Want to know if a new business model is going to fly? Ask women, says Guy Kawasaki, chief evangelist at Sydney startup Canva.
Kawasaki on Thursday provided several pieces of advice for would-be entrepreneurs and promoted his latest book, The Art of the Start 2.0 during a webinar hosted by HubSpot.
“Women are much better judges of business models than men because men always like to kill stuff,” Kawasaki said. “Men kill plants, animals, people, companies, product and services. So whenever you ask a man if a product or business model is a good idea, the man always says ‘yes’," he said.
Women don’t have a ‘fundamental genetic flaw’, the desire to kill things.
“So asking women is a much better idea – you are likely to get much more valuable advice,” he said.
“As an entrepreneur, you have to use every possible method to get an advantage – short of something illegal or immoral. I think it is absolutely stupid if you don’t consider women in leadership positions because, frankly, it’s so hard to get great leaders, why would you wipe out half of the pool. It’s insane.”
“It’s pure practicality … in a war for talent you don’t say, ‘okay half of you are not eligible',” Kawasaki said. “It’s so stupid, I can’t even express how strongly I feel about that.”
Kawasaki also advised – among other things – that entrepreneurs need to understand that they may be doing something cringe worthy.
“You are going to look back and say ‘geez, what were we thinking? Why did we ship a piece of crap like that? What got into our brain?’"
He admitted that he cringes when looking back at certain aspects of his first book, The Macintosh Way.
“There are elements in that book that I am absolutely embarrassed about. But you know what, give yourself a break, slide yourself some slack – you probably will cringe at your first version,” he said.
“If you are able to cringe about your first version and you are still in business, it means you changed your product or service fast enough and you remained in business.”
Kawasaki advised entrepreneurs to work towards milestones, test assumptions, and start completing tasks to help reach these goals.
“Start doing tasks that help you achieve milestones; test assumptions and conduct tests,” he said.
“I’ve seen so many CEOs stand up and talk about their ‘patent pending’, ‘curve jumping’, ‘paradigm shifting’ product or service and they think that everybody who follows them tells a different story.
“So when you stand up and say you have pretty easy to use software, you think that everybody else says ‘we have a piece of crap that’s slow, buggy and hard to use'. But in fact, everybody says they have something great."
Instead, he suggested that entrepreneurs tell a story about why they created a product or service.
“Pierre Omidyar tells a story that he created eBay because his girlfriend at the time wanted to sell her Pez dispensers and toy collection online; there was no way for her to do it, so he created eBay.
“This is a total bullshit story, but it is a great story nonetheless … it answers the question ‘why did you create the company?’ This is a much better way to explain your product but to talk with all the adjectives that everybody else uses,” Kawasaki said.
Follow Byron Connolly on Twitter:@ByronConnolly