were my motives for starting.

The rest of the Causation section is built around the planning, milestones, and tasks that need to be accomplished to realize the above purpose. In addition to defining a business model, Guy encourages the entrepreneur to ‘weave a MAT’ of milestones, assumptions, and tasks. I’m doing fairly well on the milestones, with only a few remaining:

There are still quite a few tasks that I came up with related to those milestones, so it will probably be another few weeks before I’m ready to sell the final version of ClimbPoint. But I’m getting there…

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5 responses

4 04 2008
Learning the Art of the Start - Part 2 « Another Startup

[…] the Art of the Start – Part 2 4 04 2008 This is the second in a series of posts on The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki. Look for the third sometime next […]

11 04 2008
Learning the Art of the Start - Part 3 « Another Startup

[…] 11 04 2008 This is the third in a series of posts on The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki. Part one was on “why you’re starting”, and Part two covered “describing what you […]

17 04 2008
Learning the Art of the Start - Part 4 « Another Startup

[…] 17 04 2008 This is the fourth in a series of posts on The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki. Part one was on “why you’re starting”, Part two covered “describing what you do”, and Part three […]

7 05 2008
Learning the Art of the Start - Part 5 « Another Startup

[…] 7 05 2008 This is the last in a series of posts on The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki. Part one was on “why you’re starting”, Part two covered “describing what you do”, […]

13 10 2008
Learning the Art of the Start: Recap « Another Startup

[…] Part One – Why you’re starting […]

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